The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum

Visit The *EVEN NEWER* Barrow-Downs Photo Page

Go Back   The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum > Middle-Earth Discussions > The Books
User Name
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 03-23-2002, 10:48 PM   #1
Haunting Spirit
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Ha! Wouldn't you like to know?
Posts: 80
Lomelinde has just left Hobbiton.
Silmaril LOTR:Allegory or Just Good Fantasy?

Ok, I know this has probably been brought up before, but I am curious to read other people's thought on the matter. Is LOTR an allegory of any sort or is it just another great fantasy story? I've read articles where people compare it to everything from World War 2 to stories from the Bible. I personally don't think LOTR symbolizes anything or represents any event,real or imagined,but I'm not sure. I don't know if Tolkien was trying to accomplish anything or spread a message of any sort through his writings, but either way I will always admire his works. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
The Dwarf breathes so loud I could've shot him in the dark, drunk, blindfolded and hanging upside down from a tree.
Lomelinde is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-2002, 11:35 PM   #2
Animated Skeleton
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: my little blooming garden
Posts: 45
twinkle has just left Hobbiton.

as far as i know tolkien said he wasn't being allegorical at all, but surely anyone's outlook is colored a little by what goes on around them in the world....

"exit.....stage left even....." - snagglepuss
twinkle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-24-2002, 10:45 AM   #3
Spirit of Mischief
red's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Land of the free and home of the brave
Posts: 368
red has just left Hobbiton.

You're right, Lomelinde, it has been brought up many times. Here is one of the most complete discussions we've had so far, though, unfortunately, a few posts were lost due to a technical problem... Trilogy and Bible
"Cats are like greatness: Some people are born into cat-loving families, some achieve cats, and some have cats thrust upon them." -William H. A. Carr
red is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-24-2002, 01:56 PM   #4
Fair and Cold
Lush's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: the big onion
Posts: 1,803
Lush is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Send a message via ICQ to Lush Send a message via AIM to Lush Send a message via Yahoo to Lush

Writers always shriek and yell at the thought that their work may be taken as allegory, because they detest the connotations. Though if you sit down to write a book, you will always insert your own views on certain issues into it, whether consciously or subconsciously.
I think most writers deny that allegory has any place within their work due to the fact that they don't want the said work to be misinterpreted, and the story and artistry to be overshadowed by the continuous prying and delving into the text for 'hidden meaning.'
I should know. One of the best poems I've ever written deals with being an immigrant in a conservative, WASPy society. However, due to some "questionable" imagery, everyone who reads it thinks it's about sex. All of the anger, and anguish of the poem gets overshadowed by people's obsession with "undertones" and "symbolisms." Ugh! [img]smilies/mad.gif[/img]
Imagine how annoyed Tolkien was by the very possibility of having his life's work dissected in such a senseless fashion, and this being on a huge, world-wide scale. Of course he would deny that there is any allegory in it.
That way, people are prompted to look for meaning in LotR, which is more than allegory, and serves a nobler purpose.
~The beginning is the word and the end is silence. And in between are all the stories. This is one of mine~
Lush is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-24-2002, 02:50 PM   #5
Shade of Carn Dűm
ElanorGamgee's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 314
ElanorGamgee has just left Hobbiton.

Tolkien denied that his works are allegory, and his word is good enough for me, especially since after reading several of his novels I really don't see any evidence of allegory in them. However, I have picked out several Christian themes that I believe are a result of the importance of the Catholic faith in his life. As a Christian, these themes jump out at me, although they may not be nearly as obvious to a non-Christian. Some also claim to see the influence of WWII in his works. I believe that Tolkien incorporated the important things in his life into his writing, whether intentionally or not, though not so much as to make his works allegory.

[ March 24, 2002: Message edited by: ElanorGamgee ]
Soli Deo Gloria
ElanorGamgee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-2002, 02:27 PM   #6
Etheral Enchantress
VanimaEdhel's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Wellesley College!
Posts: 1,473
VanimaEdhel has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via AIM to VanimaEdhel Send a message via MSN to VanimaEdhel

Do you all have the Silmarillion? If so, read the letter to Milton Waldman. Mr. Tolkien mentioned that. He said that it was not allegory. I do believe though that, whether or not he meant it, he HAD to be influenced with things he read and what happened all around him. If you read about the creation of Arda, a lot of the tales remind me of the Bible. Morgoth reminds me much of the story of Satan and Aule even reminds me a bit of Adam and Eve in a way. Whether or not he knew it, Tolkien was probably subconsciously influenced by the Bible and other creation myths he had heard.

