Vivanco - Tarzan - Chapter 03
Adventure in the Zeitgeist, Adventures in Reality
Simmel, Tarzan, and Beyond
As it recounts Tarzan's feelings on his first return to the jungle after he has
acquired a veneer of civilization, Edgar Rice Burroughs's Tarzan of the Apes
highlights civilization's constraints. Challenged about his knowledge of lions
by fellow Europeans, Tarzan accepts a wager to hunt a lion, naked and
armed only with a knife and piece of rope.
Tarzan had no sooner entered the jungle than he took to the trees, and it
was with a feeling of exultant freedom that he jumped once more through the
This was the life! Ah, how he loved it! Civilization held nothing like this
in its narrow and circumscribed sphere, hemmed in by restrictions and conventionalities.
Even clothes were a hindrance and a nuisance.
At last he was free. He had not realized what a prisoner he had been.
How easy it would be to circle back to the coast, and then make toward
the south and his own jungle and cabin...
(Burroughs 1983: 244-49)