The issues of Colonialism and imperialism and the effects they have on an author and a piece of work can be seen in many novels from both the view of the coloniser and the colonized. In the books Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe and The Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling these views are seen from the viewpoint of a Nigerian tribe colonised by the English and from the English coloniser in India. By investigating the two books we will see how imperialism and colonisation inform the two works and shape the books as a whole.
First we will look at The Jungle Books and examine the colonial subtexts within some of the stories. Using the technique of the beast fable Kipling attempts to put forward his ideas of colonial education and rule. After being taken in and nurtured by the animals Mowgli soon feels at home amongst his animal family. In his book Kipling and Conrad John McClure suggests that this is because Mowgli is 'a man amongst beasts, and so a representative of a dominant race.'1. And that 'To be above yet to belong, to be obeyed as a god and loved as a brother, this is Kipling's dream for the imperial ruler' 2.
The life of Mowgli is for Kipling the aim of the colonial ruler in India; to know the customs and traditions of your subjects, to live amongst them yet to hold power over them. The wolves at first protect Mowgli because they see that humans are more powerful than them and must be protected, 'Man Killing means, sooner or later, the arrival of white men on elephants, with guns, and hundreds of brown men with gongs and rockets and torches. Then everybody suffers' 3. Kipling here is showing that to kill or harm a white man brings with it reprisal from the imperial power.
To rule effectively in India Kipling is saying, is to be between two worlds; the world of men and the world of beasts. Through his education Mowgli bridges the gap between the alien ruler and his subjects, enjoyi...