Grumpy Bird Reviews: Tarzan of the Apes (novel)

Sometimes I forgot that certain classic novels exist and that they can actually be read. That is certainly the case with. Tarzan of the Apes. Tarzan lives so large in pop culture that I just kind of assumed I’d read it until I realized I didn’t.

Tarzan of the Apes

Author: Edgar Roce Burroughs

1912

Quick Review: When this novel is at its best it is a fantasic adventure story. When this story is at its worst it wreaks of racism. That is a pretty big gap. Overall I enjoyed but there were certain descriptions that would not fly with a modern telling.

Analysis: Let’s get the bad out of the way. Every appearance of the minor character felt like a minstrel show. It is painful to read. Also, the description and use of “black savages” was also not the easiest part to get through. It is one thing when commented on by the characters but not as nice when the narrator chimes in. I’ll admit, this being my first reading of Burroughs, it did make me curious as to his thoughts on race.

Although, near the end of the novel Tarzan, our pinnacle of man, directly says that it is the individidual and not the group that should be judged. Admittedly this was used to describe the ways of hunting lions, so it might not be the message of equality we would like, but I’ll take what I can get.

As for the story itself, yeah, I liked it. I did enjoy it a bit more when it was just Tarzan in the jungle dealing with nature. Once more of mankind came up they brought their baggage with them and that slowed down the story even as it gave it its main plot.

Wrap Up: I’m torn. There were parts I enjoyed and parts, not so much. I was hoping this would give me a few new novels to enjoy but I am less excited to read part 2 even though this can be said to end on a cliffhanger.


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