Essay about The Sociology of Tarzan of the Apes

Essay about The Sociology of Tarzan of the Apes

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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...


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...ound 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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