Here’s my thought for the day:
What would happen if Tarzan never made contact with another human being?
The best case scenario is that he’d just be some old white guy swinging around on vines, imagining himself to be unique in his hairlessness. This version of Tarzan would be like one of those hundred-year-old people mentioned occasionally on the news, who always credit their longevity to either eating healthily or smoking a lot. Can’t you just see his smug little wrinkley face, leaping around the trees like a geriatric tree frog?
Or maybe he dies at a younger age, of a preventable illness or a treatable injury. Apparently gorillas mourn, so he’d be guaranteed something like a funeral. That’d make a poignant short story – Jane and the rest of the human cast stumbling upon depressed gorillas and being spooked by the corpse they surround.
And what would a human in a gorilla community do with their life? Would they be praised for their talents or shunned as a freak? I could see the gorilla community sucking up to Tarzan as soon as they need his considerable intellect to deal with a novel predator and ignoring him entirely as soon as the problem is resolved.
What impact would total isolation from humanity have on his sexuality? All the Tarzan media I’ve seen presents the great man as explicitly heterosexual. How would he understand his own sexuality if he never met a human female? There’s also the disturbing implication that Tarzan may have gone into bestiality.
I reckon there’s a novel in this “Tarzan Isolated” scenario. It would be very difficult to monetize, given how protective Edgar Burroughs Inc is of their properties. Ideal author for such a project would be someone on the kookier side of the Literary genre, maybe Borges or David Eggers. Eggers could be great writing such a book.