Department of English

Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University


The Gentlemen of the Jungle


Jomo Kenyatta

(c. 18941978)



Study Questions

  • Examine the first and last paragraphs of the story.  Note the verbs associated with the man and those associated with the elephant.  What differences do you see in the verbs for the man compared to those for the elephant (animals in the last paragraph)?  Is there a change in the last paragraph?  Why do you think this is?

  • What does "Commission of Enquiry" mean?  What does the Commission of Enquiry do?  Do you think the Commission fulfills its role/mission as promised by its title?  The man seems to find fault with the makeup of the Commission, protesting "if it was not necessary to include in this commission a member from his side" (37).  What do you think of the man's concerns?  What would be your criticisms of the Commission?

  • Aside from the man, other characters in this story are animals and are called by kind ex. Mr. Rhinoceros, Mr. Alligator.  What is the purpose of this allegorical use of jungle creatures?

  • What does "peace" mean?  What actions do you consider peaceful?  Review the man's actions in the last paragraph.  Do you approve of his methods?  Do you approve of the elephant's?  What is the cost of peace?

  • Why do you think the man is described as innocent in "innocently waited for his opportunity" (37)?  Contrast this with the concurrent activities of the elephant: "The elephant, obeying the command of his master, got busy with other ministers to appoint the Commission of Enquiry."  Do you think the man is still innocent by the end of the story?  What about the animals, what happens to their "teeth and claws"?

  • What do you think of the irony of the title "The Gentlemen of the Jungle"? Do you think the fairy tale beginning "Once upon a time" and closing "lived happily ever after" are meant ironically as well?

  • Reading this against the history of Kenya and Kenyatta's own experience in court and the result of the trial, how might the political and judicial allegory of "The Gentlemen of the Jungle" be a response to those events?






Jomo Kenyatta



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Last updated June 29, 2009