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Old 04-16-2020, 03:43 PM   #31
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I did not find the inconclusive conclusion at all satisfying and so I read the “The Return of Tarzan” which continues the story. I should not have been surprised at the cliff-hanger quality because EBR does the same thing in the Barsoom series. “The Princess of Mars” leads directly to “The Gods of Mars” and finally concludes with “Warlords of Mars”. He then moves onto a different, but related, story arc with “ Thuvia of Mars”.
Thanks! So if I read the next one will I feel satisfied? I think you are saying that your take is that the third one will lead in a different arc so I need not feel I have to read that get closure.
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Old 04-16-2020, 04:14 PM   #32
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I'm not sure that Burroughs invented the story arc form, but he certainly was an early proponent! The Martian (Barsoom) books have the same behaviour, so I wasn't surprised. However, I still prefer the old, 1930's black and white Johnny Weissmuller movies.

Frankly, I didn't think this held up all that well, but then I don't have gmw's perspective of looking back on an old favourite. The racism was about what I'd expected, and no worse than typical for the time. I actually found the treatment of women far more difficult to stomach.
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Old 04-16-2020, 04:21 PM   #33
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This is the second book New Leaf has chosen that has too much racism. Can we please not nominate books with racism in them?
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Old 04-16-2020, 05:13 PM   #34
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So am I to understand that Jane reappears in the subsequent Tarzan books and the two marry (legally or otherwise)? Or was that just a movie invention?
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Old 04-16-2020, 06:05 PM   #35
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So am I to understand that Jane reappears in the subsequent Tarzan books and the two marry (legally or otherwise)? Or was that just a movie invention?
The answer is in the spoiler.

Spoiler:
As an eighteen-year-old young adult, Tarzan meets a young American woman, Jane Porter. She, her father, and others of their party are marooned on the same coastal jungle area where Tarzan's human parents were twenty years earlier. When Jane returns to the United States, Tarzan leaves the jungle in search of her, his one true love. In The Return of Tarzan, Tarzan and Jane marry. In later books he lives with her for a time in England. They have one son, Jack, who takes the ape name Korak ("the Killer"). Tarzan is contemptuous of what he sees as the hypocrisy of civilization, and he and Jane return to Africa, making their home on an extensive estate that becomes a base for Tarzan's later adventures.
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Old 04-16-2020, 06:14 PM   #36
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[...] In other words, I think that the success of the franchise continuation for the last 100 years has prevented even someone who has never read the book from approaching it with completely fresh eyes.
Yes, I think this is true. This is similar to the discussion of The Three Musketeers. What the story has become in the public eye is not quite the same as where it started, and pretty much no one can come to either story without having heard something of them.
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Old 04-16-2020, 06:37 PM   #37
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Thanks! So if I read the next one will I feel satisfied? I think you are saying that your take is that the third one will lead in a different arc so I need not feel I have to read that get closure.
In theory you should feel satisfied because what you didn't like about the first reaches a satisfactory conclusion in the second BUT if someone were to let slip
Spoiler:
that the villain of the second book returns in the third,
then you would be in essentially the same position as you were at the end of the first: knowing that something from the book is still to be resolved.

There are bits and pieces that reappear here and there through the books, like the lost city of Opar. (Well, no longer lost, I guess .) But each book is intended to be complete in its own right.
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Old 04-16-2020, 07:50 PM   #38
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The answer is in the spoiler.
Thanks.

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Originally Posted by gmw View Post
Yes, I think this is true. This is similar to the discussion of The Three Musketeers. What the story has become in the public eye is not quite the same as where it started, and pretty much no one can come to either story without having heard something of them.
True. But The Three Musketeers was a much greater disconnect between the reality of the original characters and their popular image; with Tarzan, I didn't feel that the basic character had morphed into something vastly different over the years.

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This is the second book New Leaf has chosen that has too much racism. Can we please not nominate books with racism in them?
Let's talk about the racism. Is the concern the depiction of the indigenous people, or the depiction of Esmeralda? About the former, I don't know what I think. About the latter, heck, she was funny, and I don't recall that the humor was intrinsically racist.

Or is it overall backdrop of white imperialism/white supremacy against which the story is told? But that's a reflection of the times.

