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Talking Animals

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Talking animals is a device used by the authors where animals are attributed with human qualities. Anthropomorphic animals can cook, read, write, speak, behave and feel like humans. This special device used by the authors of Children’s Literature is called as anthropomorphism. The present paper attempts to examine the role of the young anthropomorphic mongoose Rikki-tikki in Kipling’s short story “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi” published in The Jungle Book (1894). The short story uses talking animals to send a message in a simple way that can be understood by the child readers.
Animals have been a vital part of human lives since times immemorial. Human beings are surrounded by animals. Animals have not only been domesticated and tamed but have also become
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Mcdowell describes Children’s books as:
Children’s books are usually shorter, they tend to favour an active rather than a passive treatment, with dialogue and incident rather than description and introspection; child protagonist are the rule; conventions are much used; the story develops within a clear-cut moral schematism… children’s books tend to be optimistic rather than depressive; language is child-oriented; plots are of a distinctive order ; probability is often discarded; and one could go endlessly talking of magic, fantasy, simplicity, and adventure (qtd. in Reynolds 26).
Children’s Literature is replete with animal characters. Animals of every variety populate picture books, comics and short stories. Generally the animals that figure in the stories of children are depicted as having acquired human qualities and intelligence and are located amidst a social set-up which is familiar to children. This special device used by the writers of Children’s Literature is called anthropomorphism. Talking animals or anthropomorphism is a special device used in Children’s Literature to attribute human qualities to plants and animals. Anthropomorphic animals can speak, write, read, dress, feel and behave like
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