Tarzan of the Apes | Study Guide

Edgar Rice Burroughs

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Tarzan of the Apes | Chapter Summaries

See Chapter Summaries Chart

Timeline of Events

  • May 1888

    John and Alice Clayton sail from England to Africa for his work with the British Colonial Office.

    Chapter 1
  • June 1888

    The Claytons are stranded on the west coast of Africa after a mutiny on the Fuwalda.

    Chapter 2
  • July 1888

    An ape attacks the Claytons, but neither is badly hurt. Alice gives birth that night.

    Chapter 3
  • July 1889

    Alice and John Clayton die within hours of each other. Kala adopts their son and names him Tarzan.

    Chapter 4
  • 1898

    Tarzan begins teaching himself to read with the books in the Claytons' former cabin.

    Chapter 6
  • 1901

    Tarzan kills Tublat with a knife after the Dum-Dum ceremony, proving his strength to the tribe.

    Chapter 7
  • 1906

    A native African tribe moves into the apes' territory.

    Chapter 9
  • A few months later

    Tarzan sees a human for the first time, as he avenges Kala's killing.

    Chapter 9
  • Soon after

    Tarzan proves his supremacy by killing Kerchak. He is now King of the Apes.

    Chapter 11
  • January 1909

    Tarzan leaves the ape tribe, hoping to find other white men. He moves into the cabin.

    Chapter 12
  • February 1909

    The Porters and their friends are stranded on the beach after a mutiny on the Arrow.

    Chapter 13
  • Later that day

    Tarzan sees Jane Porter from afar and immediately falls in love.

    Chapter 13
  • The next day

    The Arrow's crew buries Professor Porter's treasure. Tarzan digs it up and hides it elsewhere.

    Chapter 17
  • March 1909

    Tarzan rescues Jane after Tublat captures her. Tarzan and Jane spend a chaste night together.

    Chapter 19
  • The next day

    Tarzan rescues Lieutenant D'Arnot, a French naval lieutenant, from the cannibalistic African villagers.

    Chapter 21
  • A week later

    The Porters depart with the French navy shortly before Tarzan and D'Arnot return to the cabin.

    Chapter 23
  • Five weeks later

    After a month's journey Tarzan and D'Arnot arrive at a French mission.

    Chapter 25
  • Five weeks after that

    Tarzan and D'Arnot sail back to the cabin and recover Professor Porter's treasure.

    Chapter 26
  • A few weeks later

    Tarzan and Jane reunite in the middle of a Wisconsin forest fire. He saves her life.

    Chapter 27
  • Hours later

    Cecil Clayton and Tarzan both propose to Jane. She agrees to marry Clayton.

    Chapter 28

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Chapter 1 Tarzan of the Apes begins with a brief introduction from the narrator, who originally heard half the story from a friend... Read More
Chapter 2 The next morning the crew of the Fuwalda takes over the ship. John Clayton watches nonchalantly from the sidelines as th... Read More
Chapter 3 John Clayton builds a house for himself and Alice over the next month. Though it is a simple one-room log cabin, it is w... Read More
Chapter 4 Kerchak, a hulking male gorilla and the leader of the ape tribe that harassed the Claytons for the past year, is in a ma... Read More
Chapter 5 Tarzan doesn't grow the way the other ape children do. He is smaller and weaker than the other infants in the tribe. His... Read More
Chapter 6 Kerchak's band of apes often hunts and rests near the Claytons' sealed cabin. The apes never venture close to the cabin—... Read More
Chapter 7 It takes Tarzan a month to recover from Bolgani's attack. He returns to the cabin, finds the knife where he dropped it d... Read More
Chapter 8 Kerchak's tribe is on the move the day after the Dum-Dum. They leave Tublat's body behind, because "the people of Kercha... Read More
Chapter 9 Tarzan continues his studies for the next few years. By 18 he can read and print fluently, though he can't speak English... Read More
Chapter 10 Tarzan spies on the villagers after discarding Kulonga's body. He is certain they would think him an enemy should they s... Read More
Chapter 11 One day while at the cabin, Tarzan finds a small metal box fitted with a key in the lock. He manages to open the box and... Read More
Chapter 12 Tarzan is a very good king. His intelligence and hunting skills bring in more food than ever, including the daily food o... Read More
Chapter 13 Injured from his fight with Terkoz, Tarzan makes his way slowly to the cabin. He tries to fashion himself some clothing ... Read More
Chapter 14 Tarzan mentally digests everything he has seen. He feels a kinship with Professor Porter, Samuel T. Philander, and Cecil... Read More
Chapter 15 Tarzan and Cecil Clayton hear Jane Porter's gunshot. Clayton can't keep up with the now-speeding Tarzan, so Tarzan motio... Read More
Chapter 16 Professor Porter and Samuel T. Philander are several miles south of the cabin, arguing about the Moors—the name of the f... Read More
Chapter 17 The cabin's newest inhabitants decide to bury the skeletons of its previous owners. Professor Porter and Samuel T. Phila... Read More
Chapter 18 Tarzan reads Jane Porter's letter the next morning. Dated February 3, 1909, it's addressed to someone named Hazel and re... Read More
Chapter 19 The scream that Tarzan, Samuel T. Philander, Cecil Clayton, and Professor Porter hear is Jane Porter's. She is captured ... Read More
Chapter 20 Jane Porter studies Tarzan as he sprints her farther into the jungle. She's captivated by his "extraordinary beauty," an... Read More
Chapter 21 The French sailors, Cecil Clayton, and Professor Porter search the jungle for Jane Porter when six black warriors swarm ... Read More
Chapter 22 Lieutenant Charpentier leads his men, Professor Porter, and Cecil Clayton back to the beach the next morning. The French... Read More
Chapter 23 Lieutenant D'Arnot wakes in the grassy shelter Tarzan built for Jane Porter the previous day. In great pain, he remember... Read More
Chapter 24 Captain Dufranne, the captain of the French cruiser, wants to leave Africa as soon as the expedition to find Lieutenant ... Read More
Chapter 25 A man falls through the cabin door. It is Tarzan, whom Lieutenant D'Arnot has inadvertently shot in the head. Tarzan is ... Read More
Chapter 26 It takes another month for Tarzan and Lieutenant D'Arnot to reach the nearest harbor. D'Arnot cables the French governme... Read More
Chapter 27 Robert Canler visits Professor Porter in Baltimore, Maryland, to ask once more about marrying Jane Porter. He fears that... Read More
Chapter 28 Cecil Clayton, Samuel T. Philander, and Professor Porter are delighted to see Jane Porter unharmed, and shocked to learn... Read More
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