Tarzan swung into my life, somewhere in the 70s, via comics.
|From Jim, the Photographer, flickr.com/photos/jcapaldi/8704686203/in/photostream/|
Though these gave me some inkling of the highlights of the apeman’s life, it was only when I introduced my son to Edgar rice Burroughs that I, perhaps, gained more information. It was also in the days when my son was a little boy that I saw my first Tarzan film.
My main takeaway from the Tarzan stories, though, remains how Tarzan learns to read. This fact of the legend is, in fact, the theme/title and more of many erudite papers!
Here is a little boy, alone in the wilderness, surrounded by all that remains of his parent’s belongings. This ‘Mowgli’ proceeds to teach himself to read. And, later, to write! Anyway, read it for yourself in Tarzan of the Apes.
Food nourishes the body. Books feed the mind. With this in mind, I often look back at books I have read when young and what they fed in me. Books shape the outlook and, to a certain extent, I ought to admit that the Mowgli/Tarzan/Phantom tropes worked/work to form my reactions to the world. I refuse to say further because, though books might be construed as endorsing this or that, it is the worse crime to condemn books on the basis of such and such bias in the author.
Just as books take us into diverse times/spaces, ‘real’ or fantasy, in the course of a reading we also cruise through inner worlds. And this space is necessarily organic, biological, hormonal and more that is, sometimes, not hygienic or palatable to all/some of us at various points in time. It is a complex relationship and the more profitable move would be to let books be. They are like travelogues and will give us all a diversity of perspectives. Such diversity is good for survival.
That said, I endorse Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan, along with his other fantasy works, as worthy of being read.
My latest encounter remains the latest film.
This winter gift someone a great read