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The Jungle Book: The Real Message Behind the Movie

Jungle Book Message

Background: Rudyard Kipling and The Jungle Book

rudyard kipling jungle book

PD Library of Congress

The Jungle Book movie from Disney is based on a novel by British author Rudyard Kipling. Kipling was not only born (in 1865), but also raised in India. After spending his youth in England, he came back to his place of birth at age 17 and spend another six and a half years in south Asia. Names from The Jungle Book characters like Shere Khan (shir=tiger, lion), Baloo (bhalu=bear) or Baghira (bagha=tiger) are taken from Hindi and Urdu (national language of Pakistan). South Asia and especially India was the place, Kipling loved to live and felt the most comfortable. After spending some time in India, he moved to Lahore in Pakistan, where he started working as an editor. Besides that, he began writing poems as well as short stories and also became fluent in Hindi and Urdu. In 1894, when Kipling was already living in the United States, he wrote The Jungle Book in dedication to his children.

Kipling is also the author of the famous poem "The White Man's Burden". He died in 1936 due to a brain haemorrhage.

What The Jungle Book Movie is Actually Telling Us

According to Kipling the main Jungle Book character, Mowgli, is representing the dreams of a boy in the alternative world of the jungle, where the ideal system exists. Being raised in this limbo by wolves, he always has to keep in mind, that one day, he has to leave this place. In fact, the whole story is also telling us something else...

The Jungle Book Message: The most intelligent Animal Among all is the Human Being

The story of The Jungle Book 2016 is very simple: Mowgli is a boy, whose father got killed by terrifying jungle book tiger Shere Khan. Fortunately black panther Baghera brought him to the wolves, who lovingly raised Mowgli like their own child. Even though he feels very familiar in the jungle, he has to leave this place to live with humans. Especially because Jungle Book villain Shere Khan is trying to get his revenge for the severe injuries he receied by Mowglis father, who was trying to protect himself with fire. On his way back to the village, Mowgli is eventually meeting some new species.

Mowglis position is a very special one and sort of like a twisted reality: being the only human in a world (the jungle) commanded by animals. He is like an animal within a human world, a human in a zoo. But other than animals in our world, Mowgli is able to communicate with all species, is a part of their community and even more than that: a full family member. Still then the orphan is forced to go back to the village. Humans are seen as a danger, because they are in posession of the "red flower", which is a methapor for fire. In the beginning, Mowgli doesn't even know what that is, but in the end he is even able to light fire on his own. A skill, no animal will ever learn throughout the whole movie. But first of all back to the beginning, when Mowgli starts his way through the jungle to the human village. During his journey, he is meeting several animals like elephants, snake Kaa, bear Balu or ape king Louie. Except his encounter with Kaa, all the others are asking him for help:

  • Balu wants some fresh honey from top of the rock face
  • the elephants can't rescue their baby
  • Louie wants the "red flower"

The most intelligent species is actually Mowgli, a human. He is the one, who finds out, how to get the honey, how to safe the elephant baby and also how to get fire. And in the end it is exactly the last point, about which everything spins around. All humans except Mowgli are only shown in the shadows of fire. Its the biggest fear of the strongest of all animals, tiger Shere Khan and represents the absolute power. Even Shere Khan's sharp teeth and claws are nothing against it. Mowgli is only a boy and has no possibility to protect himself. But in the end, it is only a low flame, which sets the whole jungle into fire. The young, cute boy, who always needed to get protected, basically destroyed the animals habitat. But not only that. The fire also kills Shere Khan. The biggest enemy got killed by the biggest enemy. How is that possible? In fact, it is not. Because the biggest enemy of the jungle was not Shere Khan, but the fire. Red flower is not only a metaphor for fire, but a methapor for the dominance of humans, the most intelligent species that ever since existed.

More Infos:

The Jungle Book Trailer:

The Jungle Book Characters (in the movie):

Mowgli - "Naked Frog", who was raised by wolves and suddenly has to leave the jungle Sloth bear Baloo - Best friend of Mowgli Black panther Bagheera - Mowglis menthor and protector Orangutan king Louie - King of the apes, who wants to find out, how to get fire Bengal tiger Shere Khan - Main villain, who tries to kill Mowgli Phyton Kaa - Snake, that hypnotizes Mowgli Wolf Akela - Leader of the wolves Wolf Raksha - Mowglis wolf mother

The Jungle Book Cast:

Mowgli: Neel Sethi Baloo: Bill Murray Bagheera: Ben Kingsley King Louie: Christopher Walken Shere Khan: Idris Elba Kaa: Scarlett Johansson Akela: Giancarlo Esposito Raksha: Lupita Nyong'o
Featured Image Internet Archive Book Images under CC

Also check out following article

5 Famous Britains Who Learned to Speak Urdu

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