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Old 06-04-2002, 04:35 PM   #25
Genandra of Mirkwood
Pile O'Bones
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 22
Genandra of Mirkwood has just left Hobbiton.

Hi all, great analysis here, which I unfortunately only have time to scan and thus just have a few disjointed comments on things I've read along the way. First, ultimate triumph of good- this is definitely assumed in Tolkien's work. Note that the passing of the elves was *sad* (as many transitions in life are) but not evil. There is a quote from the Sil which I do not have time to find, but it basically says about evil in humans, "even these will find that in the end their deeds resound to the glory of my works." Gandalf hints to Frodo that there is a providence shaping events which is much greater than Sauron. The implication is that, sooner or later, evil will go down. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img] Just as in Christian morality, that does not mean that actions and motives don't matter. A tremendous amount of genuine evil and suffering could have been avoided if Isildur had mastered his greed.

I do heartily reject the idea of LOTR as evangelistic allegory, mainly based on the fact that Tolkien did. It's possible that, as he said his works were not allegory but didn't rule out "applicability," that in later life he was exploring the very applicability of his own work. That doesn't mean that while writing them that he didn't allow himself to be consciously or unconsciously guided by his own devoutly held Christian beliefs. It should be remembered that Christians do not only hold Christian dogma to be helpful and inspiring but to be true, that is factually true. It only makes sense that a writer who is persuaded of this and trying to depict myth that is nonetheless true to life, would bring in many of his persuasions.

Tolkien asserted that all myth points to this truth about the world. I must quote an essay I found on the web, because it says it much better than I can summarize: "Tolkien explained to Lewis that myths are not the dream-wishes that lonely men project onto an empty universe to cheer themselves up. The great mythic repetitions of dying and rising gods, of heroes battling the forces of evil despite their own defeat, are signs of something transcendently significant. Our universal myth-making urge is an anthropological indication that we create because we have been created. We are thus re-enacting the most fundamental order of the cosmos, discerning the basic pattern of all things: life-through-death. However misguided pagan myths may sometimes be they point toward the Truth." ( Perhaps it's our modern orientation (disorientation?!) about the nature of truth vs. myth that makes it difficult for us to grasp Tolkien's approach.

Greyhavener: That hit me about Sam, too, and hobbits in general! "The last shall be first"...and it is precisely because hobbits are little, seemingly insignificant and disregarded, that they are able to play the role that they do. Would any two elves or humans have made it through the wilds of Mordor as they did? No way.

[ June 04, 2002: Message edited by: Genandra of Mirkwood ]
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