“Mowgli’s Brothers,” as well as the other short stories in Kipling’s collection, is a beast fable, a story in which the characters are animals with human faculties. Kipling’s fable teaches lessons. The fable is effective in “Mowgli’s Brothers” because it creates a world beyond human civilization, the jungle, which is governed by a different set of rules. The animals are expected to follow the Law of the Jungle. Within the fable, animals are able to reason and speak within a set of laws similar to man’s laws but still outside them. The fable form allows the mutually exclusive laws of man and beast to be dramatized. Even if the Law of the Jungle is similar to the Law of Man, the distinction between animals and humans makes clear the differences between their codes. Thus, the fable, which puts forth these two codes, provides the stage for Mowgli’s conflict of identity.
Point of View and Narrative Voice
Kipling uses the third person in “Mowgli’s Brothers.” The third-person narrative defines the contrasting laws without bias. However, the narrative is sometimes emotional. The narrator describes lawbreakers, like Shere Kahn and Tabaqui, negatively. These characters are unattractive, while kindly characters, such as Bagheera, are described in positive terms. This helps to create the tone needed to develop the plot and conflict between the characters.
Ira Mark Milne – Short Stories for Students – Presenting Analysis, Context & Criticism on Commonly Studied Short Stories, vol. 22, Rudyard Kipling, Published by Gale Group, 2010