Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Jungle Book

I finished The Jungle Book this morning.

It was...good. Not really what I was expecting. I keep on making assumptions based on the Disney movies.

In the book, Mowgli only stars in about three-four of the 'short jungle stories' while the rest are devoted to random characters. Also unlike the movie, Mowgli is not a very nice person, really. He is aggressive compared to the childhood character we know and love, and Sher-Khan is just another enemy in the jungle. He is called stupid many times by the characters, and Mowgli easily defeats him. Why? Because Mowgli is stronger and smarter and less compassionate than the Mowgli from all the Jungle Book adaptions. Sher-Khan is easily defeated, and then Mowgli skins him and dances on the skin with the wolves he is closest to. Another interesting factor that Disney changed was that it was Bagheera which loved Mowgli the most of all the Jungle Animals, and Baloo was NOT Papa Bear. Baloo taught Mowgli the laws of the jungle, and cuffed his head many times in doing so. He was old, and he was not much fun. It was still Bagheera that wanted Mowgli to go back to man kind, but after a while, Mowgli came back. The Monkey Story involving King Louie was mostly accurate...I don't know of any of them actually had the name of Louie, but Mowgli was captured by Monkeys. It also got pretty boring in some places. I enjoyed reading it, but again, I was disappointed in finding that the movies were really better. Mowgli was mean. And the wolves weren't very loyal to their pack leader in his old age, but there were a few delightful characters like Grey Brother and Bagheera. Rikki-Tiki-Tavi was a fun story. Toomai of the Elephants was boring and Servants of the Queen mildly interesting.

I'm still glad I read it though. The whole idea is still a good one, but I liked the movies better. A LOT better. I just can't get over the idea of a dark little boy from India being raised by wolves in the Jungle though. The best chapters or stories were the ones that concerned Mowgli. The idea was good, but the actual story and writing were tedious and aggressive, and like so many of those older books (although I like this some times) the author's voice talks down to the intended reader just a little bit. I don't always mind that. I liked it, but I didn't love it. :D

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