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Please help me out

L

Lestfall

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im writing a research paper on Tolkien's motives in writing Lord of the Rings. The short and long of it is that i'm disproving an essay which i read stating that Tolkien buried intentions of racism in his texts (dark being the skin or token color of most evil races and characters, with the exception of those who are sallow-skinned and slant-eyed-this all based on the conflicts the british held with the races outside their little chunk of the world during the world wars [Tolkien's lifetime]).
like i said, i'm disproving this, claiming that believers of this sort of thing dont fully understand the complexity of the racial structure Tolkien built for his stories, but i need examples supporting both ends of the argument and it's been years since i last read the books. can somebody supply me with some in-text evidence? i'd be eternally greatful.
 

Lantarion

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Welcome, Lestfall! That sounds like an excellent paper.
Hmm, but it might be a harder job to disprove the racism. He obviously didn't intentionally include racist notations in his works, as he was a tolerant Christian. I would rather lay the black and white symbols as dark and light imagery. It is widely acknowledged that dark things are commonly 'evil' or bad, because it is a metaphor of the night which is unknown and mysterious, which our mind interprets as dangerous. Light is always a good thing, as can be seen in the Bible, eg. when Jesus appears to his disciples 'clothed in light'. And the Sun is always considered a sign of hope and glory; as the Sun the main source of light on this Eacrth, I would say that counts. :)
I hope I helped, but I'm sorry I didn't look for in-text notes.
 
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Lestfall

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thank you, pontifex

thanks, pontifex. indeed, ive already related the black/white/dark/light instances to tha abscence or presence of light in opposition of the less-traditional caucasion vs. non-caucasion bid.
 

Goro Shimura

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It just occured to me that you could point out that the Numenoreans were patterned more or less after the Egyptians.

(In fact... it's hard not to read the Akallabeth and not imagine Pharaoh whenever JRRT refers to the Numenoreans "Hardening their Hearts." The Faithful seem to correspond to the Israelites.)

And speaking of Israelites... have you seen the letter JRRT wrote to the German publishing company asking him if he was a pure Aryan? He wrote back a very scathing letter saying that he thought it unfortunate that he didn't have any Jewish ancestors.
 

Eonwe

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Originally posted by Goroshimura
(In fact... it's hard not to read the Akallabeth and not imagine Pharaoh whenever JRRT refers to the Numenoreans "Hardening their Hearts." The Faithful seem to correspond to the Israelites.)
Hmm Hooom. Interesting. Whom would be Moses? And the lightning, clouds of eagles, warning signs would be like the plagues?
 

Goro Shimura

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Eonwe...

The Akallabeth is more of a blend of themes that I see in Genesis, Exodus, and the books of Kings and Chronicles. The play by play of "good king bad king" is the most striking similarity-- apart from Sauron-Satan's temptations to break the ban.

It's does not parallel Exodus in detail-- mostly just in tone and the broad strokes:

A powerful worldly nation persecutes a band of people faithful to the servants of the one true God. They refuse to humble themselves, and their nation is decimated by heavenly powers. The faithful escape and establish a powerful nation in another land.

I suppose it's a story that shows up in dozens of religions.... :p
 

Goro Shimura

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Just thought of another thing.

You may want to check his letters for any remarks he made about South Africa. I believe he disliked the racism he observed there... but I don't have a copy of his letters handy to double-check this.
 

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