Thursday, April 25, 2013

Favorite Works from the Class

If you had to pick one work from our syllabus this term as your favorite, what would it be and why did you pick that one? What does it mean to you? In keeping with our discussion in class today how will you carry it with you beyond this course?

In a different vein, what text did you find the most thought-provoking and enlightening about our topic, whether or not it was your favorite? Why this text?

Conversely, which text did you find least helpful or interesting in thinking about Tolkien's work? What forms the basis for your reaction to this text? Personal analysis or bias, lack of time spent on it in class or in your own study, difficulty of text?


Ashley Cauley said...

Of all the works we've read this semester, I think my least favorite would be the "Unfinished Tales". Some of the content was interesting, but it was very dense and hard to get through.

My favorite was "The Silmarillion". I had never read the whole thing, so I was really interested in the story since it is the cornerstone of Tolkien's mythology. However, I think it would have been helpful to read it straight through. Taking breaks in between to read other works made it hard for me to see/remember "The Silmarillion" in it's entirety. But I do think it is the most important work to read (besides "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings") to understand Tolkien.

sworland said...

"The Children of Hurin" is now my favorite text written by Tolkien. I actually find it really strange that I like this text so much because it's so tragic, but that's what draws me to it. It showcases Tolkien's scope as a writer - to me this text is one of the most powerful tragedies in literature, and Turin is (to use Dr. Donovan's word) squirmy. Is he good or is he bad? I don't know! I don't think Tolkien knows! And I love the agency he gives his readers to decide.

Megan said...

Silmarillion's been my favorite for a long time. There's just so much going on and it's all so exciting.

As for my least favorite, I'd have to say Leaf by Niggle, because although it always strikes me in an emotional way, I can never quite "get" it, so it frustrates me also.

The most thought-provoking and enlightening was, for me, The Story of Kullervo, possibly because it was new, and for many of the connections it had to the story of Turin. That was really cool.

Lorin said...

I think, strangely, The Children of Hurin was one of my favorite texts from the semester. It's tragic, obviously, but there's something really compelling about its tragedy, too. I can't quite put my finger on it. On a much brighter note, I also really liked reading Tolkien's short stories, especially "Smith."

I don't know that I could choose a least favorite! Sooo I'll skip that part.

The most thought-provoking (and one of my favorites as well) was "On Fairy-stories." I just find myself being drawn back to the ideas in that essay over and over again - the ideas of sub-creation, eucatastrophe, Faerie...

Richard Wentworth said...

The Silmarillion was my favorite. The scale is something unlike anything I've read before, and the Elves' point-of-view as well makes it something unique.

The most thought-provoking and enlightening to me was Leaf by Niggle. I felt like that gave us the best idea of how Tolkien felt about his creative work.

My least favorite was Unfinished Tales. There was some stuff I liked, but my problem was that the stuff did feel unfinished, unlike the Silmarillion which had what I felt was a very satisfying ending.

Troy Wells said...

The Silmarillion was my favorite as well. I loved the way he developed the "bad guys" in how many of them were simply reacting to the situations they were put into.

Leaf by Niggle was the most thought-provoking book that the whole class was assigned. Mythopoeia was very enlightening for me personally, but only after having read On Fairy Stories and Leaf by Niggle (I went a little ahead). I would not have gotten nearly as much out of the poem if I have not already had a glimpse into Tolkien's views on the afterlife.
My least favorite was the unfinished tales. Parts of them were insightful and taught me a lot about many things I have wondered about in Middle-Earth, but other parts were not as good as they could have been because they did not have an ending.