Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Title: Tarzan of the Apes
Author: Edgar Rice Burroughs
Pages: 304 pages
Publication: 1912
Source: ebook from the library
Links: goodreads

In 1888 Lord and Lady Clayton sail from England to fill a military post in British West Africa and perish at the edge of a primeval forest. When their infant son is adopted by fanged “great anthropoid apes,” he becomes one of the most legendary figures in all of literature—Tarzan of the Apes. Within the society of speechless primates, Tarzan wields his natural influence and becomes king. Self-educated by virtue of his parents’ library, Tarzan discovers true civilization when he rescues aristocratic Jane Porter from the perils of his jungle. Their famous romance, which pits Tarzan’s lifetime of savagery against Jane’s genteel nature, has captivated audiences for nearly a century.
I recently read Tarzan of the Apes for my Project Disney that was based off the animation Tarzan. I did really enjoy this book.. until about the last part and then I kind of skimmed it.  I love reading classics and this one was good.  The story is basically about a couple who gets left on an island by some pirates.  While there they have a baby, but the parents die.  So there is a female ape who just lost her baby and so when the apes discover the hut of the humans she finds Tarzan and adopts him.  It is a beautiful love story between her and Tarzan and just goes to show that love is love.

Tarzan is raised by these apes and learns the ways of the forest.  The first half of the book is him in the jungle killing lions and fighting with the head apes.  These apes are not a real breed they are much smarter then real apes. Tarzan learns how to hunt and comes across some natives whom he plays tricks on.  Which I thought was great to read about because it showed that Tarzan has human nature despite being raised by the apes.  During this time Tarzan does find the hut of the people who died (his parents though he does not know this).  He teaches himself to read from the books and papers he finds in the hut.

The second half of the book is more about when the other white humans land on the island and are trying to find a rumored treasure.  This party of people include the famous Jane Porter.  She is swept away by Tarzan even though he can't speak to her (he can only write at this time.. cannot speak English). Tarzan actually saves the group of people several times. The third part of the book is Tarzan becoming more civilized and going to America to find Jane.  Whom by the way (spoiler).. does not en up with Tarzan and that really irks me.   I enjoy the first two parts of the book.. the last part not so much. When Tarzan becomes civilized it just happens so fast.

There is also a lot of issues in this book that is very dated.  There is racism and bigotry that is just not acceptable today. Turns out there are a few books in Tarzan's series.  I am not really interested in continuing in the series though I am curious what does happen to Tarzan in the US since the book really just ends with the rejection from Jane. Yes.. the book ends in Wisconsin at a train station.  Not the ending I was expecting.

I enjoyed this book and would recommend it as a classic to read.

The Crystal Ball says:




Clouds are covering! A read that lets me down every now and then but peaks out of the clouds!

23 comments:

  1. I recently re-watched the animated version was quickly reminded why it is not one of my favorite Disney movies. I've always been curious about the books as I grew up watching some of the live action movies as a kid. Wonder why Burroughs ended the book in Wisconsin. That seems so odd!

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  2. It's interesting that I can have such a strong idea of a story and it not be at all how it goes - I'm shocked that Jane rejects Tarzan, although I suppose it does make sense somewhat. I think I'll just stick to the Disney version for this - especially with the racism and bigotry in this novel.

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  3. I read this years ago in HS and enjoyed it, but yeah the third part didn't really fit with the rest of the book.

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  4. What do you mean Jane and Tarzan don't end up together?? I think I like the Disney ending much better! I'm curious about where the story goes from the train station in Wisconsin though. I think I kind of knew there was a book but I definitely didn't know there was a series.

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  5. If I remember right Tarzan and Jane do end up together in the second book- the second one is better I think in some ways, there's a lost city and some other cool stuff like that. I read some of these as a kid, although not all. I generally liked the John Carter books better as far as ERB's stuff goes, and yes these are dated- kind ahrd to read nowadays.

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  6. While late to the party I still want to say I've read most of the Tarzan books and enjoyed them all. They get better as they go on. I think y favorite was the son of Tarzan.Matt @ JC's Book Haven.

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  7. I still can't get over that ending, especially not once you say how it actually ends. That's just... gosh, that's just really a strange idea, for what the movie became. Does she get on the train and actually leave him just standing on the train station?
    My other idea is that the other books either involve Jane coming back for him or Tarzan returning to the jungle. I don't know how I would feel about either, and currently? I don't think I plan on reading this.

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  8. I think I agree with Charlene - given the racism and bigotry, I'll stick with the Disney movie. The story itself certainly has staying power, though!

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  9. I miss reading the PD books! We need to catch up and soon!

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  10. I've always wondered about this book as my knowledge begins (and ends) with "You'll be in my heart". Despite the fact that it ends in my home state of Wisconsin, I'm not sure how invested I would be, but it sounds interesting and enjoyed reading your review -- thanks.

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  11. I liked it... though it is an old fashioned book so you have to be ready for that.

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  12. I need to watch a live action movie of this. I was actually just recently thinking about that. I just wish we knew more of what happens to Tarzan in America. This book doesn't go that far into detail.

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  13. I was shocked too about Jane and Tarzan. I had NO idea. None. I always guess I just went off the Disney version. Though I think a lot of people do that with quite a few Disney movies. We just consider their retelling to be the true story.

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  14. I agree... the third part was a little off to me.

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  15. I didn't know it was a series either. Especially since in the time it was written there weren't very many series written. I think most of the books were stand alone. I just wanted to know what happened!!

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  16. Oh that is kind of neat to know about the second book. Especially the lost city. Only because I couldn't imagine where the story would go in America. I mean... he's Tarzan!!!

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  17. Good to hear that a few comments here mention that they liked the other books in the series. I was so unsure of them. I have enjoyed reading about the basis of different Disney movies. It's been a lot of fun.

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  18. I bet Jane does go back to Tarzan (which someone did mention above). I would hope so. They way they had insta-love on that jungle island I mean come on!!!

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  19. Yes.. there is racism and bigotry. I don't know... I guess that is a product of it's time. I mean... there is a picture of my father when he was a very young boy in boy scouts in black face. The whole troop did it. I am not married to a black person and my dad loves him. Again... just how generations acted. Sad to us now a days.

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  20. LOL! I am almost done! I only have I think 2 or three more.

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  21. Disney's movie is much much better. I also just love the music in it. But I am not sure if this is the greatest book of all time.

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  22. It is sad, especially where it is still going on, but you're right that it's also changing.

    But racism isn't in and of itself a reason not to read a book. It depends, I think, on the book, and on its other redeeming factors. Both Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn have scenes or elements that are racist, but they also have a lot of wonderful scenes, and a lot that children and adults can learn from them. I'm not in favor of removing those books from school libraries, reading lists, and curricula. Instead, I would use them to spark discussion about race and racism (says the former teacher.) The same is true of some other classic books and films - take what is good and use what's not (racism, sexism) to spark thought and discussion.

    I guess what's different for me about the Tarzan novels is that I personally don't have that much interest in reading them to begin with. Given that, for me it's not worth dealing with the racism inherent in the books.

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