Tarzan and The Heart of Darkness
Right now I am currently reading The Heart of Darkness, and upon reading it I immediately grew my own personal connection to it. However, this connection might be an odd one and not the most scholarly, because it is the Disney film Tarzan. Since I was a kid, Tarzan has been one of, if not my favorite Disney (non-Pixar) film. Not only does it remind me of my days at my dad’s movie theater, as I attended a ShoWest premiere in Las Vegas of Tarzan along with a concert afterwards by Phil Collins, but its a genuinely excellent film with a legendary soundtrack. As a kid, I remember owning this film on VHS and it brings back memories of sitting in front of the TV and watching it, then taking it out the VHS and rewinding it so I could watch it once again. The opening scene always left me in awe with the shipwreck scene and the montage of Tarzan’s parents building their tree house all to the magical voice of Phil Collins in the song “Two Worlds”. This memory was triggered while I was reading Marlow sailing along the African coast as he tries to go into the Congo River. Besides the African setting, the imperialistic theme that goes on in Tarzan is also in The Heart of Darkness. Both of these works deal with European conquest and imperialism, as in Tarzan it is the English that try to exploit the native species and land; in Heart of Darkness it is about the conquest of Africa by Europe in general. These two works also explore the concept of savagery and the idea of perception. In The Heart of Darkness, there is the idea that the Europeans believe that the natives are so primitive that they are referred to as animals. This is very similar to how Clayton views Tarzan, as nothing more than basically a gorilla and not the man that he is underneath. So far I have only read the first third of The Heart of Darkness, but one scene in particular sticks out. The scene where Marlow gives one of the natives a biscuit and perhaps this act of kindness with continue throughout the novel. Hopefully the effects of imperialism will be revealed to the masses and the errors of their ways will self correct. One must also remember that the book the movie Tarzan was based off of was a book that was much more similar to The Heart of Darkness. Tarzan of the Apes, by Edgar Rice Burroughs, was written in 1914 and focused much more on Africa as an untouched land that is then disturbed by civilized man. This can be seen in how Tarzan and the natives are able to live in harmony with the jungle until the Europeans come and spoil it.