Study Guide

The Jungle Book Rules and Order

By Rudyard Kipling

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Rules and Order

Madness is the most disgraceful thing that can overtake a wild creature. (1.2)

This is said about both Tabaqui the Jackal and the Bandar-log, the monkeys, which implies that "madness" is more closely related to "lawlessness" in the jungle.

"By the Law of the Jungle he has no right to change his quarters without due warning. (1.10)

This is one of the first mentions of this law of the jungle, and it's invoked here to show us that Shere Khan doesn't follow it. Shere Khan thinks he's above the law.

The Law of the Jungle, which never orders anything without a reason, forbids every beast to eat Man except when he is killing to show his children how to kill. (1.19)

This is part of the Law because men take revenge. So it's safer not to kill them, as easy as it may be.

The Law of the Jungle lays down very clearly that any wolf may, when he marries, withdraw from the Pack he belongs to; but as soon as his cubs are old enough to stand on their feet he must bring them to the Pack Council. (1.46)

Mother and Father Wolf abide by the Law of the Jungle and get Mowgli officially inducted into the pack, but the rest of the wolves still don't approve of having the man-cub amidst their ranks.

"A Man-cub is a Man-cub, and he must learn all the Law of the Jungle." (3.2)

Baloo knows that Mowgli must act like any other animal in the jungle if he's expected to live in the jungle. The laws don't make exceptions for him merely because he's different.

"Thou hast been with the Monkey-People—the grey apes—the people without a Law—the eaters of everything. That is great shame." (3.26)

The jungle animals despise the Bandar-log, the Monkey-People, because the monkey people have no law. They're anarchists, which to those who abide by the Law of the Jungle, makes them unpredictable and dangerous.

Mowgli, who had been trained under the Law of the Jungle, did not like or understand this kind of life. (3.106)

The Bandar-log seem fun and exciting from afar, what with their carefree playfulness, but when Mowgli is in the middle of them, he realizes that he misses the structure and order that the Law of the Jungle gives life.

For three months after that night Mowgli hardly ever left the village gate, he was so busy learning the ways and customs for men. (5.23)

These ways include wearing clothes, using money, and trying not to kill annoying children—all rules that are difficult to abide by on a daily basis, even for so-called "civilized" humans.

"Do not talk when thy elders speak." (5.31)

This is one of the unofficial "rules of man" and it's a stupid one. While the rules of the jungle are in place to ensure the survival of all, the rules of man are in place to protect old people who don't know what they're talking about.

Sea Catch never chased a beaten seal, for that was against the Rules of the Beach. (7.4)

Here we see that even though "The White Seal" chapter takes place far from the jungle, these animals have their own Rules, too, and they're very similar to the Law of the Jungle.

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