The Patriot Resource - The Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings Insights:
The Virtues of The Lord of the Rings

     Though the hobbits grow in maturity from their harrowing adventure, they maintain the pure reactions that a child or young adolescent would have upon glimpsing an airplane, watching fireworks or blinking Christmas lights. Even after everything they go through, they never adopt a 'been there, done that' attitude that adults often slip into. An Adult can be mature, but also take a moment to savor life's experiences.

     In the same way Frodo's happy exclamations heighten the experience, the frightening and evil elements of the story are more emotionally disturbing and real to the reader because of his repulsions and revoltions. One can argue that the sequences such as the Mines of Moria, the Palantir of Isengard and Shelob's Lair could have been written in a less frightening manner, but doing so would have watered down the story.

                                             The evil forces at work in Middle Earth have to be brought to the fore at intervals to challenge the resolve and motivations for undertaking such a thankless adventure. Even with these elements, this story should not give children nightmares. One is reason is that those young enough to be traumatized by these sequences would not be reading a such a lengthy story as The Lord of the Rings without a parent's help. That parent should be able to judge how to best approach the more intense material.

     Another reason that nightmares are unlikely is the way that Tolkien always followed up these sequences. He countered the frightening experiences and sequences on Frodo and the other hobbits through several positive methods. Early on, supporting characters such as Gandalf and Aragorn who have fatherly qualities step in with reassuring words. After the breaking of the Fellowship, pleasant memories are brought to mind, either by following a stream of conscienceness or by Sam. In each case, the emotions of Frodo, the other hobbits and the reader are calmed.

     Through the course of the story, Frodo gains more and more of the confidence and courage that the taller characters demonstrate from the start. Those characters thus become less mysterious and more like equals to Frodo and the other hobbits. At the same time, the other characters gradually stop treating the hobbits like children and begin to treat them more as equals. These developments parallel the growth and maturity of children into adulthood and the slow approval that they earn from adults.

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