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TARZAN'S HERO JOURNEY

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Lizzy Mirasola

on 4 March 2011

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Transcript of TARZAN'S HERO JOURNEY

TARZAN'S JOURNEY By Lizzy Mirasola The Call Tarzan’s “goal” is to try and gain the respect of his new “father,” Kerchak, who disproves of the idea that Kala, his new mother, wants to bring him in to be taken care of. He is called to not only to try and be a replacement for the son that Kala and Kerchak lost to a leopard (and consequently live as an ape, and try and adapt to life not as a normal human), but to gain respect from his “dad” Kerchak, despite his embarrassment from a child unlike their clan. As he learns that Kerchak feels “He’ll never be one of us,” young Tarzan gets really mad and starts to understand how he doesn’t fit in like the rest. His mother reassures him though, that he is just like everyone else. Is Tarzan called to this by force, is he willing, or is this all by accident? I feel like this could be seen as both forced and willing. He could be viewed as forced to, as Kala rescued him and he had no chance to say what his opinion was- he was just a baby. He has to gain his dad’s respect, because it’s not like he can get away soon. He could be considered willing to, because he stayed a part of the clan even as he grew up and realized he was different. He wants his dad to accept him as part of their clan, so is willing to do that by any means necessary. The Threshold What is Tarzan's known world like? The movie starts out with him as a baby, brought to Africa with his parents. But after they get killed by a leopard, he gets rescued by Kala, and he immediately goes to live with her and the other gorillas in the jungle. This is his known world- the jungle- as he knows nothing of a “human family” because he lost that connection very early on. He knows that Kerchak and the others don’t like him very much, but he does not know why. His mother, Kala, loves him very much. The Call What adventure is Tarzan called to? Tarzan’s “goal” is to try and gain the respect of his new “father,” Kerchak, who disproves of the idea that Kala, his new mother, wants to bring him in to be taken care of. First, he is called to try and be a replacement for the son that Kala and Kerchak lost to a leopard (and consequently live as an ape,to try and adapt to life not as a normal human.) Also, he is called to gain respect from his “dad” Kerchak, despite his embarrassment from a child unlike their clan. As he learns that Kerchak feels “He’ll never be one of us,” young Tarzan gets really mad and starts to understand how he doesn’t fit in like the rest. His mother reassures him though, that he is just like everyone else. Is Tarzan called to this adventure willingly, was he forced to, or was it accidental? I feel like Tarzan's adventure would be seen as both forced and willing. He could be viewed as forced to, as Kala rescued him and he had no chance to say what his opinion was- he was just a baby. He has to gain his dad’s respect, because he wont be able to get away soon. He could also be considered willing to though, because he stayed a part of the clan even as he grew up and realized he was different. He wants his dad to accept him as part of their clan, and is willing to do that by any means necessary. The Threshold What is the boundary between Tarzan's known and unknown? After getting into a confrontation with a heard of elephants while trying to steal a hair, Kerchak gets very mad at Tarzan. This further reiterates that fact that he doesn’t like his “son.” Kerchak says that “He’ll never be one of us,” and young Tarzan gets really mad and starts to understand how he doesn’t fit in like the rest. He’s basically saying that because he’s not a gorilla like the rest of them, he doesn’t fit in at all, and is therefore stupid and unable to understand the dangers of what he does. Though Tarzan has felt some hatred from his “dad” before, this is his real breaking point where the start of his journey can begin. What is the unknown like? Though Tarzan has felt some harsh feelings form Kerchak before, this is his breaking point where hi's journey to become a hero can begin. Before, Kerchak has ignored Tarzan, or scuffed him off here and there, but now, saying to his face that he doesn’t belong, Tarzan knows that something is up, as he enters the unknown. How does Tarzan take a leap of faith? Tarzan goes out on a limb, (literally) when he gets into a battle with the leopard, Sabor. Sabor is causing his clan trouble by always chasing the gorillas, and trying to harm them- Kerchak is always the one who has to defend the clan. Tarzan thinks though, that by possibly being able to stop the leopard from harming them, he will prove his bravery and strength. So, he does after the animal. He ends up killing the leopard, consequently demonstrating his very un-human-like strength, and showing Tarzan that there are real dangers in life. Although Kerchak acknowledges his defeat, he is less than exhilarated. Threshold Guardian Who's protecting Tarzan from the unknown? From the day Kala found Tarzan in his crib in the tree house, she has been protecting, loving, and nurturing for her young boy. She carried him like a gorilla, treated him like one of the pact, and loved him the way she would love any real gorilla. His mother also reassures him though, when he takes his leap of faith. She says that he is just like everyone else; she compares a human boy to a gorilla. Him and the gorillas both have 2 hands(but different sizes), and 2 eyes and ears, and each a same beating heart. This makes Tarzan realize even furthermore that he can prove to his dad that he belongs- his mother’s saying he is the same Challenges and Temptations 1) Temptation/Challenge First, Tarzan is tempted by his curiosity when he hears a gunshot go off in the woods. He follows the sound, and runs into Clayton, Jane Porter, and her father, who just goes by “Porter.” He quickly hides and avoids being seen. He watches, though, as the two men go off on their adventure, and Jane gets her notebook stolen by a baby monkey, who in retaliation, gets a mob of monkeys to chase Jane. Tarzan acts off of his curiosity, and carries Jane as they fly in they sky on vines, trying to escape the monkeys. When they finally do, they land in a tree and talk, after settling down a bit. He’s challenged here too though, as he has to physically deal with saving her, and emotionally deal with the fact that she seems a lot more like him (same size hands) than his clan does. This seems to work out okay, as a success, because she agrees for him to take her back to camp, without any fear. She’s starting to trust him, and it shows that his curiosity pays off. From this, the initiate, Tarzan, is starting to learn that there are other “things” out there, some even closer to him than he realizes. 