THE RULES: Click on the link for one or more of the stories. Read the story. Post a comment about the story, using the questions provided as a guideline. Respond to other comments about the story. Enjoy yourself.

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Thursday, May 5, 2011


Riki Tiki Tavi, by Rudyard Kipling

1. Do you feel any sympathy for Nag or Nageena at all? It can be argued that--from their point-of-view--they were trying to make a safe home for their many children. Does Kipling giving them evil personalities make them effective villains?

2. Does Kipling achieve a "Suspension of Disbelief?" Do you accept the story as "real" even though the animals can think and communicate with one another?


Bill said...

Good Choice! I remember the Hanna Barbara Cartoon as a kid... to read the real actual story is fun.

1) Do I feel any sympathy? No, not really. The story mentions pretty early on that the snakes have no compunction again killing the young offspring of others... and will continue to do so if given the opportunity. What I found really interesting is the portrayal of Nagaina and Darzee's wife as particularly noteworthy. The Mother bird, is viewed as simply 'practical' when she provides information and even assists in Rikki's elimination of the children of another. Could you even imagine a comparable real life situation? Nagaina, however, is given special treatment. While all snakes were portrayed as 'bad' She is depicted as truly evil! Clearly, being shown as possessing the requisite malice of thought required in plotting the death of innocent people in the bungalow to suit their own ends. This is juxtaposed by their spouses who seem to be seeking less violence. Interestedly, Kipling seems to be in favor of this more violent approach as he offers his own judgement/assessment, unflatteringly describing Darzee as being very much like a 'real' man.

2) Does the story achieve a 'suspension of disbelief?' Actually, I don't think it does. The story seems to be a bit limited in its presentation of the characters. (partly a function of the short story format but it also reflects the time it written)

Tim DeForest said...

I own a DVD of the old cartoon--excellent adaptation with Orson Welles doing a perfect job as narrator. It was directed by Chuck Jones (best remembered for his Looney Tunes work) and was one of several jungle book adaptations he did for TV during the 1970s.

I actually think the story has a higher "suspension of disbelief" factor. Animals act more according to their instincts than humans, so giving talking, thinking animals a limited perspective always for me seemed to be the way they WOULD act if they could communicate.

Bill said...

I see your point about the animals acting more 'naturally' even though they are presented as having the power to converse among themselves.

And you were right about the cartoon being Chuck Jones not HB must have been brain fade.