J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit And The Lord Of The Rings

2514 words - 10 pages

The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings have been beloved works among many generations of readers since they were first published. The author of these two books, J.R.R. Tolkien is just as interesting a man as many of the characters he created in the world of Middle-Earth. John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born in Africa to a banker manager and his wife in 1892 and had only one sibling, Hilary, who was less than two years younger (Wikipedia). When he was young both of his parents died (one from rheumatic fever, the other from diabetes) and he and his brother were raised by a Catholic priest in Birmingham (Wikipedia). Tolkien was involved in World War One and Two, first as a serviceman, then as a cryptographer (Wikipedia). Indeed he was very interested in language, learning Latin, French and German at an early age, and Finnish, Greek, Italian, Spanish, Welsh, Middle and Old English, and many others, chiefly Germanic later at school (Wikipedia). His literary career began to pick up after he returned home from the first World War and he wrote The Hobbit and the first two volumes of The Lord of the Rings during his fellowship at Pembroke College between 1925 and 1937 (Wikipedia). Although some believe that many of the events in his books were inspired by his real-life experiences in Word War One and Two, Tolkien himself states that, in regards to The Lord of the Rings, “little or nothing in it was modified by the war that began in 1939,” (The Lord of the Rings; “Forward to the Second Edition”; xvi). Either way, the works are highly regarded as important additions to modern literature, and Tolkien himself is recognized for his mastery of rhetoric, which he displays in the two works. In The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings J.R.R. Tolkien uses balanced style, intriguing symbolism, and basic motifs to tell an endearing story about human nature that all people can enjoy.

One of the most fundamental concepts of human nature is balance, which Tolkien achieves using contrast and parallelism in his writing style. Every level of his writing, from the syntax to the story elements, reflects this idea. For instance, as one literary analyst comments, his“heavy usage of a coordinating conjunction and the resultant parallelism in multiple clauses, often grouped in one sentence, is a stylistic feature … worth noting on its own.” (Reid ). In other words, he repeats certain words or phrases (in this case the word “and”) to help connect and compare elements of the story. An example of this can be seen in this excerpt from The Hobbit in the chapter entitled “Fire and Water” (another example of his use of contrast), describing the attack and defeat of Smaug, the dragon, on a lake town, Esgaroth:
Fire leaped from the dragon's jaws. He circled … the trees by the shore shone like copper and like blood with leaping shadows of dense black at their feet. Then down he swooped straight through the arrow storm … Fire leaped from the thatched roofs … he hurtled down and past...

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