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Group Reads Discussions 2009 > The Graveyard Book -- Jungle Book parallels/differences

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message 1: by Ryan (new)

Ryan | 27 comments I grew up on Rudyard Kipling's jungle stories, and was delighted to find the characters, plot points, settings, and more transmuted in The Graveyard Book. What did you think of Neil Gaiman changing beasts into ghosts and ghouls? What similarities did you recognize between the two endeavors? What differences?


message 2: by M.D. (new)

M.D. (mdbenoit) | 116 comments BunWat wrote: "I liked the transmutation very much. One big difference for me was I felt Bod was a lot more lonely than Mowgli. Mowgli had emotional bonds with his adopted pack and his friends, much more than B..."

Bod also went to "school" and was educated in the ways of the world, even if it was somewhat outdated at times. His re-entry into the world outside the cemetery was more plausible.


message 3: by Meghan (new)

Meghan | 93 comments BunWat wrote: "I liked the transmutation very much. One big difference for me was I felt Bod was a lot more lonely than Mowgli. Mowgli had emotional bonds with his adopted pack and his friends, much more than B..."

Do you think that Bod was more "lonely" because Bod had more access to the outside world? He always knew there were living humans out there, whereas Mowgli never really was aware of them until he was much older.


message 4: by Meghan (new)

Meghan | 93 comments Oh definitely. He missed out on the physical-ness of live humans. Silas wasn't exactly "warm and affectionate". Both were loved, but physical interaction is a part of being alive.

And you make another point. Mowgli gets to "play" as a young child. And not that Bod didn't play, but wrestling or hide-and-seek--games in general--were lacking for him. And while he didn't necessarily miss it (how can miss something you don't know exists), I think he understood on some level that there was something lacking.


message 5: by Sam (new)

Sam Grace (samgrace) I don't think I agree ... Mowgli plays with his pack brothers, but not with his teachers. He gets smacked around by Baloo, but I don't think that counts. But Bod plays with the kids in the graveyard, too. He just outgrows them quickly. That, too, is a parallel, since Mowgli grows at a different rate from the wolves, too.
And Baghira was hardly "warm and affectionate."

I thought that the ghouls as the Bandar Log and the man Jack as Shir Khan worked really well. And I liked the similarity between Mowgli dealing with Shir Kahn (with the buffaloes) when he was living among humans, just as Bod did.

One of the big differences, however, is that the Graveyard Book is one story. It is about Bod, and Bod's life and challenges in a way that the Jungle Book is not about Mowgli. You never get to know Silas or the witchgirl the way you get to know Baloo or even Kaa, because (despite caring for them as characters), it's not really a book about life in the Graveyard or life as a result of the Graveyard, it's a book about Bod.

That's what I think, anyway. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.


message 6: by Meghan (new)

Meghan | 93 comments Sam wrote: "I don't think I agree ... Mowgli plays with his pack brothers, but not with his teachers. He gets smacked around by Baloo, but I don't think that counts. But Bod plays with the kids in the graveyar..."

Interesting point on the growth rate.

I'm terrible with the small details. Was Bod able to actually touch the ghosts? I guess I'm really thinking in that Mowgli got more physical contact than Bod. But I concede your point, good sir! :)

I also agree that was one of the more frustrating parts of TGB was that you weren't able to get to know the secondary characters. But taking that TJB's length compared to TGB's, it's understandable.


message 7: by Meghan (new)

Meghan | 93 comments Hey, I just realized (like a giant Homer "Doh!") that the title's work the same way. I'm only mentioning it because no one else has in this thread. But that The Jungle Book is titled aptly as Mowgli grew up in the jungle. Thus The Graveyard Book title gives the most obvious homage.


message 8: by Libby (new)

Libby | 271 comments Meghan wrote: "Hey, I just realized (like a giant Homer "Doh!") that the title's work the same way. I'm only mentioning it because no one else has in this thread. But that The Jungle Book is titled aptly as Mowgl..."

Don't worry - I had the same experience. It suddenly hit me that the title "The Graveyard Book" is just like "The Jungle Book" - I felt like a moron but its easy to miss the obvious sometimes




message 9: by Jon (new)

Jon (jonmoss) | 894 comments I guess I need to read The Jungle Book. It's strange that I've never read it, nor read it to my children. Yet I've seen various movies and enjoyed them.


message 10: by Ryan (new)

Ryan | 27 comments I had many revelatory moments as I was reading, most notably the ghoul/Bandar-Log parallel, and the Sleer similarity to the ancient snake Mowgli meets underground when he finds a lost treasure.
If only there were a Riki-Tiki-Tavi story in The Graveyard Book ...


message 11: by Meghan (new)

Meghan | 93 comments Ryan wrote: "If only there were a Riki-Tiki-Tavi story in The Graveyard Book ...i>

Oy. That takes me back to going to my local library on Saturday and getting to see a "free" movie, back in the day where libraries still used projectors with film on reels. I love that movie (the book is good too).

Maybe Neal Stephenson can do a cyberpunk version. heh



message 12: by Meghan (new)

Meghan | 93 comments Libby wrote: "Don't worry - I had the same experience. It suddenly hit me that the title "The Graveyard Book" is just like "The Jungle Book" - I felt like a moron but its easy to miss the obvious sometimes
..."


I feel dumb because the whole time I was reading the book, I thought the title was so odd. I had to see it next to TJB to get the relevance. OY.


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