Study Guide

The Villagers in The Jungle Book

By Rudyard Kipling

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The Villagers

The Village People

Mowgli briefly lives in a village near the jungle he was raised, and during his time here, we meet a few pretty flat characters.

There's the priest, who agrees to let Mowgli in only because Messua "was wife of the richest village in the place" (5.8). He's clearly hoping to get a little extra in the collection plate for letting her get her way and take in this beast boy.

Then there's Messua, a woman who lost a boy that looked just like Mowgli. She takes care of Mowgli because he reminds her of her boy "that was taken by the tiger" (5.6). And although it's ambiguous whether or not Mowgli is her son, it doesn't seem like it.

Finally there's Buldeo, the obnoxious hunter who acts like he knows more than Mowgli, even though Mowgli spent more time in the Jungle by the time he could talk than Buldeo ever has. Buldeo, an adult, calls Mowgli, a child, "Jungle brat" (5.31). Real mature, dude.

The villagers are similar to the wolves: They gather around the fire, as opposed to Council Rock, and tell stories; they honestly have no idea what they're talking about; and the weaker ones try to assert their authority by bullying those younger than them. And, of course, like the wolves, the people don't want poor Mowgli around.

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