Rikki-Tikki-Tavi

by

Rudyard Kipling

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Teddy’s Mother Character Analysis

Teddy’s mother, Alice, is portrayed as emotionally sensitive, soft-hearted, and often reluctant to face the harsh realities of the world around her. For example, when Teddy’s father suggests that a snake might come into the nursery, she “wouldn’t think of anything so awful.” Her qualities are typical for depictions of women at the time, fitting with Kipling’s colonialist, male-dominated view of the world. Her concern can blind her to the presences of allies—she worries Rikki-tikki may bite Teddy, for instance—but her compassion is also shown as contributing to the collective good. This is most evident early on, when she suggests that they take a half-drowned Rikki-tikki into the house to help him recuperate. She eventually embraces the mongoose’s presence in the home and agrees with her husband that the little creature has saved all of them from the menace of the cobras Nag and Nagaina.

Teddy’s Mother Quotes in Rikki-Tikki-Tavi

The Rikki-Tikki-Tavi quotes below are all either spoken by Teddy’s Mother or refer to Teddy’s Mother. 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

“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:

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:

“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 Mother Character Timeline in Rikki-Tikki-Tavi

The timeline below shows where the character Teddy’s Mother 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
The Importance of Family Theme Icon
...road.  He’s discovered by a small English boy, Teddy, who initially thinks Rikki-tikki-tavi is dead. Teddy’s mother insists the mongoose is alive, and the human family gingerly brings him into their home... (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
...scrambles up Teddy’s shoulder, Teddy’s father insists Rikki-tikki is nothing to be frightened of, while his mother marvels at how their kindness must have made such a “wild” creature so friendly. Teddy’s... (full context)
Man and the Natural World Theme Icon
Colonialism as a Benevolent Force Theme Icon
The Importance of Family Theme Icon
...though he gets up to look into any noise in the house throughout the night. Teddy’s mother and father look in on them, and Teddy’s mother wonders whether the mongoose will bite... (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... (full context)
The Importance of Family Theme Icon
Courage and Cowardice Theme Icon
Rikki-Tiki is left stunned, but essentially unhurt. As Teddy’s mother enters the bathroom, white-faced with fear, the mongoose drags himself back to Teddy’s bedroom and... (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
...back to the 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... (full context)