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Old 04-19-2020, 04:57 PM   #46
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I thought the multiple Sabor references was confusing too. I interpreted it to be the generic word for "lion." I guess they didn't differentiate by individual names for these other animal types like they did for themselves within their tribe.
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Old 04-19-2020, 04:59 PM   #47
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A quick search and I found this Wikipedia explanation. It also discusses how it was originally meant to be tiger as mentioned earlier in the discussion.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabor_(Tarzan)

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Sabor is a generic name for lionesses (originally tigers) in Mangani, the fictional language of the great apes in the Tarzan novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs. In Burroughs' works several lionesses appear under the name of Sabor. In the Disney animated movie Tarzan, Sabor is a term for leopards, more specifically the leopard that killed Tarzan's parents.
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Old 04-19-2020, 05:34 PM   #48
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**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?
Heh. You DID ask:
"Tarzan's First Love". Tarzan's courtship of the female ape Teeka ends in failure when her preference turns to their mutual friend, the male ape Taug. Tarzan wrestles with his humanness versus his ape-ness. The allusion to Helen of Troy enriches the story, making Tarzan and Taug's fight over Teeka take on symbolic proportions. Stan Galloway writes: "when Burroughs chooses to name Helen as an objective correlative for Teeka, he expects both literal and emotional connections to occur."[5] Tarzan's final claim of the story -- "Tarzan is a man. He will go alone."[6]—echoes the plight of Adam in the Garden of Eden.
That's from the Wikipedia article about "Jungle Tales of Tarzan", the sixth book, a short story collection.
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Old 04-19-2020, 05:43 PM   #49
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He was confused about his true-birth mother and his biological makeup so I guess it makes sense that he courted a female ape. He learned concepts of love and hate from his relationships within the ape tribe and with other wild animals. I thought maybe he learned additional concepts of romance from the books that he read in the cabin.
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Old 04-20-2020, 01:56 AM   #50
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[...] **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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He was confused about his true-birth mother and his biological makeup so I guess it makes sense that he courted a female ape. He learned concepts of love and hate from his relationships within the ape tribe and with other wild animals. I thought maybe he learned additional concepts of romance from the books that he read in the cabin.
When I was a kid I did not have access to Jungle Tales of Tarzan, mentioned by Calenorn above, so when I finally did get to it I remember being surprised. I had always assumed his sex life was constrained by same reasoning given for not eating human flesh: "All he knew was that he could not eat the flesh of this black man, and thus hereditary instinct, ages old, usurped the functions of his untaught mind and saved him from transgressing a worldwide law of whose very existence he was ignorant."

I'm not saying the hereditary thing is convincing (maybe about as convincing as how much he learned - without help - from the books in the cabin ), but once you accept it for one thing, using it to explain away a few other troublesome details barely makes you blink.
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Old 04-20-2020, 01:49 PM   #51
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I thought the multiple Sabor references was confusing too. I interpreted it to be the generic word for "lion." I guess they didn't differentiate by individual names for these other animal types like they did for themselves within their tribe.
I interpreted it as just plain dumb. He didn't say "the sabor"; he said Sabor. Plus I believe the descriptions were the same--an old, wily lioness.

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A quick search and I found this Wikipedia explanation. It also discusses how it was originally meant to be tiger as mentioned earlier in the discussion.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabor_(Tarzan)
Thanks. I still think it was dumb.

