Socialization Of Tarzan Of The Apes Essay

, Research Paper


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 previously unknown or unrecognized. Example: Learning to use the hunting knife and to read and write English was all by discovery to Tarzan. 13. Ego? According to Sigmund Freud, the rational, reality-oriented component of personality that imposes restrictions on the innate pleasure-seeking drives of the id. Example: As Tarzan was about to eat the black warrior, he discovered that both of them were of the same race. The race of man. He was hungry and gave no thought but to satisfy his hunger until his ego took over. Realizing that this was a man and he was a man caused him to remember that ape did not eat ape and therefore man must not eat man. 14. Endogamy? Cultural norms prescribing that people marry inside their own social group or category. Example: Jane indulged in endogamy while deciding whether she should marry Tarzan or his cousin. She decided that Tarzan would not be happy in her culture and she would not be happy in his. 15. Ethnic group? A collection of people distinguished, by others or by themselves, primarily on the basis of cultural or nationality characteristics. Example: Tarzan distinguished the black warrior tribe as murderers and different than himself by virtue of the color of their skin and physical characteristics. 16. Ethnicity? The cultural heritage or identity of a group based on factors such as language or country of origin. Example: Tarzan began to recognize his own ethnicity by looking at and eventually comprehending written English. Primarily through pictures was he able to identify himself as a boy. 17. Ethnocentrism? The assumption that one’s own culture and way of life are superior to all others. Example: Tarzan practiced ethnocentrism by being disgusted upon discovering the black warriors were cannibals and since they were the only other race he knew, they formed all other cultures to him. 18. False Consciousness? The term used by Karl Marx to indicate that people hold beliefs they think promote their best interests when those beliefs are actually damaging to their interests. Example: The black warriors had a false consciousness regarding who Tarzan was and what his capabilities were. They believed he was an evil spirit that could be appeased by food and arrows, thereby preventing further deaths among their people. 19. Family of Orientation? The family into which a person is born and in which early socialization usually takes place. Example: His family of orientation did not socialize Tarzan as they died while he was still an infant. 20. Family of Procreation? The family a person forms by having or adopting children. Example: Kala procreated a family by adopting Tarzan as her own child. 21. Functional Age? A term used to describe observable individual attributes such as physical appearance, mobility, strength, coordination, and mental capacity that are used to assign people to age categories. Example: Kala and her tribe thought Tarzan might have some strange illness because at the age of two he was not functional, as were the other apes at that age. 22. Gemeinschaft? A traditional society in which social relationships are based on personal bonds of friendship and kinship and on intergenerational stability. Example: The tribe of apes that Tarzan belonged to was a Gemeinschaft. 23. Gender Socialization? The aspect of socialization that contains specific messages and practices concerning the nature of being female or male in a specific group or society. Example: While performing the duties as the king of the apes, Tarzan was often called upon to settle domestic disputes between mates. One brute had beaten his mate because she had refused to care for him properly which included grooming him and providing him with fresh fruit. 24. Generalized Other? A term for a child’s awareness of the demands and expectations of the society as a whole or of the child’s subculture. Example: Tarzan became aware of the demands of his society and subculture much slower than his peers but soon surpassed them in intelligence and cunning. 25. Homogamy? The pattern of individuals marrying those who have similar characteristics, such as race/ethnicity, religious background, age, education, and/or social class. Example: Jane ultimately participated in homogamy by marrying Tarzan’s cousin even though she knew she had made a mistake by accepting his proposal. 26. Id? A term for the component of personality that includes all of the individual’s basic biological drives and needs that demand immediate gratification. Example: Tarzan was accustomed to gratifying without delay all of the needs of his id. He killed and ate when hungry whether or not the food was cooked as D’Arnot would have preferred was of no consequence. 27. Individual Discrimination? Behavior consisting of one-on-one acts by members of the dominant group that harm members of the subordinate group or their property. Example: The actions of the great ape that killed John Clayton would be considered individual discrimination by Tarzan, because he believed he was descended from both groups. 28. Informal Education? Learning that occurs in a spontaneous, unplanned way. Example: Discovering the usefulness of clothes was definitely unplanned as it occurred during and because of a tornado. 