Friday, May 28, 2010

"and smiles are the foundation of beauty."

I went to a used bookstore last week with Karina May. Definitely one of my new favorite activities. Anyways, I found this copy of Tarzan and bought it to see if Disney got it right. It's different than the movie. But good. I can see how this story is definitely an adventure story enjoyable for any young child, minus some hunting scenes. I included some quotes to show you how perfect Tarzan is. He has everything. He was raised in the jungle, so he can fight anything with teeth. He teaches himself how to read and write in English, but he can't speak it. He is the son of an English lord and lady, so that of course, has a major impact on his upbringing among the apes. ;) Later on in the story, he saves a French soldier from cannibalistic savages and he teaches him how to speak french. Tarzan has beautiful hair! Mah, this was a fun read. Especially considering when Burroughs wrote it at the beginning of the 20th century. (1912 ish) So women are women: gentle, fainting types who need to be protected. Men are either bad such as illiterate sailors or cannibalistic savages or good: i.e. Tarzan other white, aristocratic, educated men. Very cut and dried and fast to read.


"Though but ten years old he was fully as strong as the average man of thirty, and far more agile than the most practiced athlete ever becomes. And day by day his strength was increasing." pg 35

"At eighteen he read fluently and understood nearly all he read in the many and varied volumes on the shelves. Also could he write, with printed letters, rapidly and plainly." pg 63

"The young Lord Greystoke was indeed a strange and warlike figure, his mass of black hair falling to his shoulders behind and cut with his hunting knife to a rude bang upon his forehead, that it might not fall before his eyes. His straight and perfect figure, muscled as the best of the ancient Roman gladiators must have been muscled, and yet with the soft and sinuous curves of a Greek god, told at a glance the wondrous combination of enormous strength with suppleness and speed." pg 97

"But the girl, ah--that was a different matter. He did not reason here. He knew that she was created to be protected and that he was created to protect her." pg 134

"It seemed to him that no pleasure on earth could compare with laboring for the welfare and protection of the beautiful white girl." pg 147

"(after Tarzan saves Jane from another ape) it was a primeval woman who sprang froward with outstretched arms toward the primeval man who had fought for her and won her." pg 156

"It was the hall-mark of his aristocratic birth, the natural outcropping of many generations of fine breeding, an hereditary instinct of graciousness which a lifetime of uncouth and savage training and environment could not eradicate." pg 168.

Other things:
At one point or another in the book, everyone but Tarzan faints. Even other men. Granted, said men were under great deals of pain and stress, but still. Come on, be a man.
Tarzan gets shot, IN THE HEAD, and still lives. He is attacked by no less than 3 apes/gorillas and lives to tell the tale. And kills a lot of lions and such along the way. Basically he is invincible.
*Even though he does survive impracticable odds, he does suffer from wounds and stuff. At least, that makes him a little more like us mere mortals.
I appreciate that Edgar Rice Burroughs makes an effort to emphasize that it is man's intellect and reason and education that sets him apart from other animals.
Apparently, one only need centuries of pure-blooded aristocratic lineage to survive growing up in the jungle because OF COURSE your heritage has a definite impact on your personality and intelligence. Nature vs. Nurture, don't cha know.
In other words (despite a few obvious flaws in mannerism) Tarzan is perfect.
The end.

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