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The theme of love is a crucial issue in our life, art, science, and almost every sphere of human’s activity. Literature contains lots of masterpieces dedicated to this topic. This highest human’s feeling was glorified in many writings of different epochs. “Tarzan of the Apes” and “The Lady with the Pet Dog” are among them. The theme of love is crucial in them. These two stories are very dissimilar; they deal with different periods, countries, cultures; their styles are different, but at the same times both of the main characters are happy to understand, feel and possess the most beautiful feeling – love.
Tarzan is the ideal character for adventure novel; he is a symbol, a quintessence of a human being and nature. He differs from ordinary people as well as they do not have anything in common with nature due to their choice in behalf of civilization. Tarzan is an example of a man who feels absolutely comfortable in conditions that challenge the value of the animal’s life, human being, mind and even instinct. Occasionally, he is this person: he finds his house in the tribe of wild apes in the African jungles. Nevertheless, he does not become one of the animal tribe; he does not lose humaneness; he does not reduce himself to the forces of instincts. Tarzan has a very virtuous hierarchy of values that helps him to be honest even in dangerous and wild environment of animal world. Even without education and upbringing that is aimed at inurement of the main moral notions, he knows what love is. He just feels love that is based on deep respect, dedication, sincerity, tenderness, absoluteness and readiness to give up his life in order to save a beloved person if it is needed. It can be understood in a scene when Tarzan rescues Jane Porter from the claws of an awful ape, which is driven by his mean inducements and abducts Jane. Nevertheless, Tarzan considers it to be a challenge and has no doubts to chase the kidnapper and renew the justice. After Tarzan’s victory, he makes Jane understand what love actually is. However, in few minutes Jane turns her warm feelings into aggressive behavior that influences Tarzan’s decision concerning the further actions: “A moment ago and it had been his intention to hasten Jane back to her people, but that little moment was lost now in the dim and distant past of things which were but can never be again, and with it the good intentions had gone to join the impossible”. This situation shows that Tarzan is impulsive and passionate. His love is desperate and not silent. It burns him inside out. And one of the highest values for him is freedom. Only jungles can make him fell free as it is the main native element for him. Tarzan wants to share everything with his beloved person; he wants to give her even things he considers to be the most important. He opens to her a world of jungle that may teach her to be free.
Such passionate love can be also mentioned in a story “The Lady with the Pet Dog”. Gurov, the main character of this writing, is a man who is disappointed in life and people, especially in women: “When they were talked of in his presence used to call them “the inferior race”. It seemed to him that he had been sufficiently tutored by bitter experience to call them what he pleased, and yet he could not have lived without “the inferior race” for two days together” (24). Even though, he seems to be unaware with the main values, such as respect to all people, pure love that is based on mental necessity of being closer to somebody, and his mental evolution is brightly reflected in the story. He develops his personality due to the lady with a pet dog. She opens up his eyes on the gist of his life and inspires his activity.
Thus, in comparison to Tarzan, Gurov, who is a member of society, has experience relationships with people and that is why the evolution of his convictions is clear. The nature of both of their feelings is different. Tarzan’s love appears after the occasional acquaintance with the world of people, which is represented by Jane who awakens his deep human heart. In my opinion, this fact cannot be considered as a mental evolution of the main character. It is more likely to be an awakening from a dream of living in wild jungle, or even a rebirth. Tarzan does not possess previous experience. Therefore, he does not know how to compare himself and his feelings with. He does not have an idea about any criteria and superstitions formed by society and experience of communication. That is why Tarzan is free. On the other hand, this freedom does not have anything in common with outrage. Tarzan is noble to make his choice: whether to choose this freedom, the one he perceives to be right, results in his high understanding of responsibility, or call of duty to his moral code.
Nonetheless, Gurov is confined by his social position, his family’s circumstances, and his world-outlook that has been forming during the whole period his life under the influence of achievements and failures. He has seen more in the sphere of human relationships, that is why it is more difficult for him to feel the genuine love and sincerity. He does not want to confess in it, but deep inside he feels the lack of inner freedom, which love gives. Gurov does not enjoy the married life with his wife, who he married without any desire when they were young, and their children. He does not feel the immersion that has to be in health love relationships. He has a family, but at the same time, he does not have the feeling of belonging to it. He is independent because he has no feelings towards his wife; however, he is not free either. Wanting to escape from it, he tries to lose contact with the reality and with the help of other women, and short love affairs that have nothing in common with love. But only Anna Segeyevna is able to change Gurov’s life: “When Gurov looked at her, his heart contracted, and he understood clearly that in the whole world there was no human being so near, so precious, and so important to him”. That was the first time when he faces up to the truly deep feeling that fulfils him. He has also the readiness to give up his life, but not in a physical sense as Tarzan does. Gurov feels that he cannot live no more with his wife because all his thoughts are intended on the lady whom he meets during his holidays and has a great time with. Gurov’s path is as prickly as Tarzan’s: living beyond the society may be as difficult as living in it. Gurov has to overcome various circumstances in order not to lose his lady and be able to enjoy such life. Tarzan cannot offer Jane anything except jungles, freedom and his love. So he is also limited in his actions.
We see both characters at the beginning of their ways after they experience love. We do not know about their future, but we know that they are ready to struggle for their happiness. They want to feel safe in their lives. That is why two heroes consider every pleasant minute with their beloved persons to be a start of eternal utopian life; even if they know about difficulties on their way. It happens only due a great will to the meaning, which is love.
These two stories have nothing in common at first sight, but they reflect only different approaches to one eternal theme of love, desperate and gripping. These stories also emphasize the determinateness of human life and, at the same time, the capacity of human beings to be active at least in terms of choice of the attitude towards different events and processes. Having an active attitude, the main characters encourage themselves to change the situation. This action brings us closer to the problem of happiness that is solved with the help of the notion of love.