Short Story of Riki Tiki Tavi by Rudyard Kipling Term Paper

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Kipling's "Rikki-tikki-tavi"

Rudyard Kipling is a spokesman for British imperialism, and though he is a rather talented writer, I found him immensely irritating in his self-assured white supremacy. This mood is not only evident in blatantly jingoistic works such as "The White Man's Burden," but even colors his most non-political writings for children. One supposes that he is not entirely at fault for this stance, as he seems to have been bred into it. Kipling was born in Bombay to colonialist parents, and spent a great deal of his life in the colonies. He spent some time as a child at a boarding school in England before returning to India and working there for a year as a newspaper editor. Subsequently he toured Burma, China, and Japan on his way back to London, where he met and married his wife. They lived together both in America and England, with frequent jaunts to Africa. "His fame grew rapidly, and he positioned himself as the literary voice most closely associated with the imperialist tempo of the time in the United Kingdom (and, indeed, the rest of the Western world and Japan)." (Wikipedia) He eventually lost a son to the first World War, and his jingoism fell out of style in the more sober years after that conflict. He died in 1936.Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Term Paper on Short Story of Riki Tiki Tavi by Rudyard Kipling Assignment

Kipling was not particularly well educated, but nonetheless a talented writer. He secured the Nobel Prize for Literature and shared the Gothenburg Prize for Poetry with William Butler Yeats. He was offered many more honors, such as the post of Poet Laureate, though to his credit he realized he did not deserve such laud and rejected the offer. He is today best known for authoring the Jungle Book, Kim, and the poems 'Gunga Din,' 'If --, ' and 'The White Man's Burden.' " (Wikipedia) He is also well-known for his short stories, including Rikki-tikki-tavi. This particular short story is aimed at children and is remarkably well written, providing a metaphor of the coming of a young protector to maturity, and the other is of the noble association of white-acting natives against heathen natives in defense of good old England.

The title of this story, Rikki-tikki-tavi, is onomatopoeiatic, being the name not only of this story but of its protagonist, a mongoose which speaks in chittering sounds. The theme and setting of the story is made clear in its first line, that this is "the story of the great war that Rikki-tikki-tavi fought single-handed, through the bath-rooms of the big bungalow in Segowlee cantonment." (Kipling) Like many of Kipling's other works, it takes place in India during the Imperial period. It has a fascinating mixture of tone, alternating between simple heroic prose for children, and the rather high tones of some of its characters, such as the cobras.

The protagonist of this story, Rikki-tikki, is a mongoose which has been domesticated since youth by a colonialist family. He is both a typical animorphic figure with a primal heroic appeal, and also an obvious embodiment of that sector of the native culture (being a native animal) which willingly served and emulated the British empire. This link is made clear in the description of how "every well-brought-up mongoose always hopes to be a house-mongoose some day and have rooms to run about in, and Rikki-tikki's mother (she used to live in the General's house at Segowlee) had carefully told Rikki what to do if ever he came across white men." (Kipling) Rikki-tikki's mother had not lived with anyone when he was a pup, and so this reference seems to have a certain implication of employment, as if she were a domestic servant.

The antagonists are a mated pair of cobras, who are the most well-spoken and eloquent characters in the piece. Unlike Rikki-tikki they have a sense of religion and even metaphor. Nag describes himself thus: "I am Nag. The great god Brahm put his mark upon all our people when the first… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Short Story of Riki Tiki Tavi by Rudyard Kipling.  (2005, April 23).  Retrieved February 28, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Short Story of Riki Tiki Tavi by Rudyard Kipling."  23 April 2005.  Web.  28 February 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Short Story of Riki Tiki Tavi by Rudyard Kipling."  April 23, 2005.  Accessed February 28, 2021.