Tarzan of the Apes was as much a man of the African jungle, as he was a part of every Victorian man faced with the changing Western frontier. Tarzan is a man born with the instinct of civility, and the potential to grow into a respectable man. Yet, because of his up bringing by wild beasts, he has become savage. This could almost be used as a metaphor for the changing era of the late nineteenth century, and early twentieth century. It illustrates the potential of an average American to become a respectable Victorian man, but by being exposed to "poor culture," loses this ability. Many writers of the time expressed a very opinionated view of the new types of media brought upon mass culture. Quite a few had a view that the new styles arising were a bad influence, and would degrade society. .
Take for example Sumner's writing, What Our Boys Are Reading. He preaches to middle class parents on how they have failed to take note on what their children are reading. Instead of reading the classical material that will sharpen their intellect, they are reading periodicals and magazines that are bound to bring degradation to society. When speaking about the periodicals, Sumner says, "It is impossible, however, that so much corruption should be afloat and not exert some influence." (Sumner 376). It is his belief that this is only the beginning of a great downfall in the culture if changes are not made. .
If Sumner had a chance to read Tarzan of the Apes, he would most likely put it into the same category as the rest of the "non-sense tales." He would see it as a gruesome novel, filled with violence and gore. He might include some of the good points in Tarzan of the Apes that are relevant to the Victorian culture. Some examples are how the male must be the protector and defender of his possessions, or that a woman's place in life is besides her man. He might also include to some degree how the story itself proves what will happen to our culture if we let it stray into the jungle, or uncultured territory, but most likely he wont give it much more credit than any other unpractical story.