These notes were contributed by members of the GradeSaver community.
We are thankful of their contributions and encourage you to make your own.
Written by Claire Cornwall
Mowgli is the main character in the book. Taken from his village by Shere Khan the tiger, he escapes and runs into a cave where a wolf family live. They treat him as their own and he is raised like a wolf cub. His wolf mother names him Mowgli which means Little Frog. He is a happy-go-lucky boy who considers himself to be a wolf. He is brave and spunky as a young child and as he gets older his skills come to match his spunk. He is lithe and athletic, more animal in movement than human, and visually striking to look at. He is wily and smart and able to strategize well. Occasionally his imagination runs away with itself and he is brought back to reality by Bagheera or Baloo. He deeply loves his wolf family as his own. Mowglu is a good, strong leader who honors Jungle Law and respects the jungle traditions. He is eager to fight and defend his pack whenever he feels they are threatened.
Shere Khan is a tiger who has a pronounced limp due to once being shackled. He is aggressive and extremely predatory, disrespectful of the Jungle Laws regarding killing, and an innate troublemaker. He stole Mowgli from a village on the outskirts of the jungle and never stops trying to hunt and kill him. He is also very political, forging alliances against Mowgli and turning pack members against him. Shere Khan is more brawn than brains and eventually gets trapped by Mowgli, who kills and skins him.
Bagheera is a black panther the color of ink, who most in the jungle are in awe of, and also a little afraid of. He joins the Council at Circle Rock whilst they are discussing Mowgli and trades his vote and a newly-killed boar for Mowgli's acceptance into the pack. He is one of Mowgli's main teachers, the other being Baloo, and is a great guide and example to him. He loves the man-cub dearly and the two spend much time together.
Baloo is a large brown bear who is the only non-wolf to be allowed at Council Rock. He is Mowgli's "sponsor" into the pack and also his primary teacher, teaching him Jungle Law, greetings and how to stay safe and protected. He is fairly lazy physically because of his substantial weight. He loves to open honey combs by hitting them against the rocks until they break so that he can devour all of the honey within them. Baloo is one of the few characters still living by the time Mowgli leaves to find man again.
Kaa is a giant python blessed with a beautiful polished skin that he regularly sheds. He and Mowgli are great friends and Mowgli likes to lie on his could as if they are a pillow. Kaa saved Mowgli's life when he was taken by monkeys, and was also instrumental in killing the red dogs by transporting Mowgli in silence to the other side of the water. Although he does not like to associate with the wolves he has great affection for their man cub.
Akela is a gray lone wolf and the leader of the pack. He is wise and fair, making decisions and keeping the pack working and strong from the top of Council Rock. He went out of his way to protect Mowgli as a cub and this debt is replayed when Mowgli saves the jungle from the red dogs. Akela is a source of great knowledge and inspires great respect from the rest of the pack.
Mother Wolf is very protective of Mowgli and raises him as her own. She attends the Council the night of the looking over of cubs fully prepared to die in order to protect him. She is strong and brave and when angered quite the fiercest wolf in the pack.
Father Wolf is also very protective of his new human cub and fully supports his wife in wanting to keep him. He is instrumental in helping Mowgli free the humans who helped him.
Gray Brother is the oldest of Mowgli's four wolf brothers. He and Mowgli are extremely close, never losing touch even when Mowgli leaves the jungle. He is loyal and dependable and always the first to support Mowgli's battle plans.
Chil is a kite, a very majestic bird of prey who feeds off the carcasses of any kill. He is on friendly terms with Mowgli and often carries messages for him, even to the wolves, with whom he would rather not communicate.
Hathi the elephant is king of the jungle and a wise, inspiring leader. He is the voice of authority in the jungle, for example, calling the water truce during the drought, and leading his sons to help Mowgli drive the humans our of the village. There is no force in the jungle as destructive as Hathi when injured or angry.
The Warden of the Kings Treasure
The Warden is an old white cobra who has lived under the ground for so long that he does not realize the Emperor has left and the jungle grown over where his palace used to be. He is cunning and keen to kill but too old to do so as the venom in his fangs has long since dried up.
One of the few humans with a name in the book, Buldeo is the village chief who unwittingly sees Mowgli fighting alongside the wolves to kill Shere Khan. He is intent upon taking advantage of Mowgli and absolutely furious when he is not able to. He is a decent hunter but no match for the jungle. He is given to exaggeration and told his village that Mowgli changed from human to wolf to boy again before his very eyes.
Messua is Mowgli's human mother who recognizes her son when he returns as an eleven year old and again at seventeen. She is loving and protective, nursing Mowgli back to health after his Spring Running. It is suggested that Mowgli returns to live with her when he leaves the jungle.
Rikki Tikki Tavi is a mongoose who is the protagonist of the last tale in the book. He was washed away from his parents in heavy raised ends up in a house with a young family which is the goal of every well brought up mongoose. He is protective of the family and extremely bold and courageous. He rescues the family from certain death by cobra bite no less than three times and is adept at thinking of ways in which to kill the snakes. He lives a happily ever after kind of life with the family diligently making sure the nackyard is in good order and totally free from snakes.
Nag and Nagaina
Nag and Nagaina are married cobras who live under the bungalow where Rikki-Tikki-Tavi lives with his human family. They want nothing more than to kill the humans so that thru may have the bungalow to themselves as this will be much easier when Nagaina's eggs hatch and their children are born. Both snakes are aggressive and calculating but neither is a match for the mongoose, who kills them both.
Update this section!
You can help us out by revising, improving and updating
It was the jackal—Tabaqui, the Dish-licker—and the wolves of India despise Tabaqui because he runs about making mischief, and telling tales, and eating rags and pieces of leather from the village rubbish-heaps.
Family and loyalty to family is a theme running throughout the book. From the moment Mowgli wanders into Mother and Father Wolf's cave thru adopt him as their own, Mother Wolf actually favoring him on many occasions. Although Mowgli is a "man cub"...