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Rikki-Tikki-Tavi from The Jungle Book

Rikki-Tikki-Tavi from The Jungle Book

by Rudyard Kipling

Good vs. Evil Theme

"Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" comes down pretty hard on the whole good versus evil thing. In this corner, wearing his fur raised, we have the valiant, the fearless, the good Rikki-tikki. He fights to protect the innocent people of the bungalow, especially their boy, Teddy. In the other corner, wearing scales black as onyx, are the evil, vicious, and downright nasty cobras, Nag and Nagaina. They want to kill the humans so they can become the undisputed rules of the garden. Between these corners is a middle ground where no character can survive. Seriously, you're either with the good guys or you're the evil ones here. Get off the fence and pick a side.

Questions About Good vs. Evil

  1. Connecting into our theme of "Man and the Natural World," do you think nature is seen as a force for good or evil? Why?
  2. Would you say Darzee and Chuchundra are good characters or evil ones? Something in the middle? None of the above? Explain your reasoning.
  3. Do you think it's possible to read the British family as an evil force in the story? If yes, how? If not, then why not?
  4. As Nag points out to Rikki-tikki, "You eat eggs. Why should not I eat birds?" Well, why not? does the story distinguish between Rikki-tikki's squashing of eggs and Nag's eating of baby birds? Where do we see evidence for this? Do you agree with the story's reasoning?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

The characters aligned with good in the story are action-oriented.

The only evil characters in the story are cold-blooded snakes. The good characters are all warm-blooded animals.

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