Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Criticism

 I think it is a fair assessment to state that we are all fans of the Hobbit, and the Lord of the Rings and place it highly amongst our literary favorites. Yet, I feel as though there are legitimate criticisms that we can place against Tolkien, and his works. We've already discussed our qualms with his treatment of women and people of color, but what literary problems do you think J.R.R. Tolkien has in his works?

Many think that there can be a legitimate discussion about Tolkien's politics seeping into his works, and a dismissal of other points of view. While Tolkien himself stated that he disliked allegory, it seems prevalent through out his texts. The Lord of the Rings have been criticized by some who state that they show a portrait of a social conservative, with an unhealthy fascination of glory, honor, and the false dichotomy of moral superiority that fails to capture reality. One critic even said it is a "political fantasy" that serves as a "middle-class escapism in a capitalist society".

On a more literary note, some have placed criticism against The Hobbit by stating that it suffers from serious flaws of character, jumps of reason and deus ex machina that detract from the story. They state that the common response, "it's just a children's story" is pedantic at best, and that this serves only to further detract from the work.

What do you think? Do you have problems with the Tolkien's writings? Why?


1 comment:

Vana said...

I think in his writings, one of the biggest problems I have with Tolkien is the way he brushes women to the side. It is not made clear their roles and importance in the stories, though if one analyzes his writings they may see the ways in which women lend to the plot. However, in the movie adaptations of Tolkien's works, the women play a much more prominent role. Galadriel, Arwen, and Eowyn in particular seem far more important in the films. I don't know about you, but I always get shivers when Eowyn pulls off her helmet and growls, "I am no man!" And maybe that exact line could be the counterargument to this point.