Socialization of Tarzan of the Apes

Sociology of Tarzan of the Apes By Scottie Miller Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs is about socialization and resocialization of the second John Clayton, Lord of Greystoke. Having lost his parents while still a baby, he was adopted by a female ape and accepted partially by her tribe. Not all members of the tribe of apes gave him full membership into their group, which caused Tarzan grief and pain, but also equipped him with the necessary tools for survival. Beyond the immediate story of Tarzan there is an underlying story of the socioeconomic progress of man in an encapsulated span of time, as it must have actually occurred over the eons since man first appeared. Within the text of the story are numerous examples of sociological occurrences dealing with different races and indeed species of animals. Some examples are: 1. Achieved Status... A social position that a person assumes voluntarily as a result of personal choice, merit, or direct effort. Example: Tarzan achieved the status of King of the Apes by choice and direct effort when he challenged Kerchak for leadership of the group. 2. Activity Theory... The propositions that people tend to shift gears in late middle age, and find substitutes for previous statuses, roles, and activities. Example: In the 1800s human life expectancy was not much beyond 40 or 50 years of age, therefore a young man by today\'s standards in his mid to late 20s would have been considered middle aged. Tarzan was in this age period when he became irritated with life as the King of the Apes and decided to abdicate his position and return to the cabin his father had built. 3. Agents of Socialization... Those persons, groups, or institutions that teach people what they need to know in order to participate in society. Example: Kala, the female ape that adopted Tarzan, and her group taught him the basics for survival and participation in society. 4. Assimilation... A process by which members of subordinate racial and ethnic groups become absorbed into the dominant culture. Example: Alone in the jungle, Tarzan and his parents were the subordinate group. After the death of his parents Tarzan was absorbed into the dominant culture of the apes. 5. Bilateral Descent... A system of tracing descent through both the mother\'s and father\'s sides of the family. Example: Bilateral decent would have been impossible to trace for Tarzan had he not played in the ink from the pen his father was using to write his journal, thereby creating fingerprints. 6. Body Consciousness... A term that describes how a person perceives and feels about his or her body. Example: As a young boy Tarzan was ashamed of his body because he was not hairy like the other apes. As a man, he was glad he was not covered in hair, because Jane was not. 7. Cultural Capital... A term for people\'s social assets, including values, beliefs, attitudes, and competencies in language and culture. Example: Teaching himself to read and write English, provided Tarzan with the cultural capital necessary to communicate with D\'Arnot. 8. Cultural relativism... The belief that the behaviors and customs of a society must be viewed and analyzed within the context of its own culture. Example: A man even considering eating another man would have been ostracized and even institutionalized from others of society, had they been aware of it. In the society in which Tarzan was part, apes did not eat other apes, however they did eat men. 9. Conformity... The process of maintaining or changing behavior to comply with the norms established by a society, subculture, or other group. Example: Tarzan conformed to societal norms regarding murder by releasing the man who was attempting to force Jane to marry him. 10. Deviance... Any behavior, belief, or condition that violates cultural norms. Example: Tarzan violated the cultural norms of Jane by kissing her profusely in the natural amphitheater in the jungle without a proper introduction or acquaintanceship. 11. Diffusion... The transmission of cultural items or social practices from one group or society to another. Example: The hunting knife belonging to John Clayton was found by Tarzan thus diffusing it into the group of apes. 12. Discovery... The process of learning about something