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Dreams in Lord of the Rings? (Philosophie in school)

Amelie

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Hey everybody,

I have a really important project in school were I have to write a paper in philosophie from Lord of the Rings. I have chosen the topic "dreams" because I wanted to find out more about the different ways to dream etc.

My problem is: I don't know where to begin with connecting the topic "dreams/dreaming" with The Lord of the Rings. Of course I have made a lot of research but I hardly found something exept that for example Tolkien himselfe was a lucid dreamer and that the story partly emerged because of his dreams.

(I have to say that I'm a little afraid that I should have chosen a different topic... but I guess it's too late now.)

My question is now, if you have any ideas, quotes, information, etc. that could be useful. Do you think that there is any way to write a long paper about for example the dreams, frodo has in the book? Or do you think that there is no way that I could write it about this topic at all?

Thanks for your help, every idea and suggestion is welcome!

Amelie :)
 

Halasían

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Hello Amelie,
I think you could write your paper in a perspective of a dream in the tale of Lord of the Rings. Frodo dreamed of adventures when he listened to Bilbo talk of his adventures, and Aragorn I am sure dreamed of Arwen while he was off in the wild after he met her. Or, maybe it coul dbe you dreaming of being in the story somewhere? I think you will have to limit the scope somehow and concentrate on a single character or part of the overall tale. I think this could be written, but I'm not sure what all is required in the paper. I'm likely not being much help but the idea of writing a paper on Lord of the Rings fascinates me.
 

Amelie

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Hello Amelie,
I think you could write your paper in a perspective of a dream in the tale of Lord of the Rings. Frodo dreamed of adventures when he listened to Bilbo talk of his adventures, and Aragorn I am sure dreamed of Arwen while he was off in the wild after he met her. Or, maybe it coul dbe you dreaming of being in the story somewhere? I think you will have to limit the scope somehow and concentrate on a single character or part of the overall tale. I think this could be written, but I'm not sure what all is required in the paper. I'm likely not being much help but the idea of writing a paper on Lord of the Rings fascinates me.
First of all, thanks fo sharing your idea!
It would defenitely be a nice paper but I think that it may be a little bit more like a story or something. What I have to write is more like a "Science" Paper (Thats what it is called here in Germany...) and it is kinda hard to explain how it works because philosophie is a subject that is really "free" but on the other hand you have to explain your topic to the reader. Of course we are allowed to use our own ideas and imagination but we are also supposed to use other literature and stuff to really get to know the topic in a "scientistic" way.
 

Halasían

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I see. Tying together ones own dreams with dreams of a written character in a fantasy world and presenting it as a research paper is indeed quite the challenge. I may give this some thought and get back to you.
 

Merroe

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Dreams play an important role in the narrative. You might want to elaborate on how much influence dreams had on the actions of the key persons, how it shaped the story and for which functions the author uses dreams in his book.

Let me just take the first part “The Fellowship of the Ring” (you may want to proceed with a similar analysis of dreams in the next two books). Now follows a suit of instances of dreams in that part.

Frodo's dream of exploring the wild lands, and how this progressively shaped his acceptance of the thought:

But half unknown to himself [Frodo] the regret that he had not gone with Bilbo was steadily growing. He found himself wondering at times, especially in the autumn, about the wild lands, and strange visions of mountains that he had never seen came into his dreams. He began to say to himself: ‘Perhaps I shall cross the River myself one day.’ To which the other half of his mind always replied: ‘Not yet.’

Sam's dreams of elves, making him more available to follow Frodo in the hope of seeing elves one day.

Frodo's dream whilst still in Crickhollow, foreboding of danger and seeing things in his farther future:

Eventually he fell into a vague dream, in which he seemed to be looking out of a high window over a dark sea of tangled trees. Down below among the roots there was the sound of creatures crawling and snuffling. He felt sure they would smell him out sooner or later.
Then he heard a noise in the distance. At first he thought it was a great wind coming over the leaves of the forest. Then he knew that it was not leaves, but the sound of the Sea far-off; a sound he had never heard in waking life, though it had often troubled his dreams. Suddenly he found he was out in the open. There were no trees after all. He was on a dark heath, and there was a strange salt smell in the air. Looking up he saw before him a tall white tower, standing alone on a high ridge. A great desire came over him to climb the tower and see the Sea. He started to struggle up the ridge towards the tower: but suddenly a light came in the sky, and there was a noise of thunder.

