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History Lesson

A Quick Dive into Tarzan's Jungle

The story of Tarzan, a character that has captivated audiences for over a century, is nothing short of legendary. Born to British aristocrats marooned on the African coast, Tarzan's life takes a dramatic turn when he's orphaned as an infant. His parents' demise at the hands of Kerchak, the fearsome leader of an ape tribe, leaves him facing an uncertain future. But rather than spelling his end, this tragic beginning marks the start of a remarkable journey. Adopted by the Mangani great apes, Tarzan, whose name means "white skin" in the ape language, grows up in the wild, learning to thrive in the jungle's unforgiving environment.

Tarzan's upbringing among the apes endows him with physical abilities far beyond those of ordinary men. He moves with the grace and strength of the animals he calls family, yet his human intellect remains intact beneath his wild exterior. This combination of strength, agility, and intellect makes him the undisputed lord of the jungle. Yet, despite his prowess and the respect he commands, Tarzan's heart yearns for something more—a connection to his human roots. This longing is fulfilled when he meets Jane Porter, an American woman marooned in the jungle. Jane's presence ignites a spark within Tarzan, leading him on a quest that would take him far beyond the confines of his jungle home.

Tarzan's adventures from jungle hero to cultured aristocrat—and back to the wild—challenge the very notions of civilization and savagery. With Jane by his side, Tarzan navigates the complexities of human society, only to find its hypocrisies too stifling. Ultimately, the call of the wild proves too strong to ignore. Tarzan and Jane's decision to return to Africa, where they build a life on a vast estate, encapsulates the eternal struggle between the call of the wild and the allure of civilization. Through it all, Tarzan remains a symbol of untamed nature, a hero whose legend continues to thrive in the heart of the jungle.

Gennie, Heywise Staff

Quiz WriterGennie, Heywise Staff

<p>Gennie dances through life with the grace of a leaf caught in a playful gust. That is to say, she continuously finds herself moving to the ever-changing rhythms of the world around her. She often shares stories of swaying to the melodies of Vivaldi and Chopin and a touch of Ella Fitzgerald during her early years. Gennie never misses a beat, whether she's penning evocative stories that resonate deeply or solving intricate puzzles that challenge the mind. Currently, she's weaving words for her upcoming book, a title she playfully keeps a secret. Dive into a conversation with her, and you'll quickly find yourself captivated by her tales, riddles, and the vibrant energy she brings to every encounter.</p>

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Swinging to a Different Beat: The Unique Sound of Tarzan

When Disney embarked on the creation of Tarzan, they veered off the traditional path, choosing instead to infuse the film with a soundtrack that broke all the norms. Phil Collins, a rockstar rather than a Broadway veteran, was the unexpected choice to breathe musical life into this animated adventure, a decision that not only set Tarzan apart but also enriched its storytelling depth. Collins initially approached the task with apprehension, unsure of his ability to craft songs for such a unique narrative. Yet, his initial demos, imbued with raw and emotive power, convinced the filmmakers that these songs shouldn't be performed by anyone else.

Collins' music became the inner voice of the characters, a narrative technique that allowed the film to explore more nuanced and mature themes. For instance, the songs allowed audiences to hear directly from Kala, Tarzan's adoptive gorilla mother, and even Kerchak, the imposing silverback leader. This choice lent a unique intimacy to the film, bridging the gap between human emotion and the wild heart of the jungle.

Moreover, the Tarzan soundtrack stood out for its global resonance. Collins recorded the songs in multiple languages, making it a truly international affair. This effort not only showcased Collins’ dedication but also highlighted Disney’s ambition to make Tarzan a universal story. The soundtrack's success, including an Academy Award for Best Original Song for "You’ll Be in My Heart," is a testament to the power of music to transcend language and culture, proving that at its core, Tarzan is a story about finding one’s place in the world, a theme as universal as music itself.

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