Last edited by Catlady; 04-20-2020 at 04:48 PM.
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Old 04-20-2020, 04:47 PM   #52
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Heh. You DID ask:
"Tarzan's First Love". Tarzan's courtship of the female ape Teeka ends in failure when her preference turns to their mutual friend, the male ape Taug. Tarzan wrestles with his humanness versus his ape-ness. The allusion to Helen of Troy enriches the story, making Tarzan and Taug's fight over Teeka take on symbolic proportions. Stan Galloway writes: "when Burroughs chooses to name Helen as an objective correlative for Teeka, he expects both literal and emotional connections to occur."[5] Tarzan's final claim of the story -- "Tarzan is a man. He will go alone."[6]—echoes the plight of Adam in the Garden of Eden.
That's from the Wikipedia article about "Jungle Tales of Tarzan", the sixth book, a short story collection.
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He was confused about his true-birth mother and his biological makeup so I guess it makes sense that he courted a female ape. He learned concepts of love and hate from his relationships within the ape tribe and with other wild animals. I thought maybe he learned additional concepts of romance from the books that he read in the cabin.
That short story sounds just ... awkward. I'm not talking about love, though, but about sex. Not that I know what the mating habits of apes are that Tarzan would have grown up around.

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When I was a kid I did not have access to Jungle Tales of Tarzan, mentioned by Calenorn above, so when I finally did get to it I remember being surprised. I had always assumed his sex life was constrained by same reasoning given for not eating human flesh: "All he knew was that he could not eat the flesh of this black man, and thus hereditary instinct, ages old, usurped the functions of his untaught mind and saved him from transgressing a worldwide law of whose very existence he was ignorant."

I'm not saying the hereditary thing is convincing (maybe about as convincing as how much he learned - without help - from the books in the cabin ), but once you accept it for one thing, using it to explain away a few other troublesome details barely makes you blink.
As to not eating human flesh, Tarzan had a choice--he had other options available to him so he wasn't going to starve by being fastidious. But when it came to sex? His options were limited.

Going back to the racism issue--I didn't remember this before, but the indigenous tribe were cannibals; white boy Tarzan, though, had magically developed scruples against eating human flesh by virtue of his superior heredity.

The learning from books in the cabin was hard to believe. I can accept the deciphering of patterns of letters as names for pictured items, but I don't know how you get from that to abstract concepts without help.
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Old 04-20-2020, 09:48 PM   #53
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[...] Going back to the racism issue--I didn't remember this before, but the indigenous tribe were cannibals; white boy Tarzan, though, had magically developed scruples against eating human flesh by virtue of his superior heredity. [...]
I still come back to thinking this was more about class prejudices than racism. The book a few times highlights the savagery of the white sailors, which Tarzan compares unfavourably to his animal companions. And also this previously quoted line: "To add to the fiendishness of their cruel savagery was the poignant memory of still crueler barbarities practiced upon them and theirs by the white officers of that arch hypocrite, Leopold II of Belgium, because of whose atrocities they had fled the Congo Free State—a pitiful remnant of what once had been a mighty tribe."

Another line emphasising Tarzan's superior breeding: "It was a stately and gallant little compliment performed with the grace and dignity of utter unconsciousness of self. It was the hall-mark of his aristocratic birth, the natural outcropping of many generations of fine breeding, an hereditary instinct of graciousness which a lifetime of uncouth and savage training and environment could not eradicate."

The book places much emphasis of the importance of his noble birth - so not racism as such, or so it seems to me, just: everyone else is crap except those of noble birth. Although, as I noted earlier, there are a few places where individual difference is allowed to creep in as a force separate to breeding.
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Old 04-21-2020, 10:08 AM   #54
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I still come back to thinking this was more about class prejudices than racism. The book a few times highlights the savagery of the white sailors, which Tarzan compares unfavourably to his animal companions. And also this previously quoted line: "To add to the fiendishness of their cruel savagery was the poignant memory of still crueler barbarities practiced upon them and theirs by the white officers of that arch hypocrite, Leopold II of Belgium, because of whose atrocities they had fled the Congo Free State—a pitiful remnant of what once had been a mighty tribe."

Another line emphasising Tarzan's superior breeding: "It was a stately and gallant little compliment performed with the grace and dignity of utter unconsciousness of self. It was the hall-mark of his aristocratic birth, the natural outcropping of many generations of fine breeding, an hereditary instinct of graciousness which a lifetime of uncouth and savage training and environment could not eradicate."

