JRR Tolkien Middle Earth Essay Research Paper

J.R.R. Tolkien: Middle Earth Essay, Research Paper

J.R.R. Tolkien: Middle Earth

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien is remembered for his imaginative writings and the

lasting creation of Middle-earth world. However, he was also a great scholar and linguist,

holding the position of the Rawlingson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford

University. His writings owe much of its power to his ocean of knowledge about

European languages and a deep understanding and appreciation of the art of storytelling

and myths. His books have been translated into twenty-four languages and many millions

of copies have been sold worldwide.

Tolkien was born in the Orange Free State, in what is now South Africa, on

January 3, 1892. However, his mother brought him home to England when he was four,

and after his father’s death his family made their home in rural Sarehole, then on the edge

of the industrial city, Brimingham. When Tolkien was only twelve, his mother passed

away, leaving him and his brother in the care of Father Francis Xavier Morgan. Father

Morgan was a very strong moral influence on young Tolkien and provided him with loving

support though to his years in college. Tolkien received a very good high school education

at King Edward VI School, one of the finest schools in England at the time. From there

he went up to Oxford, where he studied English at Exeter College, gaining him first class

honors. At the age of twenty-one, Tolkien proposed to his childhood sweetheart, Edith

Bratt, although it was against the wishes of Father Morgan, who objected to him marrying

someone three years older than himself. However, the two were unable to wed for a few

years because Tolkien was drafted to fight in World War I. During the war he served in

the Lancashire Fusiliers as an officer, and survived the Somme, though many of his close

friends and colleagues died. His respect for the common soldier under the great stress of

war shows through in his later writings, where the Hobbits show strength in Mordor,

previously unseen by themselves or others.

After the war he got a job, working at the New English Dictionary, but in 1920 he

was appointed reader in English at Leeds University. Four years later he was promoted to

Professor, which is the highest academic rank in British universities. It was this time that

he started writing. At this stage he thought of his tales as being a new mythology for

England. These early works, which laid the basis for his later works, are now published as

“The Book of Lost Tales”. In 1925 he was elected to the Professorship at Oxford. There

he specialized in Philology, the study of words, and was among the most accomplished

scholars in his field. His love of words led him to work on a series of languages for the

Elves of Middle-earth. Though out his lifetime this obsession drove him to produce

fourteen languages and he also showed how these languages developed over the course of

history of Middle-earth. Tolkien said that the one of the first alphabets, called Tengwar,

became very popular because it was a very flexible writing system that was easily adapted

by the many different races of Middle-earth for use with their languages. The main flaw of

this language was that it was very difficult to inscribe onto metal, stone or wood. This led

to the creation of alphabet but with simpler characters made with strait lines. Tolkien

often signed his work with ” }$O@O@O8bael/u} “, which translates into his name. Over

the course of the next few years Tolkien wrote four books for each of his four children.

Of these, “The Hobbit” is the best known and was eventually published in 1937. Stanley

Unwin, the publisher asked for a sequel but Tolkien was skeptical of a sequel’s success.

He felt as if his work would only be enjoyed by a small minority and was surprised with his

previous success. Once he began though, he became very involved with the book.

Unfortunately World War II intervened, and slowed the process down

considerably, taking a total of twelve years to complete. The book blossomed into more

than a sequel, being not a book for children, but a great saga for adults, The Lord of the

Rings. At the time of its first publication the book received mixed reviews. It was not

until the late 60’s and early 70’s that Tolkien’s popularity increased dramatically with the

official release of the “Lord of the Rings” in the United States. During this time, there was

an international emergence of “Tolkien cults,” which unfortunately delayed Tolkien’s entry

into the canon of twentieth-century writers. Tolkien retired shortly after the publication of

this work, and left Oxford for the coastal resort of Bournemouth, but when his wife,

Edith, died he returned to Oxford to be with the rest of his family. He himself died two

years later on the 2nd of September 1973, at the age of eighty-one. He was buried

alongside his wife in an Oxford cemetery, under their real names and the names of two

lovers he had created, Beren and Luthien.

Although Tolkien’s vision was mainly channeled into his writings, he also drew

many pictures and sketches, both in ink and water colors, and produced many wonderfully

detailed maps of Middle-earth. The pictures appear as covers to some editions of his

works, and have been gathered into a book of their own. Tolkien used a great deal of

symbolism in his books, most noticeable is the race of small manlike creatures know as

Hobbits, which he uses to symbolize the people of England. Tolkien perceived his fellow

Englishmen (and Hobbits) as a simple, comfort-loving people that were surprisingly strong

and resilient in times of trouble. In many of his books, Hobbits played key roles as an

unlikely hero who ends up making a big difference in the world. Many people also believe

that many of the events in “The Lord of the Rings,” symbolize people and places in World

Wars I and II, but Tolkien denies ever intentional doing so. When approached with similar

questions about Middle-earth, Tolkien does not answer as the author, but as a historian

trying to recall events of a pass long forgotten.

After his death, his son Christopher, aided by the Canadian writer Guy Gavriel

Kay, set out to edit many of Tolkien’s earlier mythological works. The majority of

Tolkien’s works were not published until long after his death. The first to be published

was the “Simarillion,” a very detailed work containing many of the myths and the rich

history of Middle-earth. In the early 80’s, Christopher compiled many of Tolkien’s

miscellaneous stories into a set of books called the “Book of Lost Tales.” The most recent

addition to the Tolkien library is the “History of Middle- earth” series. This set of books is

almost like a textbook of just the history of Middle-earth and includes many of Tolkien’s

notes, maps, sketches, and time lines on everything that occurred in Middle-earth, from

the creation of the planet to its destruction. Apart from the Middle-earth cannon of

works, Tolkien has written many children’s books as well as an impressive collection of

poetry. Tolkien has also used his linguistic skills to translate many books into English.

