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The Jungle Book

Reader:

The Jungle Book was published in 1894 and is actually a collection of seven short stories. The settings and characterizations are drawn from Kipling’s own experiences during his nineteenth-century travels around the British Empire and include locations like India, Afghanistan and the Bering Sea. The stories all feature talking animals, and though geared toward children, are set with themes that easily reach mature audiences as well, including prejudice, hypocrisy and greed. These traits marked Kipling’s travels in the British colonies but are just as relevant today. Many of the stories centre around a human child named Mowgli, who is adopted by a pack of wolves and raised as one of their own. A major theme in the book is abandonment followed by fostering, as in the life of Mowgli, echoing Kipling's own childhood. The theme is echoed in the triumph of protagonists including Rikki-Tikki-Tavi and The White Seal over their enemies, as well as Mowgli's. Another important theme is of law and freedom; the stories are not about animal behaviour, still less about the Darwinian struggle for survival, but about human archetypes in animal form. They teach respect for authority, obedience, and knowing one's place in society with "the law of the jungle", but the stories also illustrate the freedom to move between different worlds, such as when Mowgli moves between the jungle and the village. You can listen online to free English audiobook “The Jungle Book” by Rudyard Kipling on our website.

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