Study Guide

The Jungle Book Narrator Point of View

By Rudyard Kipling

Narrator Point of View

First-Person Narrator

You might think the narrative technique of The Jungle Book is third-person objective, following a different protagonist in each chapter, like Mowgli, Kotick, or Toomai and his elephant. But you'd be wrong.

Consider this line from "The White Seal":

Limmershin, the Winter Wren, told me the tale when he was blown on the rigging of a steamer to Japan, and I took him down into the cabin and warmed and fed him […]. (7.1)

Me? I? Who is using these first-person pronouns? We never find out exactly, though the narrator is a very minor character in the chapter "Her Majesty's Servants," having to run from his tent when a clumsy camel knocks it over. In this chapter, our narrator confesses that he "understood beast talk" (13.105). Who else understands beast talk in the book? Mowgli, who is taught the language of the beasts by Baloo. Could Mowgli be our narrator? Or is a Kipling-like figure our narrator, pretending to know the language of animals in order to relay these stories to us?

Our narrator's identity is left undetermined, so feel free to argue for Mowgli, Kipling, or someone we haven't even thought of.