The jungle is arguably one of the most captivating environments in all of literature. Stories set in and around the wild place where animals roam free and humans fear to tread are both fascinating and popular. There’s something about being in the middle of a jungle that makes even the most mundane task feel like an adventure.
If you’ve ever read any of the works of Rudyard Kipling, then you’ll know exactly what I mean. The Jungle Book, published in 1899, is one of the twentieth century’s most famous and influential stories. The protagonist of Kipling’s work is Mowgli, a young boy who lives in the jungle and is raised by wolf packs. The boy is half-human and half-animal, with characteristics of both. In its opening chapters, the book posits that Mowgli will have to choose whether to remain in the jungle, or to return to civilization and be with men instead of wolves.
The story’s ending is one of the most famous in all of literature. After Mowgli chooses to leave the jungle and follow his human friends, he says; “In the jungle, one decision leads to another. It is a jungle world. Decisions beget decisions, and calamity usually ensues.”
Although the book is almost a hundred years old, its message of choice and consequence still resonates with readers around the world. In 2019, the Jungle Book topped the U.S. Amazon bestseller list for children’s books, and it has been included on lists of the country’s top books for children for almost a century now. It’s no wonder people want to read stories set in the jungle: there’s something about being in the presence of nature that captivates us.
The Appeal Of The Jungle
There are many reasons why the jungle has enthralled generations of writers, storytellers, and readers. Here are just a few of them.
The Variety Of Life
One of the best things about the jungle is that it is such a diverse environment. As mentioned, you have trees, you have rocks, you have plants, and you have animals. Anything could be in it, and that is one of the main reasons why it is so appealing. There’s a lot to look at, and a lot to discover. It’s easy for the imagination to wander, to wonder what might be around the next corner, over the next hill, or in the next stream.
The Mystery Of The Wild
One of the biggest draws of the jungle for children is the mystery of the wild. Where did all of these animals come from? Did they just pop up? Are they really as dangerous as adults would have you believe? It’s all very intriguing, and not something you’ll find in every other environment. The fact that you don’t know what is going to happen next keeps things interesting, and makes the story more immersive for the reader. There’s also the element of surprise – maybe a tiger will jump out and maul you, or a venomous snake will coil around your ankle. You never know what could happen in the jungle, and that is one of its great qualities.
The Adventure Of It All
Children’s books often feature an element of adventure. They might take the form of a quest, an expedition, or a journey. Stories about men and women who set out to find valuable treasures or who travel to distant lands are common. Sometimes, they involve fighting off deadly animals or monsters. All of these elements add an air of danger and adventure to the story, and make it more exciting for the reader. There’s also the thrill of exploring strange new places, which in itself is an adventure in itself. If you’ve ever read a Roald Dahl book, then you know exactly what I mean.
The Romance Of The Jungle
The jungle is widely known for being a place of romance, particularly for young men and women. The vast array of plants, animals, and insects that populate the place are all potential sources of inspiration for writers. The fact that you are in the company of nature – especially when it comes to plants and flowers – can only mean that you are in the presence of romance. It’s an incredibly sensual environment; the flowers and plants are often very alluring, and there are always lots of opportunities for getting stung or bitten by something vicious. It is said that the jungle can affect a man’s/woman’s nature and turn them into something fierce. If you’re a writer looking for inspiration, then the jungle is a place you don’t want to miss out on.
The Opportunity To Be Creative
One of the things I like most about the jungle is how creative writers can let their imagination run wild. If you want to write something imaginative and unique, then the jungle is the ultimate playground. There are so many interesting characters, and so many different situations that you could create. It’s a place where you can be as creative as you want to be without fear of retribution. If you write a bestseller, then you’ll undoubtedly find fame and fortune. But if you want to write your heart out, then the jungle is the best place for it.
A Bit Of A Madhouse
The jungle is often referred to as a bit of a madhouse. There is a lot of wildlife in the place, a lot of dangerous animals, and it is a place where people often lose their minds. It is the extreme nature of the place that makes it so suitable for creating stories and adventures. If you are looking for inspiration, then a trip to the jungle could result in some extreme creations.
A Difficult Choice
There are many reasons why the jungle has been so appealing to writers and storytellers. But the most important one is that it is such a difficult choice. It is a place where you could live your whole life, or it could be the end of the road for you. It is a life or death situation, and that is precisely what makes it so captivating. It is also a place that is rich in opportunities, so you don’t want to miss out on the chance to write something creative.
If you’ve ever read any of the works of Rudyard Kipling, then you know exactly what I mean. The Jungle Book is just one of the many adventures that Mowgli could have within the jungle. You can see why it has lasted for so long, why it continues to be a popular choice for writers and audiences around the world. Being in the jungle is like being in a natural history museum, a theater, a zoological garden, and a bar all rolled into one. It could be an environment designed by Dr. Seuss, and it is home to creatures that you might find in a Grimm’s fairytale.