The Jungle Book | Study Guide

Rudyard Kipling

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The Jungle Book | Chapter 14 : Parade-Song of the Camp Animals | Summary



This song describes what each group of camp animals does as part of the war effort, and how each animal is used for his particular strength, though the camels are the most difficult to deal with. The end of the song expresses the sadness of the animals' drivers, who do not understand why they and their animals have to suffer and go to war.


This song highlights the strengths of the animals, but it also leads up to the repetition of the idea that war is incomprehensible violence. Kipling often got caught up in the glorification of the military, but this sadness and wonder at why people go to war came back when his own son was lost in battle. Kipling had not yet experienced this loss when he wrote this story, and the reader can see much of the fascination with how organized military troops are coming through the descriptions. However, the underlying sadness, especially for the native officers and drivers who are fighting for the Empire, not truly for themselves and their own well being, comes through in the end of the song. When confronted with the reality of war, these troops are overwhelmed by the uselessness of violence.

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