Appendix N Challenge: Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Appendix N doesn’t actually mention Tarzan, so I’m cheating a bit here…but as I’m going to be reading the Pellucidar series as well as the tales of Mars I hope you’ll allow me a little leeway. Tarzan just happened to be at the front of Burroughs collected works and so I read it first.
A couple of weeks back I had the pleasure, and it was a pleasure to share the Disney version of Tarzan with my Lil Bud, which she found enjoyable but, and I’m quoting here ‘not as good as Tangled’. I wonder how she’d have felt if the studio had done an accurate take on the story? Still, we’ve incorporated Tarzan into the make believe games she loves so much.

He even kicked Gastons’ arse when he tried to steal Princess Jasmin. Yeah, we play fast and loose with the Disney Canon here at Chez McSmith, it’s just how we roll.

Back to Tarzan. Again, this was a story that I finished in an evening, having started shortly after my wife finished work. The story flew along, with each step along the path as inevitable as the last, once you got into the mindset of Tarzan as a man freed from the shackles of civilization. Burroughs knew how to paint pictures in the cinema of the skull, and I found myself there alongside the characters, completely drawn into the world that he’d created.

A quick thought on the language. It’s not dated, it’s of its time and there’s a difference. The current assumption that we, here in the 21st century, are somehow superior in our writing style is the height of arrogance. Want proof? Shakespeare. 400+ years and no-one has yet to have more impact on literature.

And…back in the room. Warning, Spoilers ahead.

Tarzan reinforced a view of masculinity that is out of fashion now. Honest, loyal and brave, where the head heart and body are used in conjunction without any being considered superior. Friendship and doing the right thing are applauded while cowardice and evil are punished, this is a story I can’t wait to read to Little Buddy when she hits school. There is just so much in here that is anathema to today’s culture I can see why Hollywood has to make changes.

Tarzan puts saving a friend ahead of rushing back to the girl he loves. He gives away a fortune that he could have kept for himself. He gives away his title and with it any chance of marriage to Jane, despite having just saved her from certain death and as well as a marriage to a cad. Why? Because he does what is right, not what is easy. I can’t remember the last time I saw those virtues reflected in a blockbuster.

I could go on and on, but Lil Buddy has finished her snack and wants to paint pictures. Time for some jungle scenes I think.

Thanks for reading and take care



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