The book places much emphasis of the importance of his noble birth - so not racism as such, or so it seems to me, just: everyone else is crap except those of noble birth. Although, as I noted earlier, there are a few places where individual difference is allowed to creep in as a force separate to breeding.
Sure, you can say it's class not race, but it's a distinction without much of a difference. Only white people are of noble birth. And the white people who aren't part of the aristocracy (e.g., Jane and the other Americans, the Frenchmen) are still mostly depicted as superior; the exceptions are the sailors who mutiny and King Leopold's Belgians--I did note with some surprise that indictment of them to explain the tribe's savagery.

I forgot about Black Michael as being another specific, named non-white character; he's kind of a mixed bag, as he is honorable enough to protect John and Alice, but doesn't arrange for their rescue.

I'm backtracking on my earlier assertion about the racism not seeming too problematic for the times.
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Old 04-21-2020, 10:24 AM   #55
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I didn't remember this before, but the indigenous tribe were cannibals...
In fairness, ONE of the indigenous tribes was portrayed as cannibalistic. Tarzan eventually allies himself with other, rather noble indigenous tribes.

A repeated theme in these stories is Tarzan, the supposed savage, revealing the ruthlessness and heartless cruelty of 'civilization'.
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Old 04-21-2020, 11:12 AM   #56
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[...] I forgot about Black Michael as being another specific, named non-white character; he's kind of a mixed bag, as he is honorable enough to protect John and Alice, but doesn't arrange for their rescue. [...]
There is a possible defence for Black Michael, it's given a bit earlier in the first chapter:
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Two months after they weighed anchor and cleared from the port of Freetown a half dozen British war vessels were scouring the south Atlantic for trace of them or their little vessel, and it was almost immediately that the wreckage was found upon the shores of St. Helena which convinced the world that the Fuwalda had gone down with all on board, and hence the search was stopped ere it had scarce begun; though hope lingered in longing hearts for many years.
So we might presume the mutinous crew all drowned and Black Michael never got his chance to do the honourable thing. (Or we might presume this was staged to make the world think they had drowned.)
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Old 04-21-2020, 11:47 AM   #57
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We just don't know what happened with Black Michael. All we can do is make assumptions.
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Old 04-21-2020, 12:14 PM   #58
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In fairness, ONE of the indigenous tribes was portrayed as cannibalistic. Tarzan eventually allies himself with other, rather noble indigenous tribes.

A repeated theme in these stories is Tarzan, the supposed savage, revealing the ruthlessness and heartless cruelty of 'civilization'.
I don't know if that comes through in this first book. There's the line about Leopold, but I'm not remembering anything in particular that indicates the evil of supposedly civilized people, especially the people that Tarzan interacts with.

Okay, there's the mutineer who shoots another mutineer in the back--Tarzan sees that, I think--but are there other examples that could be called really ruthless and heartless--worse than the savagery of the jungle, which is pretty darn savage!
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Old 04-21-2020, 12:18 PM   #59
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There is a possible defence for Black Michael, it's given a bit earlier in the first chapter: So we might presume the mutinous crew all drowned and Black Michael never got his chance to do the honourable thing. (Or we might presume this was staged to make the world think they had drowned.)
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We just don't know what happened with Black Michael. All we can do is make assumptions.
I was originally going to add that we don't know if Black Michael did or didn't keep his word, but figured saying his character was a mixed bag was sufficient. I did not remember the detail about the possible drowning.
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Old 04-21-2020, 12:45 PM   #60
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I don't know if that comes through in this first book. There's the line about Leopold, but I'm not remembering anything in particular that indicates the evil of supposedly civilized people, especially the people that Tarzan interacts with.
To be honest, the books all sort of run together in my memory. I remember Arab slavers frequently appearing as villains. Western treasure hunters, attempting to exploit the jungle in various ways, are also a common trope.

In later books, Tarzan often isn't the protagonist. There's frequently a decent bloke who finds himself in bad company, and (of course) a damsel in distress. Tarzan serves as deus ex machina, swooping in like an avenging angel to ensure that all get their due.
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