The Not-So-Sexist Master of Fantasy

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Many call him the master of fantasy. Throughout his career, he wrote hundreds of poems and stories. J.R.R. Tolkien was a pioneer of fantasy literature during the mid-1900’s and continues to be one of the most famous writers to this day. As a young boy, Tolkien loved to learn about words and languages. As he grew older, he came to enjoy not only learning about words but also writing them.

Before Tolkien became famous as a writer, he helped work on The New English Dictionary where he researched the history and origins of words starting with the letter W. He also translated many stories from Anglo-Saxon, Middle English, and other languages. But Tolkien’s most famous work is as an author. His best known works are The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Despite his great success, some critics believe that there is something considerably wrong with Tolkien and his work. These people claim that he is sexist. This is because there is a lack of female characters in many of his stories and the few that do exist do not play any major roles. They also suggest that many of the female characters play the part of a stereotypical housewife, staying at home cooking and cleaning while the men go off to war. Candice Fredrick and Sam McBride, the authors of Women Among the Inklings: Gender, maintain that,

Males operate within a system that is overtly patriarchal. Men are the doers, workers, thinkers, and leaders. Women are homemakers, nurses, and distant love interests. (109)

They argue that this could be because Tolkien had very few female influences in his life. His mother died when he was a young boy, he only had one wife with whom he hardly interacted with later in life, and the vast majority of his colleagues were male scholars. In...

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Enright, Nancy. "Tolkien's females and the defining of power." Renascence: Essays on Values in Literature 59.2 (2007): 93+. Literature Resources from Gale. Web. 22 Mar. 2010.

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