Hello everyone! You should definitely appreciate this post because I have been working TWO WHOLE DAYS NOW and it is HARD and TIRING and it is only because of my dedication to you that this blog post now exists. So please excuse me if this is not very coherent.
I really like Rudyard Kipling. I find his writing elegant and evocative and I really don’t understand why he is the poster-boy for colonialism. I don’t feel like the casual racism that emerges from his stories is any worse than others of the time and in his short story collection Plain Tales from the Hills he pokes more fun at some of the white characters than other native heroes. Admittedly I haven’t read that much of his work but I am genuinely interested in why he is seen as the ultimate racist writer of Empire. Please tell me if you know!
Anyway I found The Jungle Book fairly delightful. It was the first real book I’d read in three months which probably helped but I loved the stories of Mowgli and the jungle creatures. I think that Kipling created some very distinct animal characters and I found Mowgli to be a sweet mix of pride and affection often present in kids. This kind of child character was echoed in Rikki-tikki and Little Toomai, found in other stories. (Did you know The Jungle Book is a collection of stories? I didn’t.) They weren’t all perfect, ‘Toomai of the Elephants’ dragged and ‘Rikki-Tikki-Tavi’ never captured the excitement implicit in its life-and-death situations. But overall there is a real sense of the excitement and otherness of nature. Kipling’s stories have a casual brutality that is present in the animal world but would probably be edited out of children’s stories today, but also a vitality and simplicity that makes them great adventure stories. Apart from ‘Her Majesty’s Servants’ which is clearly racist dogma.