Thread: Elementals
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Old 03-11-2017, 10:31 PM   #7
Haunting Spirit
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 86
Balfrog has just left Hobbiton.

Here we have, what I think is, a very unusual situation – a wife referring to her husband as ‘Master’ several times in front of strangers, and minutes after meeting them. I cannot imagine my wife doing so – or for that matter any others – in this day and age. Even in Tolkien’s time, I cannot imagine Edith ever calling her husband ‘Master’ in front of guests. I think eyebrows would certainly have been raised both then and now.

Conversely we must also note that at no time is Goldberry referred to as a ‘Master’ (or ‘Mistress’). And let’s face it – if we had a beautiful young sister who was married to a wrinkly old man, most of us would be more than worried by her referring to her spouse as ‘Master’!

In using such a term of address, Goldberry acknowledges who ‘wears the pants’ in the household and who is the ‘underling’. Indeed Goldberry’s lesser role is obvious through Tom being the party listening to the hobbits’ troubles and advising them of precautions to take for the journey ahead. All of this, while Goldberry retires early.

As used by Ms. Seth, the term ‘servility’ doesn’t necessarily imply Goldberry is a slave. She certainly isn’t. Tom appears to treat her with affection and respect; and definitely shares the work in entertaining the arrivals. Once again how worrisome and to what degree of servility – Ms. Seth leaves it to the individual reader to decide. To some ‘Master’ may imply very little – to others perhaps Goldberry appears horrifyingly submissive.
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