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MonkeyNotes-The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
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Minor Themes

Racial Harmony

Middle-earth is a creation of Tolkienís imagination. It is peopled by many creatures of different groups. All these creatures have their own social and moral codes that correspond to their groups. However different they may be from each other, they understand the value of peace and harmony.

One of Tolkien's Themes is the importance of racial harmony. This is epitomized by the friendship between Legolas the Elf and Gimli, the Dwarf. This friendship represents and ideal. Interestingly, the races of Middle-earth remain separate for much of the novel. But when the War of the Rings begins, they come together as a united front. This is Tolkienís vision.

Religion

Tolkienís Middle-earth is not covertly Christian, but as Paul Kocher remarks "it contains many of the transcendent elements of a more than pantheistic religion." There is an underlying scheme of values and rituals of religion and the emphasis placed on pity and forgiveness is definitely Christian. There are examples of sacrifice and redemption, as well as forgiveness and rebirth. These religious Themes lend authenticity to the imaginary world of Middle-earth.


Style

Tolkien has invented not only names but also languages for the different races of Middle-earth. The Elves speak a language that is soft and pleasant sounding; the Orcs, on the other hand, have a language that is just as bad as their behavior.

Tolkienís attention to detail is remarkable. With each change in status, the characters are given new names. Strider becomes Aragorn who then is crowned King Elessar. Tom Bombadil has many names and is called different names by different races. Even the speech and talking style of the characters is different. Treebeard the ent, who is the oldest living thing on Middle- earth, talks in long sentences. The Hobbits, on the other hand, are short and to the point in their speech.

Imagery

The imagery of light and dark has been very well used to stand for good and evil respectively. Gandalf the White stands for good, as does Galadriel who gives Frodo the Phial to show him light in dark places. The Black Riders stand for evil and all of Mordor is covered with a shadowy blackness. Every time a Nazgul passes overhead, the sun or moon is completely blocked out. Evil creatures live in dark places; Shelob, for example, lives in a pitch-black cave called Cirith Ungol.

Tolkien has used the images of light and dark to portray good and evil. White stands for the forces of good whereas black stands for evil. Gandalf the white stands for the forces of good. His staff issues for lightening. Galadriel gives Frodo a Phial that lights up places that are dark. The coming of dawn always brings hope and gladness to the heart of the dwellers of Middle-earth. Night always brings fear and evil. The dark is symbolic of the power of Sauron. He commands a thick cloud to cover Mordor for his own protection. His power is greatest under cover of darkness. Even Gollum hates the light of day and craves the anonymity of dark.

Tolkien has used this image very effectively, borrowing from manís natural fear of night and the unknown.

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