2) Challenge When Tarzan is formally introduced to Clayton and Porter, they are all shocked at the fact that Tarzan cannot speak, let alone understand English. With Clayton not getting through to him, Jane begins to teach Tarzan all about, for lack of better phrasing, being a human. She teaches him the broad things, such as reading and speaking English, but also about photography, the city life, and national monuments. Cultural things like dancing and astrology, movies, maps, and riding a bike. Through these experiences, they become a lot closer, and develop a special kind of relationship. The initiate, Tarzan, is challenged mentally here, as he’s learning an entirely different way of life. Everything he’s never been exposed to is suddenly jumping right out at him, and he has to learn it, in order to communicate with Jane and her colleagues. This proves a success, as after we see Tarzan being able to interact, and even walk more upright. He overall takes away a new meaning of life from this- exposure to things he’s never though possible, that will be the building block for later occurrences. 3)Challenge/Temptation After becoming literate, Clayton sees it as an opportunity for Tarzan to take them to see the Apes, as the boat has arrived and they are set to depart in a little bit. Tarzan sees this as a chance to make sure Jane does not leave him. He thinks that after she sees the apes, she wont want to leave, and she’ll stay with Tarzan; he doesn’t want her to leave. Tarzan is worried, though, that Kerchak will get angry and hurt his friends, because they are human. So, he gets Terk and Tantor to dress up as Jane and Porter, as a distraction for Kerchak. While Kerchak is gone, chasing after the fake humans, they go in and explore. At first, the gorillas are shy, but soon, they start to like Jane, and play with her. At that moment, Kerchak comes back angrily, and tries to hurt the humans. Tarzan defends them by holding Kerchak back, but his dad is definitely not pleased. Here, the initiate is being challenged mentally and emotionally. Mentally, because it’s obvious Clayton is trying to use Tarzan to get to the apes. Its also Emotional struggle, as he’s torn between doing what is right for Jane, and what is right for the clan. I see this as a failure on Tarzans part, because in his struggle to get appeasement from his dad, this did not help whatsoever. It was like one step forward, two steps back. I think Tarzan was just thinking of himself, and now how Kerchak would react. The initiate grows from this because he really sees how much humans and apes clash. Their lifestyles are so drastically different, that putting the two together really does no good. 4) Temptation After the fight with Kerchak, Tarzan is pretty upset, and his mother, trying to cheer him up, takes him up to the tree house, where she first found him. He sees pictures of his real mom, and real dad, accompanied by the bloodstained bassinette. Through this scene, Tarzan finally leans what he really was supposed to be in life, and why Kerchak treats him so differently than all the others. At the same time, the boat is just about to depart from Africa to England. Tarzan was invited to go back to England, (a “people” town) with Jane, but refused because he didn’t want to leave his family. Now, though, that he knows he’s part of Jane’s population, and not the apes’, he decides to go with Jane, and leave behind the life he’s known all his life. Sporting a suit and tie, he makes way for the boat, about to leave. Here, Tarzan is challenged emotionally, as he has to decide whether to stay with the ones he’s known his entire life, or go with the ones he should have known. Tarzan grows from this because he found what he really was in the world, and where he “really belongs.” Helpers How helpers assist during challenges? Terk, a gorilla, and Tantor, an elephant are the two helpers of Tarzan. They’re there for him when he needs help, advice, even to get a few laughs out of What kind of help do they offer? Terk and Tantor are always there to support both Tarzan and Jane in their “relationship” and wherever it may take them. Also, when the Brits want to see the gorillas, Tarzan knows they cannot do so without getting past Kerchak. So, Terk and Tantor dress up as Jane and Potter, to distract Kerchak, and allow the English to see the gorillas. Finally, even though they are devastated that Tarzan has chosen to go to England with Jane, they support his decision, as friends would do. Mentor What wisdom/advice does the mentor offer? Tarzans mentor, his mom Kala, helps him along his journey, through his challenges and temptations. When Tarzan brought the humans to come and see the gorillas, she was shy and backed away, showing Tarzan that this wasn’t a good idea. She doesn’t say this directly, but she hints towards the concept. Also, Kala takes him up to the tree house where she found him, but says nothing. She lets him realize that those are his parents and that he is one of them. How is he/she different from the helper? Kala differs from the helper because she, unlike Terk and Tantor, she only guides him in the right direction, but does not come out and say