I might not be sensitive enough to racism, but I am generally sensitive to misogyny, and I didn't have a major problem with the depiction of women, either, considering that the novel is more than a hundred years old.
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Old 04-17-2020, 11:45 AM   #39
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Let's talk about the racism. Is the concern the depiction of the indigenous people, or the depiction of Esmeralda? About the former, I don't know what I think. About the latter, heck, she was funny, and I don't recall that the humor was intrinsically racist.
The overall depiction of the indigenous people, I would say. But it's important to put it in the context of his depiction of the white people which was not exactly positive.

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Or is it overall backdrop of white imperialism/white supremacy against which the story is told? But that's a reflection of the times.
Agreed.
Quote:
I might not be sensitive enough to racism, but I am generally sensitive to misogyny, and I didn't have a major problem with the depiction of women, either, considering that the novel is more than a hundred years old.
Now here we disagree. I find it rather more than absolutely characteristic of the times. The women are helpless and essentially useless, and need to be protected. And while there were certainly plenty of books of the era that portrayed women as weaker, hysterical, and helpless, that was hardly universal. And, it's to be noted, the same attitude is shown in his Barsoom books.
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Old 04-17-2020, 07:29 PM   #40
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I didn’t have a problem with the treatment of women especially in the context of the time period. I thought Jane was pretty brave given the situation of being in the jungle all night after being kidnapped by Terkoz. I didn’t see her as being helpless but rather unprepared for the situations. I thought it was also good that she formed her own opinions about Tarzan and willing to speak up about him to the others about not being as savage as they thought, e.g. staying longer to wait for the French Captain’s return rather than set sail immediately. If I’m lost in the woods and need to survive, I’d be happy to have my husband there to defend me and take care of me because I know we have different skills in different scenarios. I’d probably be pretty hysterical too if I were deserted from my boat and trapped in the jungle and scared of wild animals. I don’t think Esmeralda’s antics were much different than women fainting and having fits in Regency and Victorian novels.
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Old 04-18-2020, 01:10 PM   #41
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I didn’t have a problem with the treatment of women especially in the context of the time period. I thought Jane was pretty brave given the situation of being in the jungle all night after being kidnapped by Terkoz. I didn’t see her as being helpless but rather unprepared for the situations. I thought it was also good that she formed her own opinions about Tarzan and willing to speak up about him to the others about not being as savage as they thought, e.g. staying longer to wait for the French Captain’s return rather than set sail immediately. If I’m lost in the woods and need to survive, I’d be happy to have my husband there to defend me and take care of me because I know we have different skills in different scenarios. I’d probably be pretty hysterical too if I were deserted from my boat and trapped in the jungle and scared of wild animals. I don’t think Esmeralda’s antics were much different than women fainting and having fits in Regency and Victorian novels.
What she said.

Jane seemed pretty brave and independent overall (just going on the expedition in the first place is brave). The men around her, though, seemed condescending and overly protective. She accepted their protection (why wouldn't she, in the middle of jungle?), but she didn't act helpless and fluttery, and she did stand up to them. Her decision not to marry Tarzan is practical and logical, not romantic. She's not letting her heart rule her head.

In contrast, Alice is depicted as much weaker and inept, but even she shows remarkable bravery in wanting to shoot the attacking ape. It's a low bar, but Jane is certainly a step up from pitiful, doomed Alice.
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Old 04-18-2020, 08:45 PM   #42
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[...] Then again, if ERB didn't want to go for the fairy-tale ending, I would rather have seen an ironic ending--Jane rejecting Tarzan because he's become too tame for her, no longer a beast but a milksop.

The ending we got, though, is just blah. Jane's being sensible and realistic, which is true to her nature, but Tarzan? This guy who's used to getting what he wants, who's traveled continents to reclaim his woman--he just gives up? He doesn't even TRY to convince Jane to run away with him? He HAS become a milksop.
I've been meaning to say thanks for this. I don't agree but I got a good chuckle - and I rather like the idea of the ironic ending.


