English IV 16 April Ann E. CanlasMrs. Ong IV-6 A Comparative Analysis between the Fantasy Epic the Lord of the Rings and the World War Introduction: The Lord of the Rings is an epic fantasy trilogy that revolves around the world called the “Middle-Earth” wherein men, elves, dwarves, hobbits and many other magical creatures reside. Written by the late English writer J. R. R. Tolkien, the novel has made a huge name not only in the world of literature but also in the world of motion pictures.
Tolkien, the novel’s author, was a war veteran during The Great War (World War I). He talked about how on a battlefield you would see dead men and boys, eyes blankly staring up at the sky, never to see again. Tolkien was greatly affected by the war, both mentally and physically. Many of his friends were killed during the war. He later came down with a trench fever, a disease carried by body lice which was plentiful in No Man’s Land during the WWI. He then started to record his horrible experiences during his time of service which later surface in his works.
Tolkien’s military career and on-field experiences play an important role in the Lord of the Rings. Though the author himself stated that his novels are not related in any way nor are they an allegory of the World War, critics, readers and several researchers believe that the events he experienced during the World War has severely affected him consciously and unconsciously. “It seems almost impossible that Tolkien’s experience of trench warfare did not inform his writing about Frodo’s journey through Mordor.
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His images of the technological despoiling the natural, which pervade the book, also seem linked to his experiences in the war. ” (Unknown, 2004) “When one refuses to consider the influence of contemporary history and politics on a writer’s artistic production, the reason might be fear that to admit such influences could lead to the denial or under-valuation of other sorts of influence: ancient political history, literature, art, philosophy and religion. Such fears must be resisted; one influence does not exclude others! “ In a letter to Professor L. W.
Forster written on New Year’s Eve, 1960, J. R. R. Tolkien reemphasized his insistence that the mythology of Middle-earth was not reliant on the events of the two World Wars that spanned much of the first half of his life: “Personally I do not think that either war (and of course the atomic bomb) had any influence upon either the plot or the manner of its unfolding. There are some critics who have fought Tolkien on this point, insisting that The Lord of the Rings be read as a massive allegory for one or both of the World Wars, and it is certainly tempting to do so. 2] There are a number of provocative similarities between the Middle-Earth and Europe: First is Saruman’s destruction of Fangorn Forest to build his army of “Uruk-Hai”, a cross-breed of men and orcs, has much in common with modern industrialization at the expense of nature, and his technological tampering with nature is eerily reminiscent of the arms race of the World Wars that culminated in the Manhattan Project. Livingston, 2006) The One Ring, also known as the ring of Sauron, is the most powerful weapon in Middle-Earth. Second, the One Ring gives the Dark Lord Sauron the power to control the other Rings of Power that are in possession of nine mortal men, seven dwarf-lords and three elves. The ring is the center of the trilogy, and it gains multiple, changeable meanings as Frodo’s journey goes on. Because it mainly suggests power, people have concluded that it is a symbol for the nuclear bomb.
Lastly, the psychological realities of Tolkien’s horrible experience during the Battle of the Somme have left permanent marks in his writing. The geographical features of Somme are clearly reflected in his description of his fantasy world Middle-Earth. The purpose of this research paper is to determine the relationship between the Lord of the Rings and the World War through gathering facts, analysis of earlier researchers, the movie and the epic itself. ———————– 1] (Simone Bonechi, “The Complexity of Tolkien’s Attitude Towards the Second World War”, 25 August 2005, < http://valarguild. org/varda/Tolkien/encyc/articles/t/Tolkien/TolkienandWW2. htm#Opinions> (6 November 2008)  (Michael Livingston, “The shell-shocked hobbit: the First World War and Tolkien’s trauma of the Ring”, 22 September 2006, , (7 November 2008)  Manhattan Project was the project to develop the first nuclear weapon (atomic bomb) during World War II by the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada.