Date of Award

Summer 8-2021

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

Dr. Eric Tribunella

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Dr. Alexandra Valint

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Dr. Nicole Jordan

Committee Member 3 School



This article approaches Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Books and its protagonist, Mowgli, through the perspective of childhood studies. While other scholars have concentrated on the imperial implications of Mowgli’s childhood, I argue that more facets of Mowgli’s childhood, especially body, instruction, pedagogy, and sexuality, are vital to understanding how childhood is constructed in the text. Mowgli embodies the integration of binary pairs: human and animal, child and adult, ruler and subject. His hybridity enables him to inhabit traditionally opposed identity categories such as child and animal, as well as traditional Victorian ideals about childhood. Victorian-era childhood is often identified as the time when the ideology of children as innocent and pure figures gained widespread popularity; however, Mowgli’s hybridity also reflects a convergence of multiple models of Victorian childhood. In other words, Mowgli shatters the myth of a single Victorian childhood in which children are totalized in terms of their innocence. “Modern children,” as conceptualized by James Marten, are always hybrid figures, and their bodies are the physical sites on which all abstract constructions and ideologies of childhood are projected and manifested.

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