The experience of going through events so incredible they must be kept for dreams, like the enchantment and dangers of the Old Forest:

‘Do you know, Sam,’ he [Frodo] said at length, ‘the beastly tree threw me in! I felt it. The big root just twisted round and tipped me in!’
‘You were dreaming I expect, Mr. Frodo,’ said Sam. ‘You shouldn’t sit in such a place, if you feel sleepy.’
‘What about the others?’ Frodo asked. ‘I wonder what sort of dreams they are having'.

And the same, still in the Old Forest:

Strange furtive noises ran among the bushes and reeds on either side of them; and if they looked up to the pale sky, they caught sight of queer gnarled and knobbly faces that gloomed dark against the twilight, and leered down at them from the high bank and the edges of the wood. They began to feel that all this country was unreal, and that they were stumbling through an ominous dream that led to no awakening.

Frodo's foreboding of coming danger, in Tom Bombadil's house:

In the dead night, Frodo lay in a dream without light. Then he saw the young moon rising; under its thin light there loomed before him a black wall of rock, pierced by a dark arch like a great gate. It seemed to Frodo that he was lifted up, and passing over he saw that the rock-wall was a circle of hills, and that within it was a plain, and in the midst of the plain stood a pinnacle of stone, like a vast tower but not made by hands. On its top stood the figure of a man. The moon as it rose seemed to hang for a moment above his head and glistened in his white hair as the wind stirred it. Up from the dark plain below came the crying of fell voices, and the howling of many wolves. Suddenly a shadow, like the shape of great wings, passed across the moon. The figure lifted his arms and a light flashed from the staff that he wielded. A mighty eagle swept down and bore him away. The voices wailed and the wolves yammered. There was a noise like a strong wind blowing, and on it was borne the sound of hoofs, galloping, galloping, galloping from the East. ‘Black Riders!’ thought Frodo as he wakened, with the sound of the hoofs still echoing in his mind. He wondered if he would ever again have the courage to leave the safety of these stone walls.

An example of confusion between reality and dream again, on the Barrow Downs:

‘What in the name of wonder?’ began Merry, feeling the golden circlet that had slipped over one eye. Then he stopped, and a shadow came over his face, and he closed his eyes. ‘Of course, I remember!’ he said. ‘The men of Carn Dûm came on us at night, and we were worsted. Ah! the spear in my heart!’ He clutched at his breast. ‘No! No!’ he said, opening his eyes. ‘What am I saying? I have been dreaming. Where did you get to, Frodo?’

And another one, when Merry met a Black Rider in Bree:

'I am afraid that’s true,’ said Merry, ‘though I don’t know what I said. I had an ugly dream, which I can’t remember. I went to pieces. I don’t know what came over me.’

Frodo's foreboding of danger, at the Prancing Pony:

Frodo soon went to sleep again; but his dreams were again troubled with the noise of wind and of galloping hoofs. The wind seemed to be curling round the house and shaking it; and far off he heard a horn blowing wildly. He opened his eyes, and heard a cock crowing lustily in the inn-yard. Strider had drawn the curtains and pushed back the shutters with a clang. The first grey light of day was in the room, and a cold air was coming through the open window.

As soon as Strider had roused them all, he led the way to their bedrooms. When they saw them they were glad that they had taken his advice: the windows had been forced open and were swinging, and the curtains were flapping; the beds were tossed about, and the bolsters slashed and flung upon the floor; the brown mat was torn to pieces.

Frodo on his way to Rivendell, wounded by a Black Rider, experiencing a dream of uncertainty and looming danger:

He lay down again and passed into an uneasy dream, in which he walked on the grass in his garden in the Shire, but it seemed faint and dim, less clear than the tall black shadows that stood looking over the hedge.

Idem, a bit further on:

Frodo lay half in a dream, imagining that endless dark wings were sweeping by above him, and that on the wings rode pursuers that sought him in all the hollows of the hills.

Frodo's awakening in Rivendell:

At first he thought that he had slept late, after a long unpleasant dream that still hovered on the edge of memory.

