Rikki-Tikki-Tavi

by

Rudyard Kipling

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Teddy’s Father Character Analysis

Teddy’s father never receives a formal name, though it’s clear that he is British, and—since the story takes place in a British military compound—likely that he works with the military or government in some capacity. He’s portrayed as wise but firm, kind but resolute, and with an awareness of the big picture that serves his family well. That is most readily apparent in his observations about Rikki-tikki, as he notes that “Teddy’s safer with that little beast than if he had a bloodhound to watch him.” His foresight provides both his family and animals of the garden with protection against the threat of the cobras. He’s also shown as someone who acts quickly and never hesitates in the face of danger. He moves swiftly to protect Teddy during the final confrontation with Nagaina, for example.

Teddy’s Father Quotes in Rikki-Tikki-Tavi

The Rikki-Tikki-Tavi quotes below are all either spoken by Teddy’s Father or refer to Teddy’s Father. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Man and the Natural World Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Puffin edition of Rikki-Tikki-Tavi published in 1984.
Rikki-Tikki-Tavi Quotes

It is the hardest thing in the world to frighten a mongoose, because he is eaten up from nose to tail with curiosity. The motto of all the mongoose family is “Run and find out,” and Rikki-tikki was a true mongoose.

Related Characters: Rikki-tikki-tavi, Teddy, Teddy’s Father
Explanation and Analysis:

“I suppose he’s so tame because we’ve been kind to him.”

“All mongooses are like that,” said her husband. “If Teddy doesn’t pick him up by the tail, or try to put him in a cage, he’ll run in and out of the house all day long. Let’s give him something to eat.”

Related Characters: Teddy’s Father (speaker), Teddy’s Mother (speaker), Rikki-tikki-tavi, Teddy
Related Symbols: Human Food
Explanation and Analysis:

“I don’t like that,” said Teddy’s mother. “He may bite the child.” “He’ll do no such thing,” said the father. “Teddy’s safer with that little beast than if he had a bloodhound to watch him. If a snake came into the nursery now—”

Related Characters: Teddy’s Father (speaker), Teddy’s Mother (speaker), Rikki-tikki-tavi, Teddy
Explanation and Analysis:

He sat on all their laps one after the other, because every well-brought-up mongoose always hopes to be a house mongoose some day and have rooms to run about in; and Rikki-tikki’s mother (she used to live in the general’s house at Segowlee) had carefully told Rikki what to do if ever he came across white men.

Explanation and Analysis:

If Rikki-tikki had only known, he was doing a much more dangerous thing than fighting Nag, for Karait is so small, and can turn so quickly, that unless Rikki bit him close to the back of the head, he would get the return stroke in his eye or his lip. But Rikki did not know.

Explanation and Analysis:

That night at dinner, walking to and fro among the wine-glasses on the table, he might have stuffed himself three times over with nice things. But he remembered Nag and Nagaina, and though it was very pleasant to be patted and petted by Teddy’s mother, and to sit on Teddy’s shoulder, his eyes would get red from time to time, and he would go off into his long war cry of “Rikk-tikk-tikki-tikki-tchk!”

Related Symbols: Human Food
Explanation and Analysis:

Chuchundra sat down and cried till the tears rolled off his whiskers. “I am a very poor man,” he sobbed. “I never had spirit enough to run out into the middle of the room. H’sh! I mustn’t tell you anything. Can’t you hear, Rikki-tikki?”

Rikki-tikki listened. The house was as still as still, but he thought he could just catch the faintest scratch-scratch in the world—a noise as faint as that of a wasp walking on a window-pane—the dry scratch of a snake’s scales on brick-work.

Related Characters: Chuchundra (speaker), Rikki-tikki-tavi, Nag, Teddy’s Father
Explanation and Analysis:

“It’s the mongoose again, Alice. The little chap has saved our lives now.”

Related Characters: Teddy’s Father (speaker), Rikki-tikki-tavi, Nag, Teddy’s Mother
Explanation and Analysis:

“Ding-dong-tock! Nag is dead—dong! Nagaina is dead! Ding-dong-tock!” That set all the birds in the garden singing, and the frogs croaking, for Nag and Nagaina used to eat frogs as well as little birds.

When Rikki got to the house, Teddy and Teddy’s mother (she looked very white still, for she had been fainting) and Teddy’s father came out and almost cried over him; and that night he ate all that was given him till he could eat no more, and went to bed on Teddy’s shoulder, where Teddy’s mother saw him when she came to look late at night.

Related Symbols: Human Food
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Rikki-Tikki-Tavi LitChart as a printable PDF.
Rikki-Tikki-Tavi PDF

Teddy’s Father Character Timeline in Rikki-Tikki-Tavi

The timeline below shows where the character Teddy’s Father appears in Rikki-Tikki-Tavi. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Rikki-Tikki-Tavi
Man and the Natural World Theme Icon
Colonialism as a Benevolent Force Theme Icon
The Importance of Family Theme Icon
Courage and Cowardice Theme Icon
...house and readily begins to exercise his curiosity. When he scrambles up Teddy’s shoulder, Teddy’s father insists Rikki-tikki is nothing to be frightened of, while his mother marvels at how their... (full context)
Man and the Natural World Theme Icon
Colonialism as a Benevolent Force Theme Icon
The Importance of Family Theme Icon
...that the family has to offer. He almost drowns himself in the bathtub, examines Teddy’s father’s writing desk, and sits in the man’s lap while he works. He sleeps with Teddy,... (full context)
Man and the Natural World Theme Icon
Colonialism as a Benevolent Force Theme Icon
The Importance of Family Theme Icon
...make him slow, and instead he takes a dust bath in the bushes while Teddy’s father continues to beat the hatchling’s body. Rikki-tikki is perplexed by the action, since the baby... (full context)
Man and the Natural World Theme Icon
Colonialism as a Benevolent Force Theme Icon
Courage and Cowardice Theme Icon
Rikki-tikki checks Teddy’s bathroom and Teddy’s mother’s bathroom before moving to the bathroom of Teddy’s father. There, he overhears the two cobras outside plotting to murder Teddy’s family. When they’re gone,... (full context)
Man and the Natural World Theme Icon
The Importance of Family Theme Icon
Courage and Cowardice Theme Icon
...wants to be found with his teeth locked as a matter of family honor. Teddy’s father, awakened by the commotion, rushes into the bathroom and blasts the snake with a gun. (full context)
Man and the Natural World Theme Icon
Colonialism as a Benevolent Force Theme Icon
The Importance of Family Theme Icon
Courage and Cowardice Theme Icon
...home to find Nagaina menacing the human family at their breakfast table. Teddy’s mother and father are white-faced and stone still as the cobra advances on them, close enough to Teddy... (full context)
Man and the Natural World Theme Icon
Colonialism as a Benevolent Force Theme Icon
The Importance of Family Theme Icon
Courage and Cowardice Theme Icon
...that only one remains. She turns, focusing solely on her last remaining egg, while Teddy’s father drags him to safety before going for his gun. Rikki-tikki boasts that he has tricked... (full context)