Rikki-Tikki-Tavi: Characters & Theme

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  • 0:01 Reading About…
  • 0:36 Characters
  • 1:56 Themes
  • 2:17 Bravery
  • 2:48 Loyalty
  • 3:13 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shelley Vessels

Shelley has taught at the middle school level for 10 years and has a master's degree in teaching English.

Sometimes students like to read up on a story's elements, like characters and theme, before sitting down to read the story. Read this lesson on 'Rikki-Tikki-Tavi' and learn about the cast of characters and theme in this classic story!

Reading About Characters and Theme

Have you ever struggled to understand a story? Have you needed to read it many times before you actually know what's going on?

By getting to know the characters and theme before reading Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, you can improve your comprehension. Previewing the characters involved allows you to pay attention to the storyline as you read, not struggling to figure out each character as they are introduced. When you know the theme ahead of time, it allows for you to have an idea of what to expect as you read. For some students, this helps in their reading comprehension.


Let's go over the characters first.

  • Rikki-Tikki-Tavi: a mongoose (a small rodent, like a weasel). He is the protagonist of the story, which is the main character, often the hero. Rikki-Tikki-Tavi fights off snakes to defend a family he befriends.
  • Darzee: a tailorbird (a small songbird) and Rikki-Tikki's friend. Even though Darzee chirps nonsense and annoys Rikki-Tikki, he was a key player in the most important battle in the story.
  • Darzee's wife: a tailorbird and an ally of Rikki-Tikki. She warns Rikki-Tikki of danger during the climax.
  • Nag: a cobra and one of the antagonists of the story, meaning the character who battles the protagonist.
  • Nagaina: a cobra, Nag's wife, and one of the antagonists. She is involved in important battles with Rikki-Tikki.
  • Teddy: a young boy who finds himself in dangerous situations with wildlife that surrounds his home in India.
  • Teddy's mother: she cares for Rikki-Tikki.
  • Teddy's father: he comes to Rikki-Tikki's aid in a dangerous situation.
  • Chuchundra: a fearful muskrat who lives in the home's gardens.
  • Karait: a small, yet deadly snake that Rikki-Tikki tangles with in the story.

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