The elephant is the antagonist in Jomo Kemyatta's short story, "The Gentlemen of the Jungle", as he is in conflict with the man, the protagonist. He is a minister (p. 171, l. 16 – p. 172, l. 1) in the Lion’s kingdom, and thus is in a position of power. His outer characterization is typical of an elephant, with the exception that he claims to have delicate skin (p. 170, ll. 12-15). This, of course, is untrue, as elephants are known to have thick skin.
The elephant’s claim about having delicate skin contributes to his inner characterization, as it is an initial sign that he is willing to lie to justify his actions. It also helps to associate the elephant with white colonisers, whose pale skin is more sensitive to the sun than the native African people they oppress.
The elephant’s manipulative behaviour continues throughout the story. He lies to the lion, using formal language which falsely portrays him as...