Study Guide

Akela (the Lone Wolf) in The Jungle Book

By Rudyard Kipling

Akela (the Lone Wolf)

Hungry Like the Wolf

Akela is "the great grey Lone Wolf" (1.47) who leads the Wolf Pack. He's kind and honorable—unlike most of the other wolves—but the pack doesn't seem like it wants a leader. The younger wolves want Akela gone, partly because Akela is old, but mostly because Shere Khan is manipulating them into thinking they don't need a leader.

The younger wolves trick Akela by leading him to a feisty sambhur, which knocks him down and humiliates him. That's the last straw. However, none of the other wolves are brave enough to step up as leader. So Akela agrees to step down as leader in exchange for the Pack sparing Mowgli, and the Pack goes on, leaderless.

Later, Akela helps Mowgli kill Shere Khan by herding the buffalo to the napping tiger's location, but he doesn't resume his post as leader of the Wolf Pack. They've shown they don't deserve any leader, and Akela is totally down to let them live out the ramifications of their decision.

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