The Hall of Fire repels reality and time and feels dreamlike instead:

Then the enchantment became more and more dreamlike, until he felt that an endless river of swelling gold and silver was flowing over him, too multitudinous for its pattern to be comprehended; it became part of the throbbing air about him, and it drenched and drowned him.

How bad memories fade into distance (at the Council):

Birds were singing, and a wholesome peace lay on the land. To Frodo his dangerous flight, and the rumours of the darkness growing in the world outside, already seemed only the memories of a troubled dream; but the faces that were turned to meet them as they entered were grave.

Boromir's and Faramir's shared dream causing Boromir to set out for Rivendell, and therefore a game-changer in the story. Remember the verse:

Seek for the Sword that was broken:
In Imladris it dwells;
There shall be counsels taken
Stronger than Morgul-spells.
There shall be shown a token
That Doom is near at hand,
For Isildur’s Bane shall waken,
And the Halfling forth shall stand.

Frodo's dreamlike vision of Gandalf's captivity:

‘I saw you!’ cried Frodo. ‘You were walking backwards and forwards. The moon shone in your hair.’
Gandalf paused astonished and looked at him. ‘It was only a dream,’ said Frodo, ‘but it suddenly came back to me. I had quite forgotten it. It came some time ago; after I left the Shire, I think.’

Wishful thinking:

'Yesterday I [Frodo] dreamed that my task was done, and I could rest here, a long while, perhaps for good.’

Anxiety of failure:

He [Frodo] felt himself sinking fast into a warm and hazy dream. He thought a fire was heating his toes, and out of the shadows on the other side of the hearth he heard Bilbo’s voice speaking. I don’t think much of your diary, he said. Snowstorms on January the twelfth: there was no need to come back to report that!
But I wanted rest and sleep, Bilbo, Frodo answered with an effort, when he felt himself shaken, and he came back painfully to wakefulness.

Again confusing reality and attributing hard-to-believe observation to dreams:

His watch was nearly over, when, far off where he guessed that the western archway stood, he fancied that he could see two pale points of light, almost like luminous eyes. He started. His head had nodded. ‘I must have nearly fallen asleep on guard,’ he thought. ‘I was on the edge of a dream.’

Similarly, when Sam noticed Gollum was following them on the Anduin:

‘I had a funny dream an hour or two before we stopped, Mr. Frodo,’ he said. ‘Or maybe it wasn’t a dream. Funny it was anyway.'

CONCLUSION:

A lot of stuff, to write about dreams - and that's just the first third of the whole book!
Good luck.
 

Halasían

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Wow! Thanks for the indepth post! That should get Amelie doen the right path!

And the same, still in the Old Forest:

Strange furtive noises ran among the bushes and reeds on either side of them; and if they looked up to the pale sky, they caught sight of queer gnarled and knobbly faces that gloomed dark against the twilight, and leered down at them from the high bank and the edges of the wood. They began to feel that all this country was unreal, and that they were stumbling through an ominous dream that led to no awakening.​

That was the bit I was thinking about. I need to read through the books again and refresh. Have only read parts since the last full reading over 10 years ago.
 

Amelie

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Sorry for replyling so late, I was really busy at school.
I finally found time to read your whole text and it is amazing! It really helps me, eventhough I just read the first book I could just remember maybe three of these passages and you kinda gave me hope that my topic may not be as bad as I thought :D
so thank you so so so much! I am actually working at my Exposé at the moment and your Reply helps me already! :)

greetings from Germany to Luxembourg ^^
 

Azrubêl

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Good luck on your paper. If you are comfortable doing so, I'm sure people would enjoy reading it on here after you're finished.
 

Merroe

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No problem, my pleasure. :)

For this type of text analysis it's a godsend to obtain an electronic version, so one can quickly search and find instances of words like "dream", "fantasy", "imagination" or derivatives thereof throughout the books.
 

Amelie

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Good luck on your paper. If you are comfortable doing so, I'm sure people would enjoy reading it on here after you're finished.
thank you :)
well, that is going to be hard because I'm not going to write the paper in english...
 

Merroe

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As I read and speak German quite fluently I wouldn't mind doing some proofreading should you wish it. :) The subject lies close to my own interests.
In any case: good luck with it!
 

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