Tarzan! The mostly naked, vine swinging, yodeling, muscle guy is still one of the best-known literary characters in the world!
For over a century, the Tarzan stories by Edgar Rice Burroughs have been entertaining millions of readers as well as movie-goers and TV watchers the world over. The “Tarzan” stories can surely be considered true classics, beyond just the science-fiction and fantasy genre.
Beginning with “Tarzan of the Apes,” published in 1912, we meet Tarzan as the infant Lord John Clayton orphaned in the wilds of Africa, and is adopted and raised by primates. It is in this first book of the series we learn how Lord John becomes Tarzan, a man who defies all the conventions of what was (and still is) considered to be the hallmarks of civilization.
This origin story of Tarzan also introduces us to his first encounter with humans, seeing the humans killing his jungle kin and his decision to avenge the death. However, it is his meeting the unforgettable Jane and his soon-to-be friend D’Arnot that forever alters his destiny.
Tarzan symbolizes the essence of every man … the primal male that is forever being forced to fit into the mores of daily social culture and relationships to what is regarded as normal and surviving it to the best of his abilities.
His following 23 adventures take him to places all over the planet (and sometime inside it!), where he encounters foes both familiar and exotic.
Of course, being written so long ago, some of the content challenges some of today’s cultural standards and yet the same arguments have been made of the classic works of Mark Twain, Arthur Conan Doyle, or even the Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys series.
With such wild excitement, you really can’t go wrong!
Ed and Cynthia Justus are owners of The Bookstore in Hanapepe.