The Myth about Tolkien

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“The Lord of the Rings is racist. It is soaked in the logic that race determines behavior.” (Ibata 2). Many people have tried to perpetuate the myth that J.R.R. Tolkien was racist. They cite various scenes in The Lord of the Rings, in both the books and in the movies. These people are lying or ignorant. J.R.R. Tolkien was not a racist, nor did he ever intend for his novels to be viewed as such. There is plenty of evidence to defend Tolkien from these claims such as: the themes of his novels, like The Lord of the Rings; the clear messages in his personal writings and his upbringing; and the characters from his novels.

The themes that are evident in works such as The Lord of the Rings are clearly not racist. The triumph of “the little man” is one of the major themes of The Lord of the Rings. “Nothing could be more contrary to the assumptions of racism than a hobbit as a hero.” (Anderson 872). At the beginning of Tolkien's epic, the hobbits are looked down upon by the other races of Middle-Earth. They are overlooked constantly, in fact Treebeard and the ents do not recognize them at all, stating “If I had seen you before I heard you, I should have just trodden on you, taking you for little orcs.” (The Two Towers 67). However the hobbits soon prove to worthy of admiration, both Merry and Pippin fight as well as any man, and Frodo and Sam destroy the Ring. Treebeard himself takes back his remarks made when he first met the hobbits, asking them to have a final drink with him before they go their separate ways. (The Return of the King 260). The Ring is a corrupting influence, but it also gives whoever wears it great power. It is not hard to see, then, where the theme that power can corrupt comes from. The theme itself does not contradi...

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...rch, 1998.

Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2010. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/BioRC

Anderson, Rearick III. “Why is the Only Good Orc a Dead Orc? The Dark Face of Racism Examined in Tolkien's World.” Modern Fiction Studies. 50.4 (2004): 861-874. Platinum Periodicals, ProQuest. Web.

Ibata, David. “The Lord of Racism.” Chicago Tribune 12 Jan 2003.

Kim, Sue. “BEYOND BLACK AND WHITE: RACE AND POSTMODERNISM IN THE LORD OF THE RINGS FILMS.” Modern Fiction Studies 50.4 (2004): 875-907. Platinum Periodicals, ProQuest. Web.

Tolkien, J.R.R.. The Fellowship of the Ring. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1954

Tolkien, J.R.R.. The Hobbit. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1966

Tolkien, J.R.R.. The Return of the King. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1955

Tolkien, J.R.R.. The Two Towers. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1954
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