The Jungle Book

The Jungle Book Metaphors and Similes

The Red Flower (Metaphor)

The animals use the metaphor of "Red Flower" to discuss fire. They do not like to use its actual name, or perhaps do not even know it, due to the fact that it is one of the greatest threats to their existence. Using the term "Red Flower" suggests something beautiful, enticing, and ultimately deadly; thus, it is an appropriate way to describe the incomprehensibly beguiling but dangerous flames of the fire.

Mowgli as Tree (Metaphor)

Bagheera chastises Baloo for his corporeal punishment of Mowgli by stating, "He is no tree-trunk to sharpen thy blunt claws upon" (26). This metaphor depicts Mowgli as a tree trunk that Baloo sharpens his claws against. It makes Mowgli appear impotent because as a tree he would not be able to move or protest the animal sharpening its claws upon it; this is Bagheera's way of saying that Mowgli is a mere boy and Baloo should be careful with the way that he "teaches" him.

Sea Catch (Simile)

Kipling writes of Sea Catch, "He would put his head on one side, as though he were afraid to look his enemy in the face; then he would shoot it out like lightning" (71). This simile conveys how powerful and fast Sea Catch is, allowing readers to marvel at this seemingly indomitable creature.

Walruses and Old Men (Simile)

When Kotick approaches Sea Vitch and the other walruses, Kipling writes "they all looked at Kotick as you can fancy a club full of drowsy old gentlemen would look at a little boy" (80). It is a delightful image. One can see a group of large, white-haired men disrupted by a small boy in their midst, which effectively conveys how small and seemingly impertinent the little seal is among his larger, more established peers of the sea.

Waves and Patience (Metaphor)

Kotick's mother expresses discontent with her son's seemingly endless quest to find a perfect beach free from men, and Kotick responds with this metaphor: "'Give me another season,' he said. 'Remember, mother, it is always the seventh wave that goes furthest up the beach'" (83). He suggests that his failures thus far are okay because success does not come immediately or easily; it is like the seventh wave - not the first or second or even sixth - that makes it further up the beach. This metaphor is very clear and persuasive.