29. Ingroup? A group to which a person belongs and with which the person feels a sense of identity. Example: The apes were the ingroup Tarzan claimed. 30. Instrumental Leadership? Group leadership that is goal or task oriented. The kingship of the apes was task oriented. Example: The king provided food, and settled squabbles. 31. Internal Colonialism? According to conflict theorists, a practice that occurs when members of a racial or ethnic group are conquered or colonized and forcibly placed under the economic and political control of the dominant group. Example: The black warriors in the story were refugees from the Congo that had been taken over by white settlers. 32. Kinship? A social network of people based on common ancestry, marriage, or adoption. Example: The apes were the only kinship group that Tarzan knew. 33. Language? A set of symbols that expresses ideas and enables people to think and communicate with one another. Example: Tarzan was able to communicate with the apes as well as the humans he encountered by means of language. 34. Master Status? A term used to describe the most important status that a person occupies. Example: As a young man Tarzan’s master status was that of the king of the apes. As an adult his master status was that of a man and the master status he wanted was that of the husband of Jane. 35. Material Culture? A component of culture that consists of the physical or tangible creations (such as clothing, shelter, and art) that members of a society make, use, and share. Example: The material left behind by John Clayton for his son was the cabin, books, and the diamond encrusted pendent. 36. Matrilineal descent? A system of tracing descent through the mother’s side of the family. Example: Matrilineal descent was the only possible line to trace for Tarzan because he believed Kala was his mother and his father was dead. 37. Migration? The movement of people from one geographic area to another for the purpose of changing residency. Example: When the black warriors moved their palisade too close to the lake where Tarzan’s group was living, he took them farther into the jungle. 38. Mores? Strongly held norms with moral and ethical connotations that may not be violated without serious consequences in a particular culture. Example: In Jane’s culture the promise to marry was not taken any less lightly than the marriage. She could not break her promise to marry even though she wanted to desperately. 39. Nonverbal Communication? The transfer of information between persons without the use of words. Example: Tarzan used sign language with the humans to communicate with them. 40. Patriarchy? A hierarchical system of social organization in which cultural, political, and economic structures are controlled by men. Example: Both cultures that Tarzan ultimately recognized as his own were patriarchal. 41. Patrilineal Descent? A system of tracing descent through the father’s side of the family. Example: Patrilineal descent was impossible to Tarzan, prior to meeting D’Arnot , due to the death of his father. 42. Peer Group? A group of people who are linked by common interests, equal social position, and (usually) similar age. Example: The peer group of Kala showed interest in the human infant, but she would not allow them to touch him. 43. Presentation of Self? A term for people’s efforts to present themselves to others in ways that are most favorable to their own interests or image. Example: Tarzan’s proposal of marriage to Jane was pure presentation of self, although the story would have us believe everything he promised to be true. 44. Rationality? The process by which traditional methods of social organization, characterized by informality and spontaneity, are gradually replaced by efficiently administered formal rules and procedures (bureaucracy). Example: In Jane’s culture men and women often were not at liberty to marry whom they chose due to bureaucracy. 45. Reference Group? A term used to describe a group that strongly influences a person’s behavior and social attitudes, regardless of whether that individual is an actual member. Example: The only reference group available to Tarzan was that of the apes. 46. Resocialization? The process of learning a new and different set of attitudes, values, and behaviors from those in one’s previous background and experiences. Example: D’Arnot took Tarzan to Paris in order to resocialize him into his own culture. 47. Rituals? Regularly repeated and carefully prescribed forms of behaviors that symbolize a cherished value or belief. Example: The rites of the Dum Dum marked important events in the life of the tribe –a victory, the capture of a prisoner, the killing of some large fierce denizen of the jungle, the death or accession of a king, and were conducted with set ceremonialism. 48. Role Exit? A situation in which people disengage from social roles that have been central to their self-identity. Example: The abdication of the position of king on the part of Tarzan was a role exit. 49. Role Performance? How a person actually plays a role. Example: Tarzan was not performing his role as king and the tribe was constantly squabbling amongst themselves.


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