Bringing Up Kari: Summary and Analysis

The story, Bringing Up Kari is about an elephant. It was written by Dhan Gopal Mukherji, who had written several books and stories that describe the life of animals in India. The story is a description of a small elephant. The narrator shares his experience of growth and habits.

Bringing Up Kari Summary

The nine-year-old narrator was given the duty to look after a five-month-old elephant, Kari. In the initial two years, the narrator could easily reach the back of the elephant. Kari lived in a pavilion that had a thatched roof. He ate forty pounds of twigs. The narrator took the to the river for morning baths and then rubbed sand on Kari’s back for an hour before putting him into the water. Kari enjoyed his long baths and would come out with shining skin.

When coming back, the narrator used to lead him by the ear to the border of the jungle. The narrator went in while Kari collected luscious twigs for his dinner at the border. The narrator had to carefully break twigs because elephants did not like to eat distorted twigs. On a spring day in March, while the narrator was gathering foods from a banyan tree, he heard Kari call. He ran to the border where he left Kari, but he was not there. The narrator thought that Kari was in danger and rushed to the riverbank. Heb saw a black creature trying to get out of the water. The creature rose a little, and it was Kari’s trunk. The narrator thought that Kari was drowning and jumped in. He realized that Kari was trying to save a drowning boy. Both of them struggled to get the boy to the store. The narrator was flowing with the current, so Kari rushed, spread his trunk around his neck, and pulled them out.

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Kari was a mischievous and naughty baby and was yet to be disciplined. One day, someone fed Kari ripe bananas, and since, he developed a great taste for it. Ripe bananas were disappearing from the fruit bowl for a few days. First, the family thought the servants ate them, but the fruits were always disappearing, so everyone thought that the narrator was eating them, and he could not convince anyone of his innocence. One day, the narrator saw Kai stealing bananas with his trunk through the window. He felt scared because he was not used to such intrusion. Kari was following to his pavilion, and the narrator found mashed bananas in the pavilion. He puller Kari’s ears and told his parents, and scolded Kari. Kari understood his mistake and never stole.

During Kari’s childhood, the narrator wanted him to learn all the signals and sounds. Kari was a fast learner and quickly learned- ‘dhat’ and ‘mal.’ The former was a signal to sit down, and the latter was a signal to walk. He learned the former very fast, but the latter took him three weeks. The narrator said that the master call is the most difficult thing for elephants, and Kari learned it in five years.

The master call is the signal to save one if they get lost in the jungle. It is a strange hissing- howling sound as if a snake and a tiger were fighting with each other. Once an elephant hears it, they pull down trees to scare animals. Even tigers would be scared. This also gives an easy way back home. Kari learned this well too.

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Bringing Up Kari Analysis 

The author got a five moths old elephant, Kari. The pavilion is Kari’s home and constantly bumps into the poles of the thick tree stumps. Kari enjoys his morning baths in the river. He loves to lie down in the water for long and squeals with pleasure. After the bath, Kari goes to the forest and collects twigs for dinner, which takes a while. The narrator then prepares the dinner for Kari.

The two have become great friends. One day, Kari pushed the narrator into the stream to save a drowning boy. However, the author does not know how to swim. Kari eventually saves both of them. The writer gets hold of Kari’s trunk, and Kari pulls them out.

Kari is so young, so he is also notorious and needs to be checked every time he is mischievous. Over time, Kari starts to like bananas and eventually starts stealing them. Through the window, he puts his trunk into the dining room and pulls bananas out. He takes them to his pavilion to eat in peace. The writer once catches him stealing and scolds him. Kari learns and does not steals. 

Over time, Kari has learned several lessons because he is a quick learner. He learns the commands for sit and walk. The most important and difficult was the Master Call, which most elephants take about five years to learn. It helps the elephant save its master’s life. When a master is lost, they make a strange hissing sound. The trained elephants would pull out trees in front, which would scare animals, including tigers, away. This way, he can make a path out of the forest, and Kari learned this too.

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Bringing Up Kari Theme

The story is a narrative description of Kari, a small elephant. The narrator has raised the elephant and trained him with the most fundamental instincts of elephants, like the way to respond to some gestures and calls. The narrator talks about the growth and habits of the elephant. The story is based on the theme that animals must be treated just like humans. The story is a gentle reminder that animals are our friends and can be more loving, brave, and sensible than humans in several situations.

Bringing Up Kari Analysis Key Points

The story takes us about the life of the narrator, who had a baby elephant named Kari. The young boy grows up with Kari, and throughout the story, narrates his experiences. The story shares a sweet narrative that makes readers fond of Kari. The relationship between Kari and the narrator is pure and sweet. The elephant loves taking baths in the river, and the author takes him for morning baths in the river. The friendship between them is endearing. Once, Kari pushed the narrator in the stream to save a drowning boy. The narrator did not know how to swim, and eventually, Kari saved both of them. He stole bananas mischievously and was taught a lesson. Kari learns several tricks that the narrator teaches him and the final Master call.