The Return of Tarzan is great because it employs the classic Austin-istic narrative device of ending the rollicking jungle-city-desert-nautical adventure with a double wedding! Having read The Return of Tarzan on my Kindle, I was captivated by seeing which passages other readers have publicly highlighted. Upon seeing a highlighted quote, many questions come to mind such as: who is this person? What has happened in their life that they feel the need to read and reread these specific sentences? Where are they now? Are they doing okay? Join me now in examining some of the highlights found in The Return of Tarzan.
9 Highlights, page 8, portrait of a villain:
“To say Nikolas Rokoff is a devil would be to place a wanton affront upon his satanic majesty.”
Hmmm. We can observe here a rookie highlighting mistake. Nine jumpy individuals having reached page 8 began to feel antsy that there has been nothing highlighted yet and are therefore easily distracted by this undeniably subtle bit of character development. Probably students of some sort: try better next time!
13 highlights, page 11, Tarzan’s soliloquy:
“Cheating, murdering, lying, fighting and all for things that the beasts of the jungle would not deign to possess – money to purchase the effeminate pleasures of weaklings. And yet withal bound down by silly customs that make them slaves to their unhappy lot while firm in the belief that they be the lords of creation enjoying the only pleasures of existence. In the jungle one would scarcely stand supinely aside while another took his mate. It is a silly world, and idiotic world, and Tarzan of the Apes was a fool to renounce the freedom and the happiness of his jungle to come into it.”
Here we go, this is getting better, digging into the crux of Tarzan. Tarzan, the manliest man in existence, flexing his rippling muscles, straining under his shirt, dropping the jaws of both other men and women alike, just doesn’t fit in with the girly men of civilisation. That means you reader! Go and do some squats and run naked into the jungle, only then are you a man worthy of respect.
11 highlights, page 16, Tarzan on his situation in Paris and men in general:
“I see no worth in man or beast that is not theirs by virtue of their own mental or physical prowess.”
For some reason 11 people needed reminding of this point from 5 pages ago. For Tarzan you’ve got to prove yourself in the moment, you own it, you better never let to go. You’ve only got one-shot do not miss your chance to blow, this opportunity comes once in a lifetime, yo. So probably go and do some more squats.
21 highlights, page 16, Tarzan’s Ape-Momma:
“‘To you, my friend, she would have appeared a hideous and ugly creature, but to me she was beautiful – so gloriously does love transfigure its object.’”
21 happy mothers received this passage scrawled within 21 mothers’ day cards. Just to remind you, she ain’t ugly, she’s my mother.
20 highlights, page 25, Tarzan on women (and a bit more):
“‘It does not seem right that women should fear men’ said Tarzan, an expression of puzzlement on his face. ‘I am better acquainted with the jungle folk, and there it is more often the other way around, except around the black men, and they to my mind are in most ways lower in the scale than the beasts. No, I cannot understand why civilized women should fear men, the beings that are created to protect them…’”
See, I get here why 20 people felt the need to quickly recall this passage with a quick tap of their Kindle for any and all situations. It starts with what you suspect to be maybe just run of the mill sexism, however this is just a ruse for some sneaky backdoor racism. Well-played, 20 people who saunter into a party and drop this sweet quote, well-played.
17 highlights, page 85, Tarzan back in the jungle on an elephant hunt:
“…rather, he pitied the poor creatures of Paris, penned up like prisoners in their silly clothes, and watched by policemen all their poor lives, that they might do nothing that was not entirely artificial and tiresome.”
Blah, blah, blah, cities are bad, etc. etc. manly jungle freedom. I guess it had been a good fifty pages or so since anyone felt the need to highlight this belaboured point, in case they had since forgotten their pitiful place within civilisation. You are all fake and Tarzan will have none of you.
8 highlights, page 119, a high-priestess discussing her human-sacrificing religion with Tarzan:
“The more one knows of one’s religion the less one believes – no one living knows more of mine than I.”
Oh hi, religion, didn’t see you there… Did you think you could escape being slammed by Tarzan? No. Wrong. No one escapes being slammed by Tarzan.
Burroughs, ER 1913, The Return of Tarzan, FREE! ON KINDLE!!