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[...] In contrast, Alice is depicted as much weaker and inept, but even she shows remarkable bravery in wanting to shoot the attacking ape. It's a low bar, but Jane is certainly a step up from pitiful, doomed Alice.
Don't forget that Alice did save her husband before she fell apart.
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Old 04-19-2020, 02:21 AM   #43
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Maybe it’s the difference between male and female perspectives. I had the same reaction as Catlady to the ending. I was like really?!?!? I read through all that stuff in the jungle for that to be the ending?! The word milksop didn’t pop into my mind, but it’s basically how I felt.

However, I’ll add that I am still intrigued enough by the story-line to want to keep reading in the series. I’m glad we picked this book. I probably would not have read it on my own. Also I am interested in what others have said about the John Carter series which I did not know about.
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Old 04-19-2020, 03:46 AM   #44
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I am not sure if it's a male/female perspective or just a difference in expectation. If you come at this as a romance (in the modern sense) then the ending is obviously lacking*. But if you come at it as an adventure/thriller (a romance in the older sense) then the ending makes more sense**.

* The meme (the protagonists being too noble/proud/selfless to think of asking each other what they actually want as opposed to what they think is right) is common enough in romance (modern sense again), but usually as an inciting incident in the story (start or middle). To see it used as a reason for protagonists not getting together at the end is that much more of a discord if a modern romantic conclusion is expected.

** But the other way of looking at it is the heroic romance (older sense), where the hero selflessly sacrifices himself for what he perceives is the greater good. This works for an adventure you want left open to continue.


As to John Carter ... it's been a long while since I last read them, but I remember enjoying them. I think it worth noting that Michael Moorcock wrote a few books as a tribute to Burroughs' John Carter stories. They are, in essence, I slightly more modern (1965) variation of Burroughs' stories. Moorcock's protagonist is called Michael Kane, and the three books are: Warriors of Mars (aka The City of the Beast), Blades of Mars (aka Lord of the Spiders) and Barbarians of Mars (aka Masters of the Pit). I found them good fun, rather short, fast and furious.

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Old 04-19-2020, 03:10 PM   #45
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Maybe it’s the difference between male and female perspectives. I had the same reaction as Catlady to the ending. I was like really?!?!? I read through all that stuff in the jungle for that to be the ending?! The word milksop didn’t pop into my mind, but it’s basically how I felt.
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I am not sure if it's a male/female perspective or just a difference in expectation. If you come at this as a romance (in the modern sense) then the ending is obviously lacking*. But if you come at it as an adventure/thriller (a romance in the older sense) then the ending makes more sense**.

* The meme (the protagonists being too noble/proud/selfless to think of asking each other what they actually want as opposed to what they think is right) is common enough in romance (modern sense again), but usually as an inciting incident in the story (start or middle). To see it used as a reason for protagonists not getting together at the end is that much more of a discord if a modern romantic conclusion is expected.

** But the other way of looking at it is the heroic romance (older sense), where the hero selflessly sacrifices himself for what he perceives is the greater good. This works for an adventure you want left open to continue.
I tend to agree with gmw that it's expectation rather than gender. I expected Jane to be more important in the story--I kept waiting for her to appear because popular culture has linked Tarzan and Jane. Which doesn't necessarily mean linked as passionate romantic couple, but still a pair (Superman and Lois? Batman and Robin? Butch and Sundance?).

Once she did appear, it was extremely annoying to have her disappear again--I thought that was the weakest and most boring part of the book. It just dragged, with all the details about the traveling and digging up the treasure and language lessons and especially the gratuitous killing of the lion.* Who cares about all that? What I wanted to know was how he reacted to seeing other white women, how he adapted to civilization, and how his perception of Jane might have changed.**

I could have bought into the "selfless hero" trope if there'd been more groundwork laid for it, and/or more angst. Tarzan has been completely single-minded throughout when he has a goal, and Jane is his goal. Then he just abandons his quest. A hero can't just abandon his quest!

*Regarding lions--what's with Sabor? Tarrzan killed her and skinned her, and then later here comes Sabor again (I think he killed her again, but I'm not sure now). I was listening to the audiobook and thought I must have misheard, or maybe it was supposed to be the apes' name for "lion," but I checked the text and it was capitalized as a name. So why the reappearance?

**Since no one's gone there yet, I will admit that I spent some time wondering about Tarzan's sex life, especially before Jane. Obviously ERB wasn't going to go there, but wouldn't adult readers, at least have wondered? Or do I need to get my mind out of the gutter?
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