Bagheera (Sebastian Cabot) is a parental figure. He gives “the man cub” to the wolves and watches over him. He also agrees to take Mowgli to the “Man Village” and worries about keeping the boy safe.
Kaa the Snake (Sterling Holloway) is the media. Mowgli is literally entranced by what he says. He almost dies because he listens to Kaa, much like many people are influenced by propaganda and biased reporting in the media.
Kaa also could be Mowgli’s manhood. The snake represents him becoming a sexual being. In relation, Kaa could represent temptation. He makes things sound good and Mowgli gives in. All he has to do is “trust in [Kaa]”.
Colonel Hathi the Elephant (J. Pat O’Malley) represents the military side of society. It is also influential in a young person (especially a young man’s) life. Structure, “discipline”, and a clean appearance are ideal.
Baloo the Bear (Phil Harris) is the “teacher” or mentor teaching the hero unexpected lessons and caring about him in unexpected ways. He teaches Mowgli to fight, pick food and eat it, and the “bear necessities of life”.
Also, teachers protect their students, like Baloo tries to protect Mowgli against the monkeys. Then he tries to protect Mowgli from the jungle. He makes the tough decisions to help and protect the man cub.
However, he is different from other gang leaders in that Louie wants to join the gang of men as opposed to Mowgli becoming a member of his monkey gang. Also, fire is a weapon; he might want to attack the humans as opposed to joining them.
Shere Khan the Tiger (George Sanders) represents the “bully”. He tries to scare and intimidate the boy. Mowgli shows “spirit” and tries to face the tiger. However, Khan is a tiger. While Baloo and Mowgli are brave, Khan still hurts Baloo.
The last group of characters to discuss is the vultures. Are they really the friends? Are they true or do they just want to eat him later? Hmm…
Mowgli has to learn a lot in just a few days. He encounters many new friends and enemies. Each animal represents someone in the average person’s life. How did you react to each of these people in your own life?
A question to think about: Is Mowgli a reliable narrator? Think about this question while you compare this film and Life of Pi (2012).
Fun facts about this film!
Why The Jungle Book is awesome!
Thanks for reading!!! Please leave a comment below if there is a movie you would like me to analyze!