what do to. She doesn’t go along with some of his schemes either, but rather lets him make his own mistakes, and ultimately grow from the failures and successions in his challenges and temptations. Abyss The hardest, most difficult challenge for Tarzan, was after he got on the boat to go back to England with Jane. Once aboard the boat, men-friends of Clayton- kidnap Tarzan, Jane, and Porter. The men then put them in a compartment under the ship, to which even Tarzan can’t escape. Eventually, though, Tantor and Turk swim to the boat, missing Tarzan, and set the three people free. They eventually make it back to the island, where Tarzan is faced with his true challenge in the abyss. Clayton and his men get a hold of Kerchak, and attempt to take him away. Every one of the gorillas are in a frenzy, and Tarzan is shown to be confused and enraged, but knows he has to save his “dad.” This is the abyss, becase it is the time where Tarzan must overcome his greatest fear- never being able to gain respect from his dad, which would be the case if Kerchak gets taken away. Tarzan is facing death because as Clayton tries to “kidnap” some of Tarzan’s family, he is carrying a rifle and other weapons. Also, he has to worry about being kidnapped himself by the men, and being brought back to England as a “rarity.” This really is the “do or die” moment, because as he is trying to save his father, Kerchak, he has to battle against the risk of getting hurt, captured, and possibly killed. Tarzan eventually lets all of his family members go, and puts the “pirates” in the animal cages that they were using to catch the gorillas. Just as Tarzan is letting Kerchak out, though, Clayton shoots off his gun into the jungle, in an attempt to scare the gorilla, and Tarzan. Kerchak gets mad, and storms at Clayton, who only ends up shooting him in the stomach. Tarzan then chases Clayton into the forest, and eventually breaks his gun. Clayton pulls a machete on Tarzan, but he entangles Clayton in the vines of the forest, including one around his neck. To his own stupidity, in attempts to kill Tarzan and capture the gorillas, he cuts the vines, inevitably hanging himself. Even though his father had gotten shot, and dies, he is able to free the rest of his family, and kill the antagonist. Revelation After Tarzan’s ordeal in the Abyss, he has come to understand that his place –his home- really is with the gorillas. Despite the fact he biologically is a human, he culturally is one of the gorillas. After seeing that Clayton and those hunters were only after one thing and were bad men, Tarzan realizes that he and Jane and Porter, too, belong in the wild with the gorillas- his real home. Transformation How has the hero’s behavior and actions changed for the better? Tarzan, now the dubbed “hero” acts very differently now that he has come to the realization of where he really belongs. His behavior and actions changes, because he now finds it very comfortable to speak only in gorilla, and not try and “fool” anyone by speaking human. Instead of dressing fancy in human clothes, he can now go “au natural” in his loin cloth. Also, he can now be the leader of the gorillas, as his dad’s final words said, and not have to worry about leading a “human” life. Why are they a hero? Tarzan is now a hero, because despite the neglect and hatred from his father, he still has enough pride and courage to stick up for him. Atonement How is the hero now at one with himself? Now, Tarzan is able to realize where he belongs in the world, and what his place is. He no longer has to mask up what makes him different, but now fully accepts it. What inner balance is now attained? Now, Tarzan is able to live amongst the gorillas at peace as their new leader, and still be able to recognize and accept the fact that he is a human. He is able to balance these two attributes, and together, live a balanced life in the jungle. How is Tarzan facing death? How does Tarzan conquer the Abyss? What mental chance has taken place? What does Tarzan now understand that he didn't before? The movie starts out with him as a baby, brought to Africa with his parents. Why is this the abyss? Return Why/How has the hero
returned to the known
world? Tarzan is now named leader of the gorillas, fully in charge of protecting and caring for his family, Jane, and Porter. His new found courage, respect, and selflessness-shown when saving Kerchak- is what will ultimately make him a good leader. How have others accepted him as a hero? Others are very accepting of his new title,
leading them as ruler of the apes.
They immediately take liking to him, Jane, and Porter. The Gorillas, contradictory to how disrespectful they treated him before, are very accepting of Tarzan. What gift has Tarzan bestowed to his society? Tarzan has given his clan the abstract gift of security, as they now know that they won't be hurt by Clayton or his men anymore. He will lead graciously as the head of the clan, and protect them from everything, with the help of Jane and Porter. He's also shown them that he IS one of them; that even though he physically looks different, he really belongs with the apes deep down. Gift Does the hero receive a gift too? Though his gift is abstract, and the audience does not know it, I believe Tarzan receives the gift of reassurance, and a sense of belonging. He has the reassurance from the acceping gorillas that he really IS one of them, an that he really CAN lead them, the way Kerchak has. Also, because of his new found acceptance, he feels he belongs- belongs with Jane, and belongs with the other Gorillas and not other humans. But after they get killed by a leopard, he gets rescued by Kala, and he immediately goes to live with her and the other gorillas in the jungle. This is his known world- the jungle- as he knows nothing of a “human family” because he lost that connection very early on. He knows that Kerchak and the others don’t like him very much, but he does not know why. But his mother, Kala, loves him very much.
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