Superman or Tarzan?

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Crash Test Dummies music video “Superman’s Song” from their 1991 debut album “The Ghosts That Haunt Me”.
Written by Brad Roberts

Tarzan wasn’t a ladies’ man
He’d just come along and scoop ’em up under his arm
Like that, quick as a cat in the jungle
But Clark Kent now there was a real gent
He would not be caught sittin’ around in no
Junglescape, dumb as an ape doing nothing

Supermen never made any money
For saving the world from Solomon Grundy
And sometimes I despair the world will never see
Another man like him

Hey Bob, Supe had a straight job
Even though he could have smashed through any bank
In the United States, he had the strength, but he would not
Folks said his family were all dead
Their planet crumbled but Superman, he forced himself
To carry on, forget Krypton, and keep going

Tarzan was king of the jungle and Lord over all the apes
But he could hardly string together four words: “I Tarzan, You Jane. ”

Sometimes when Supe was stopping crimes
I’ll bet that he was tempted to just quit and turn his back
On man, join Tarzan in the forest
But he stayed in the city, and kept on changing clothes
In dirty old phonebooths till his work was through
And nothing to do but go on home

I. Responding to the Song:

  1. Use words or phrases to from the song lyrics to describe Tarzan and Superman. Which character, if any, do you think the songwriter, Brad Roberts, respects the most?
  2. When you think of these two characters, what images come to mind? Do your images match those of the songwriter?
  3. Why is Superman trying to save the “world from Solomon Grundy”?
  4. Why would Superman be tempted to stop what he’s doing and “join Tarzan in the jungle”?
  5. Are Superman and Tarzan symbols for types of people? If so, what might they symbolize?
  6. Which character, if any, would you rather be? Explain.

II. Writing a Short Story
Which superhero would you rather be, Superman or Tarzan? Explain. Develop your answer to this question into a short story, told in the first person, about your experiences as Tarzan or Superman for a day.

III. Presenting a Song:
Work with a partener or small group to plan a reading of another song.

  • First choose the song. Think about how you will read it to the class so the meaning is clear.
  • Practise reading the song, working together to read it effectively. Focus on tone, volume, gestures, and emphasis to use as you read the lyrics. Discuss how reading a song is different from singing it.
  • Record your reading with Garageband, save it as an mp3 and share it via your blog. What elements of your recording were most effective?

Consider the following:
Focus Questions: Decisions Crime and Punishment
Superman @ wikipedia
Tarzan @ wikipedia
How to punctuate dialogue correctly

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