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Book Title: The Jungle Books|
The author of the book: Rudyard Kipling
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Loaded: 1206 times
Reader ratings: 7.2
Edition: Ann Arbor Media Group, LLC
Date of issue: June 1st 2007
ISBN 13: 9781587264900
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 5.84 MB
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Once again, I'm struck by the savagery that resonates throughout Kipling's writing. It would be so easy to think of The Jungle Book in a more Disney-fied light: talking animals, singing, the rhythmic cadences of a fairy tale or lullaby. But overarching all that is the ever-present reminder that the world of the jungle is a world of nature, red in tooth and claw. Mowgli is raised by wolves and instructed by Baloo for the explicit purpose of survival in a harsh world that actively seeks his death. Kotick is born and raised amidst bloodshed from two distinct sources: other seals and man. "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" subverts the traditional story of a pet protecting his master by making the masters little more than incidental characters; Rikki-Tikki wants to protect them, but his actions are driven by instinct rather than any familial bond with the humans. Even in the less-obviously blood-drenched stories, violence is a powerful force. Toomai's journey to witness the dance of the elephants puts him at great risk of death.
The story I found most interesting, however, was the one which closes the book, "Her Majesty's Servants." The characters of this particular story are the camp animals for an army, but paradoxically, these might be the most innocent characters in the whole book. All their conversation is about war and its methods, but without any real recognition of what it means. These animals have been tamed by man, stripped of their natural instincts, and so, with the exception of the elephant, they don't realize what war means, content merely to follow orders and limit their perspective to the specifics of their duties.
And maybe that's the true lesson of The Jungle Book. Yes, it's violent, endlessly circling and returning to the themes of death and danger, but in the world of the animals, death and danger exists because they are necessary parts of life. Animals must eat, so animals must hunt and kill. But for people, violence is stripped of that which makes it necessary. Wars don't happen for food and survival; they happen for sport and profit.
Or maybe I'm just a filthy hippie.
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Read information about the authorJoseph Rudyard Kipling was a journalist, short-story writer, poet, and novelist.
Kipling's works of fiction include The Jungle Book (1894), Kim (1901), and many short stories, including The Man Who Would Be King (1888). His poems include Mandalay (1890), Gunga Din (1890), The Gods of the Copybook Headings (1919), The White Man's Burden (1899), and If— (1910). He is regarded as a major innovator in the art of the short story; his children's books are classics of children's literature; and one critic described his work as exhibiting "a versatile and luminous narrative gift".
Kipling was one of the most popular writers in the United Kingdom, in both prose and verse, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Henry James said: "Kipling strikes me personally as the most complete man of genius (as distinct from fine intelligence) that I have ever known." In 1907, at the age of 41, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, making him the first English-language writer to receive the prize, and its youngest recipient to date. He was also sounded out for the British Poet Laureateship and on several occasions for a knighthood, both of which he declined.
Awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1907 "in consideration of the power of observation, originality of imagination, virility of ideas and remarkable talent for narration which characterize the creations of this world-famous author."
Kipling kept writing until the early 1930s, but at a slower pace and with much less success than before. On the night of 12 January 1936, Kipling suffered a haemorrhage in his small intestine. He underwent surgery, but died less than a week later on 18 January 1936 at the age of 70 of a perforated duodenal ulcer. Kipling's death had in fact previously been incorrectly announced in a magazine, to which he wrote, "I've just read that I am dead. Don't forget to delete me from your list of subscribers."
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