“There’s fantastic meaning woven into the story of Tarzan. It is a story about an uncivilized man who becomes civilized yet it doesn’t just end there. Burroughs created an interesting character when he penned the character to life on paper but it was the film Greystoke that truly breathed depth into him because of the tight script, precise direction, gorgeous sets, wonderful acting and overall tone. There are two powerful scenes in the film where Tarzan not only loses his human grandfather but also his adoptive father, the ape named Silverbeard. Tarzan lacks an understanding about death when his human relative dies, but cries madly when his closest ape relative is killed. In deep grief he shouts aloud, “he was my father!” Director Hudson smartly said the film was “about Adam and Eve and the loss of innocence and our human urges. Tarzan’s human savior in the form of the explorer named, d’Arnot teaches him language but that’s where Tarzan actually becomes lost. d’Arnot is the snake and the question for Tarzan is how does a man live between the apes and the angels of heaven? What society does he join? The world he leaves is beautiful and the civilized one is brutal. Many times, in my life I’ve felt like the beast man and acted like one too by using my fists often to solve disputes. Have you? As I’ve integrated into society by becoming an adult, I think back to the many times I felt I was losing my mind, my heart and my way by being too much a part of the fabric of civilization. Hudson noted that we have a battle of nature and nurture, nature and culture. “It’s about the freedom of the jungle and the distortions and strictures of society, and how perhaps we can’t do without either of them…. two opposing forces, which shouldn’t be opposing at all.” It’s hard to let go of the knowledge we hold in our mind, and the savageness we keep in our heart. In life we must never waste these poignant moments to learn, just like Tarzan, who was half man half ape. We must find our place in this unfair and imbalanced human world without continuing to be brutal things. If we listen to the ancient voices, we can find the beauty hidden in this place and re-balance. ” Michael Kurcina
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