John and Alice (Rutherford) Clayton, Viscount and Lady Greystoke from England, are marooned in the western coastal jungles of equatorial Africa in 1888. Some time later, their son John Clayton II 3] is born. When he is one year old his mother dies, and soon thereafter his father is killed by the savage king ape Kerchak. The infant is then adopted by the she-ape Kala. Clayton is named "Tarzan" ("White Skin" in the ape language) and raised in ignorance of his human heritage. As a boy, feeling alienated from his peers due to their physical differences, he discovers his true parents' cabin, where he first learns of others like himself in their books. Using basic primers with pictures, over many years he teaches himself to read English, but having never heard it, cannot speak it.