A Critic's Meta Review: 4/5
A Critic's Meta Review: 4/5
Following the novel’s publication, Burroughs acknowledged the importance of the heredity theme in the story and its conflict with the environment. Throughout Tarzan of the Apes, Burroughs plays with the idea of a contest between heredity and environment. By portraying the story of an infant child a race strongly marked by hereditary characteristics of the “finer and nobler sort”, and at an age at which he could not have been influenced by association with creatures of his own kind, Tarzan is tossed into an environment that is the perfect opposite from where he was born.
Although Tarzan was brought up in the jungle far from other humans, his behaviors are something to take note of. He is inexplicably drawn back to his parents’ cabin and the objects which he finds there and showcases a capacity for gentlemanly behavior around Jane despite no one teaching it to him.
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Published originally in 1912, Tarzan of the Apes is a classic american novel written by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The story of Tarzan remains one of his most popular works and the series has come to include 24 different novels about the iconic character.
Tarzan of the Apes introduces Tarzan, who was raised by apes in the jungle since early childhood, and follows the story of his eventual encounters with other humans and Western society. Over time, scholars have noted several important themes in the novel such as the impact of heredity on behavior, racial superiority, civilization (especially seen in how Tarzan struggles with his identity as a human), sexuality, and escapism.
John and Alice (Rutherford) Clayton are marooned in the western coastal jungles of Africa in 1888. Shortly after, their son John Clayton II was born. After their son is a year old, his mother dies and his father is soon killed by the king ape Kerchak. The infant is then adopted by a she-ape named Kala.
Following his adoption, Clayton is named Tarzan, which translates to "White Skin" in the ape language and raised in ignorance of his status as a human.
Once Tarzan is 21 years of age, a new party is marooned on the coast, including 19 year old Jane Porter, the first white woman Tarzan has ever seen. Tarzan spies on the party, aiding them in secret, and eventually saves Jane from the perils of the jungle.
Among the party was French naval officer Paul D'Arnot. After meeting, D'Arnot teaches Tarzan to speak French and offers to take him back to the Western world where he might have the opportunity to connect with Jane again. On their journey and the months following after, D'Arnot teaches him how to behave and how to speak English, as well.