That is what I think anyway (Hey: I just realized: not bad for a 14 year old!)
"I think we dream so we don't have to be apart so long. If we're in each others dreams, we can be together all the time." - Hobbes of Calvin and Hobbes
VanimaEdhel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-2002, 07:26 PM   #7
Haunting Spirit
Mirkgirl's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Germany
Posts: 84
Mirkgirl has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via Skype™ to Mirkgirl

Whether or not he knew it, Tolkien was probably subconsciously influenced by the Bible and other creation myths he had heard.
Whether or not I know it, I'm subconsciously influenced by everythingI've ever heard of - myths, hystory, literature, quotes, discussions, movies, even stupid chats... everything is somewhere in my brain and my brain is working with it

Whether or not Tolkein knew it, writing of big spiders he was remembering some man's /most likely female/ reactions on little spiders, for example...
"Hobbits! Well, what next? I have heard of strange doings in this land, but I have seldom heard of a hobbit sleeping out of doors under a tree. Three of them! There's something mighty queer behind this."
Mirkgirl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-2002, 11:16 PM   #8
Haunting Spirit
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Doriath
Posts: 76
LúthienTinúviel has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via ICQ to LúthienTinúviel Send a message via AIM to LúthienTinúviel

Very interesting topic. I agree that Tolkien did not conciously make LotR allegorical. He scoffed at the notion. Especially when people started saying that the Scaouring of the Shire was an allegory for WWII. He thought it was absolutely absurd. And as for the spiders, I do know that Tolkien had a very close encounter with a tarantula when he lived in Africa. He was pretty young, but he heard lots of stories about it. That might have given him an idea about the spiders. Just a thought.
Such lissom limbs no more shall run
on the green earth beneath the sun;
so fair a maid no more shall be
from dawn to dusk, from sun to sea.
LúthienTinúviel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-2002, 11:38 PM   #9
Spirit of a Warrior
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Wandering
Posts: 1,020
Joy has just left Hobbiton.

Concerning spiders, I wonder what Shelob and Ungilant may have looked like if Tolkien had encounted the spider in Japan? Have you ever heard of the Bannana Spider?? [img]smilies/eek.gif[/img]
God bless,

As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?
Joy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-27-2002, 12:13 PM   #10
Animated Skeleton
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 40
Haldir has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via ICQ to Haldir

Read it like it's just a great fantasy book,
because if you'll start searching for deeper
meanings, you'll lose your mind [img]smilies/eek.gif[/img]

take a notebook and start writing a fantasy
book of your own, as much as you can, even
just one chapter, when you'll finish it, read
it to yourself and start looking for deeper got those even if you don't mean
to have those [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]
"In place of a Lord you shall have a Queen, not Dark but Beautiful and
Terrible as the Dawn, Treacherous as the Sea, Stronger than
the foundations of the Earth all shall love me and dispair"
Haldir is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-27-2002, 08:26 PM   #11
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Earthsea, or London
Posts: 175
Kalessin has just left Hobbiton.

The 4-page epic that is the 'Trilogy and Bible' thread in The Books section really covers this in a lot of depth and detail, from a variety of perspectives. I recommend it highly!

But briefly - Tolkien explicitly and repeatedly denied any allegorical intent, and addressed the WWI, WWII, Biblical and other connotations in detail as part of those denials. Allegory is a specific literary device that requires the author's conscious intention ... so any similarities or apparent references in Tolkien are NOT allegory - unless you think Tolkien was lying. Its as simple as that.

What often happens is the appropriation by us, the readers, of his stories within our own desired or preferred contexts. If you like Tolkien, you will believe (quite naturally) that his work (and therefore Tolkien himself) echoes aspects of your own worldview. This is like watching a good actor play a part and ending up feeling like you know him or her (in character) - with Tolkien, it's his skill as an author that engages you as a reader.

That's one theory, anyway [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img] read the Trilogy and Bible thread!

[ March 27, 2002: Message edited by: Kalessin ]
Kalessin is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:50 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.