Study Guide

The Jungle Book Writing Style

By Rudyard Kipling

Writing Style

Conversational, Poetic

Sit Right Back and You'll Hear a Taleā€¦

The narrator doesn't quite break the fourth wall, but he does break the spell of the stories occasionally by reminding us that he is telling them, and that we're not just observing these personified animals from afar.

The narrator's carefree tone carries over in his conversational storytelling style. When his camp gets destroyed in "Her Majesty's Servants" he says, "Wet and angry as I was, I could not help laughing" (13.2). Maybe that's the narrator's way of showing us the true law of the jungle, that you just have to roll with what life hands you.

Rhyme Time

Going along with the stories-around-a-campfire theme, we have little moments of verse that come before and after each story. Most are little songs mentioned within the stories themselves, like "Darzee's Chaunt" or "Mowgli's Song." And some of them are just rhyming nonsense, like "You can twist it, you can turn it, you can plait it till you drop, but the way of Pilly-Winky's not the way of Winkie-Pop!" (13.1). Seriously: Who knows what that means? If you do, drop us a line.

The rhymes are not all playful, though. The "sad seal National Anthem" (8.1) that is "Lukannon" is, well, sad, and the AABB rhyme scheme makes it seem even more mournful. Check it:

I met my mates in the morning (I'll never meet them more!);
They came and went in legions that darkened all the shore.
And through the foam-flecked offing as far as voice could reach
We hailed the landing-parties and we sang them up the beach.
(8.9-8.12)

Even though this deals with a very sad topic, the poetic nature both makes it somehow sadder, and makes it easier to bear.