When we first meet Rikki-Tikki-Tavi he is near death, having almost drowned in a flood. Why is this important to the story?
Students may mention many justifications for Kipling's decision to start the story with this near-death experience for Rikki-Tikki-Tavi. Reasons they may mention include (but are not limited to):
- When we first meet Rikki-Tikki he is extremely vulnerable--a sharp contrast to the valiant warrior we get to know later in the story.
- Rikki-Tikki's life is saved by Teddy and his parents. He later repays the family by saving their own lives.
- This marks the moment where Rikki-Tikki meets Teddy, initiating the central relationship of the story.
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