Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Homecoming and Farmer Giles-- before LOTR

Both "Homecoming of Beortnoth, Beorthelm's Son' and "Farmer Giles of Ham" were written not long before Tolkien published The Lord of the Rings. We spoke in class a bit about what this might mean in terms of implications for Tolkien's purpose in writing "Farmer Giles of Ham," but let's now expand that to think about both of these texts and their relationship to the larger topic of Middle-earth. What are the connections between these two short texts and The Lord of the Rings or even The Silmarillion? What does their placement in the chronology of Tolkien's works imply about what he was thinking about at this point in his life?

3 comments:

Michael Lott said...

What I see as the main point of comparison between these two works is the inefficiency of the ruling groups. This would go in line with what Tolken would have seen in the build up to and early period of WWII. Also there seems to be a component of, what was won't come again, with the loss of the Saxon noble. This is seen also at the very end of Farmer Giles of Ham where it says that there was peace as long as the sword was above ground. This links to a historical fact that people were often buried with their weapons. Thus there was peace only while the farmer was alive.
These facts link to The Lord of the Rings mainly through the back story where so much, including two continents, had been destroyed by the war against evil. In addition to this, many leaders of the time had refused to take action against this threat.

Michael Lott said...

What I see as the main point of comparison between these two works is the inefficiency of the ruling groups. This would go in line with what Tolken would have seen in the build up to and early period of WWII. Also there seems to be a component of, what was won't come again, with the loss of the Saxon noble. This is seen also at the very end of Farmer Giles of Ham where it says that there was peace as long as the sword was above ground. This links to a historical fact that people were often buried with their weapons. Thus there was peace only while the farmer was alive.
These facts link to The Lord of the Rings mainly through the back story where so much, including two continents, had been destroyed by the war against evil. In addition to this, many leaders of the time had refused to take action against this threat.

Michael Lott said...

Sorry for the double post, made a mistake when I had to re-log in when I posted.