The Jungle Book | Study Guide

Rudyard Kipling

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The Jungle Book | Chapter 6 : Mowgli's Song | Summary



Mowgli's song tells the tale of Mowgli's killing Shere Khan and talks of his return to the Council with Shere Khan's hide. Mowgli also sings about his sadness because he is not welcome anywhere, not in the Man Pack nor the Wolf Pack. He is happy to have made good on his promise to kill Shere Khan, but he says he is "two Mowglis" and belongs nowhere, though he has hurt no one in the pack and has fulfilled his promise.


The "two Mowglis" phrase in the song is a heartbreaking expression of the conflict between being human and being part of the jungle. The feeling of belonging nowhere is a common one in the process of coming of age, where one cannot be a child anymore but can't fully be an adult, either. There is a time between the two stages of life that feels very lonely, and Kipling's description of that feeling in this song is poignant.

The idea of betrayal and rule-breaking is also present in this song, because Mowgli does all of the right things, but he is still not really welcome in the Wolf Pack. The remaining wolves beg him to stay, but they are only begging because they are suffering. Bagheera realizes as soon as things get better and the wolves are stabilized, they could turn on Mowgli again, so he steps in to protect Mowgli by telling the wolves to eat their freedom. Mowgli's sadness reflects the initial sadness he felt in the first chapter when his heart is breaking and he cries until he can no longer cry. This song shows how even as an adult, Mowgli still doesn't understand why his wolf brothers betrayed him.

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