Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Yesterday in class we talked a little bit about how Tolkien's religion showed through in his writing. Even though he was against the practice of "allegory" his Christianity does show through in many parts of his writing. Prof Donovan mentioned that some criticized the religious aspects of the Silmarillion and this got me to thinking about the question I am about to present. Do you guys think it's okay for a fantasy writer incorporate their religiousness into their writing? Does it hurt the legitimacy of the work because it may make their work not entirely original? Does anyone believe Tolkien's incorporation of religion into his writing could be viewed as "pushing" his views on others?
I for one believe it is okay, but because I happen to share the same religion as Tolkien (Roman Catholic), my impartiality may be compromised. So what do you guys think?

PS-I know religion can be a sensitive topic so be nice!


8 comments:

Troy Wells said...

I forgot to title my post...how embarrassing.

Lorin said...

I think in some ways it's nearly impossible to NOT incorporate some part of yourself into your writing, especially when it comes to something that is a huge part of your life, like your religion or beliefs. So, I think it's okay. If you don't like whatever message comes through in a book, then you don't have to read that book :) Because I share Tolkien's beliefs, the spiritual themes and religiousness (if you could call it that) in his work is what keeps me coming back to read them again and again!

I do know someone, though, who can't stand C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia because of the Christian allegory, but who loves Tolkien's work - so, I guess it depends on whatever person you're talking to about whether or not they find his work too "preachy."

Troy Wells said...

That's interesting because Tolkien was at least partially responsible for converting C.S. Lewis.

Chimera said...

Personally i love how he incorporates what he believes. In a sense it shows that he cares. At the same time though I am noticing that he includes many other aspects of other belief systems. We talked in class about the greek and roman allusions for example. I love that he incorporates more than one as if taking taking the best elements and adding them together.
Does anybody else feel this way?

Anna Adams said...

I believe it's okay for Tolkien to have included religious influences in his writing. I find it very interesting actually, and I love all the different cultural influences in Tolkien's work. It shows he was an intelligent, educated man who was inspired by what he studied. I haven't noticed that he forces his beliefs onto others very much.

Julie Lautenschleger said...

I agree that there are many Christian themes in Tolkien's writings. However, Tolkien doesn't ever seem to tun to the reader to say, "this is how you should live you life." Instead, all of his writing is simply told as a story. He isn't pushing his readers to believe anything, just listen to and enjoy a story. I'm sure his religious background provided a very large base for his work, but I doubt he was trying to sneak in the stories of the Bible for the sake of the souls of his readers.

Julie Lautenschleger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
S. M. said...

I agree with Lorin –art always reflects some aspect of its artist. The themes and spiritual messages that Tolkien gently weaves into his tales are what draws me to his stories. Interestingly, I never get the impression that he’s being “pushy.” In fact, I suspect that Tolkien disliked full allegories because the main purpose of an allegory is to persuade its reader rather than to just let the reader enjoy its story.