A fantasy is an imaginary world where all things imaginable can be brought to life. J.R.R Tolkien portrayed fantasy through his use of skilled craftsmanship and a vivid imagination, which was presented in each piece of literature he wrote. In Tolkien’s two stories The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings we see the theme of fantasy brought to life through three essential elements, heroism, magic and retribution. Heroism is shown through the character’s courage and bravery in situations where conflict arises and this enables them to be seen in a new light. Magic is a form of extraordinary power seemingly through a supernatural force; it is used in a combination of combat and mystical items to aid the companions on their journey. Retribution is paid to the evil forces for the wrongs society had to endure while they were allowed to dominate. This system allows opportunity for physical and mental development in the characters and the aspect of fantasy to come to life.
During the character’s quest, weather they were headed to the Lonely Mountains or to the Cracks of Doom, they always experienced a form of heroism. In the story The Hobbit, we see heroic deeds being accomplished by the main character Bilbo. This occurs when the companions do battle with giant venomous spiders in Mirkwood forest. Bilbo finds depth and strength in his nature that he was surprised was there and smote these villainous creatures all on his own, saving his friends and adding to his stature among those in the group. “Somehow the killing of the giant spider, all alone by himself in the dark without the help of the wizard or the Dwarves or anyone else, made a great difference to Mr. Baggin…
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… fully understand the characters, as well as the major changes both physically and mentally which allow the characters to successfully complete their task to dominate over the forces of evil.
Chance, Jane The Lord of the Rings: The Mythology of Power. New York, Twayne. 1992.
Murray, Roxane Farrell. “The Lord of the Rings as Myth.” Unpublished thesis. The University of Georgia, Athens, GA, 1974.
Tolkien, J. R. R. The Hobbit. New York: Ballantine Books, 1993.
Tolkien, J. R. R. The Lord of the Rings. New York: Ballantine Books, 1997.
Tyler, J.E.A. The Tolkien Companion. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1976.
Urang, Gunnar. “J. R. R. Tolkien: Fantasy and the Phenomenology of Hope” Fantasy in the Writing of J. R. R. Tolkien. United Press, 1971
Wood, Ralph C. “Traveling the one road: The Lord of the Rings.” The Century Feb. 97: 208(4).
Sexism Exposed in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre
Sexism Exposed in Brontë’s Jane Eyre
The Victorian era in England marked a period of unprecedented technological, scientific, political, and economic advancement. By the 1840s, the English had witnessed remarkable industrial achievements including the advent of the railways and the photographic negative. They had witnessed the expansion of the Empire, and, as a result, were living in a time of great economic stability. Yet they had also seen thousands of people starving-and dying-due to the Irish potato famine and poor conditions and benefits in British factories and witnessed the entire order of society questioned as the working classes began to demand representation in Parliament. The English also experienced biological and scientific breakthroughs that challenged the once universally accepted beliefs in the authority of the Bible, the divine ordering of nature, and the gross exploitation of women and people of other races. It was a time of great achievement, yes, but it was also a time of great contradiction and uncertainty.
The Victorian era was also the age of the novel, as many English citizens now possessed the time and money to afford such a luxury. Novels at the beginning of the Victorian era reflect the growing unease of the day; writers of the 1840s in particular responded indirectly to the social upheaval, writing personal, subjective novels.
Charlotte Brontë’s novel Jane Eyre, published in 1847, is an archetype of the 1840s novel. It tells the story of Jane Eyre, an orphan who eventually finds herself and happiness as a governess and, later, a wife. Although this is a “personal” story that provides escape and entertainment for its readers, Jane Eyre most certainly, if some…
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…ntinually low, to compel it to burn inwardly and never utter a cry, though the imprisoned flame consumed vital after vital” (429). Further, she marries Mr. Rochester only after he is dependent and in need of her care, claiming that she likes him better that way (469). Victorian women were supposed to be passive, idle, uneducated, and subordinate partners in marriage. Readers are forced to realize that Jane conforms to none of these expectations.
Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre is representative of British novels in the 1840s. Though she tells the personal story of a young governess, Brontë also uses the story to address an important social issue of the Victorian era-sexism-directly and indirectly exposing the flaws and hypocrisies of the patriarchal Victorian society.
Brontë, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. 1847. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1993.