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The Many Worlds of
Tarzan the Terrible
ERB COMPENDIUM T8-7
THE PHILOSOPHIC BURROUGHS
ERB PhilosophyPerfection of Nature
This theme is found throughout ERB's works where he often praises the perfection of the simple creatues of nature. He presents them as being unspoiled by degenerative civilization. Through Tarzan he shows his deep love of nature's beauties and her "...peace, and harmony and quiet."
[A slight contradiction exists here, however, as he suggests that Tarzan is able to appreciate and comprehend the beauties of nature because of his higher intelligence and because of his being a partial product of civilization.}
Respect and Admiration for Creatures in the Wild
Prophecy of Nature's Contamination and Anticipation of Modern Man's Guilt in the Pollution of His Environment
He was aware of this serious problem many years before ecology became a global concern.
"What a paradise! And some day civilized man would come and -- spoil it! Ruthless axes would raze that age-old wood; black, sticky smoke would rise from ugly chimneys against that azure sky; grimy little boats with wheels behind or upon either side would churn the mud from the bottom of Jad-in-lul, turning its blue waters to a dirty brown; hideous piers would project into the lake from swalid buildings of corrugated iron...."
Simple-Minded Virtues of Children of Nature
"It has remained for civilization to teach us to weigh the relative rewards of loyalty and its anithesis. The loyalty of the primitive is spontaneous, unreasoning, unselfish...."
What is Bara, THE DEER, doing in Tarzan's Africa?
"Ten minutes later he had made his kill, again one of the Pal-ul-don species of antelope, all species of which Tarzan had known since childhood as Bara, the deer, since in the little primer that had been the basis of his education the picture of a deer had been the nearest approach to the likeness of the antelope, from the giant eland to the smaller bushbuck of the hunting grounds of his youth."
Dislike and Distrust of the "Barbarian"
(In this case the German Hun of WWI)
The villainous, "pig-headed Hun" Erich Obergatz says:
"What are promises? They are made to be broken -- we taught the world that at Liege and Louvain...."
Views on Art
He shows his aproval of carvings and handicraft of Pal-ul-don artisans:
"The limestone of the country, close-grained and of marble whiteness yet worked with comparative ease with crude implements, had been wrought by cunning craftsmen into bowls and urns and vases of considerable grace and beauty. Into the carved designs of many of these virgin gold had been hammered, presenting the effect of a rich and magnificent cloisonné. A barbarian himself, the art of barbarians had always appealed to the ape-man to whom they represented a natural expression of man’s love of the beautiful to even a greater extent than the studied and artificial efforts of civilization. Here was the real art of old masters, the other the cheap imitation of the chromo.”
The Effects of Alcohol
In the 1920s Tarzana Ranch became a social hub for the San Fernando Valley. Mr. Burroughs was a member of the Association Against the Prohibition Amendment and liquor flowed despite prohibition. But over the years he ran into numerous problems and experienced many different attitudes toward alcohol. When Emma developed an over-dependence on alcohol, Ed called a halt to the partying at Tarzana. Later, in old age, faced with career, health and marital problems, alcohol excesses became personal problem.
“…a single draught of this potent liquor would bring happiness and a surcease from worry, while several would cause even a king to do things that he would never think of doing or enjoying while not under the magical influence of the potion… the banquet was a dismal and tiresome affair, since so great was the interest of the guests in gorging themselves with food and drink that they had no time for conversation, the only vocal sounds being confined to a continuous grunting…"
ERB often expressed negative feelings toward organized religion and its leaders and practices.
“[The high priest] realizes fully… the falsity of the faith he preaches… the falsity of [the priests’] teaching has been demonstrated to you today in the utter defeat of priesthood. Take then the temples from the men and give them instead to the women that they may be administered in kindness and charity and love.” A murmur of approval ran through the throng. Long had they been weary of the avarice and cruelty of the priests."
"From birth to death, day by day, there is constant change in each of us. Change, then, is one of Jad-ben-Otho's (god) laws.”
Tarzan overthrows the evil, corrupt priesthood of Pal-ul-don, abolishes human sacrifices, orders either the cleansing or removal of the blood-stained altars, and instructs that the priesthood of Pal-ul-don shall henceforth consist entirely of women -- a strong implication that they are kinder, less bloodthirsty, and spiritually, morally, and emotionally on a much higher level than men are - a belief expounded many years ago by the renowned anthropologist Ashely Montagu.
ERB has often turned to this theme centering on the willingness of intelligent beings to change, and even in a savage world to realize that a life of peace and amity with other beings is preferable to one of constant hatred and warfare.
Admiration for the Strong Independent and Resourceful Woman
Jane Porter is pictured as a totally independent and self-reliant woman -- not only in TARZAN THE TERRIBLE, but again in TARZAN'S QUEST.
... and Man
"Tarzan (lived) as the lion lives -- a true jungle creature dependent solely on his own prowess and his wits, playing a lone hand against creation..."
“’The Waz-don have no cities… they live in the trees of the forests and the caves of the hills… is it not so, black man?’ he concluded, turning toward the hairy giant beside him.
‘Yes,’ replied Om-at, ‘we Waz-don are free… only the Ho-don imprison themselves in cities. I would not be a white man!’
Tarzan Smiled. Even here was the racial distinction between white man and black man… Ho-don and Waz-don."
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