Other published works are mainly composed of letters he sent to people explaining things

about Middle-earth and several scholarly essays. Tolkien never expected his works to

achieve the popularity that they have, thinking that they would only be of interest to a

select group of readers. Yet his vision of Middle-earth, rooted in his love of language and

lore, touched the spirt of people the world over. His work has proved the inspiration for

many other writers and artists, and set the foundation for the modern “heroic fantasy”


Tolkien’s famous book, “The Lord of the Rings”, has been repudiated as one of the

best fantasies ever

written. Tolkien creates a very deep intimacy between the book and the reader,

he captures the reader’s attention and lures him into the story. One of the ways

how this cathartic relationship is created is through the use of reality of the

situation in the story. Tolkien has conjured up a fantasy language, to show the

actuality this novel may present. Some quotations of this language are:

“eleventy-first birthday” “The invitation were limited to twelve-dozen (a number

also called a Gross by the hobbits)” “Many young hobbits were included and

present by parental permission for hobbits were easy going with their children

in the matter of sitting up late.” “What may you be wanting?” “It was a

cheerless land” “The hobbits were merrymaking happily.” Not only does the

language create a land but it may also add a bit of humor. This humor can also

express the merriness of the people that have been written about. The

language, in English is not exactly incorrect but it is odd, strange, and different,

which matches the theme and plot. Tolkien, like mostly every other author has

one main, specific goal during the exposition of the story, which is to capture

the reader’s attention. In the beginning of “The Lord of the Rings,” Tolkien

presents events of happiness, mystery, tales of power, chase, by evil riders,

battles, and strange encounters. Through this process, Tolkien has created a

grasp upon the reader’s attention, although, in the beginning, there is not much

of a sort or understanding of the condition and the state of the tale. Later on in

the story, in the “Council of Ehond,” Tolkien regains control of the story and

presents the understanding. At that time, the reader understands the story, and

is also eager to read on. Tolkien thought of it better to catch the attention and

then promote the comprehension of the tale. The Lord of the Rings is indeed a

fantastic book with times of happiness, war, mystery, conflict, and passion. In

order to create the full cathartic effect of presenting and expressing the

magnitude of the potential of each feeling, emphasis must be exercised. If

emphasis was not used, the essence of “The Lord of the Rings” could not be

how it is; it would be a monotonous tale without any events of objects with

great importance. There are two ways of how Tolkien expressed the

dynamics. One way was the use of capitalizing common nouns, making the

level of the word’s recognition increased. Some of the quotations of such words

are: “…and was drawing near to the astonishing Disappearance.” “There is lie

until the End.” “The ring itself might tell if it were the One.” “A new Power is

rising.” The other way of emphasis is personification: a figure of speech in

which a lifeless thing or quality is spoken of as if alive, or to play the role of

another thing. This can imply more importance into a less-important thing. The

use of this emphasis is shown in these quotations. “My news is evil.” “We shall

need your help, and the help of all things that will give it.” “The Elder Days are

gone. The Middle Days are passing. The Younger Days are beginning. The

time of elves is over, but our time is at hand.” “The Ring grows in Power and

deserves destruction.” This figurative language promotes increase of

importance of things that must be emphasized. The story presents a very easy

to believe story that can be witnessed in the setting. The setting is a fantastic

world of beauty threatened by an evil overlord and a wizard. The world

contains man odd creatures to create the fill effect of fantasy. Something in

which Tolkien added to this tale to create not only more emotion but also

supporting edition to the tale’s reality. He’s added rhymes and ’songs’ in which

some of the characters chant in the time of boredom. A quote from such a

song is: “Gil-galad was an Elven-king. Of him the harpers sadly sing: the last

whose realm was fair and free between the Mountains and the Sea.” “His

sword was long, his lance was keen, his shining helm afar was seen!” This use

of rhymes transmits a feeling that is sent by the character singing the song to

the reader. This is an effective use of catharsis. In a story like “The Lord of

the Rings”, catharsis is very important and essential. Throughout the whole

book, there is one minor weakness. Due to the many names of all the different

characters in the story, each of them can be easily confused with, causing the

reader to be perplexed, and thereforelosing his or interest in the novel. Many of

the names sound the same. Oncea name is introduced, many others follow.

And then it builds up into a very long list of jumbled names. Some of the

confusing ones are: Aragorn, Arathorn, Arwen, Athdas, Bolger, Bomladil,

Bombur, Boromir, Eldar, Elendil, Elessar, Eomer, Eru, Galadrid, Galadrim,

Gildor, Gil-galad, Gimli, Glorfindel, Minas Morgul, and Minas Firith. Overall,

“The Lord of the Rings” is an incredible, fantastic book. It was fairly difficult to

read at some parts of the book which had “Boring” written all over the page,

but it was definitely worth all that time. There is absolutely no doubt about the

potential of excellence this book can generate. Tolkien has written an

outstanding book and has proven many things and has shown many aspects.

When Tolkien set out writing this book, he aimed for a best- seller. When it

was completed, he re-defined the words, “A Masterpiece…”


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