Study Guide

The Lord of the Rings Social Sensitivity

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In his preface to the trilogy, Tolkien distinguishes between allegory and applicability in literature. While he disclaims having imposed any allegorical significance on his story, he asserts the right of readers to apply the story as they see fit. In light of this disclaimer, it seems contrary to his intention to interpret The Lord of the Rings as political or social allegory, as some critics have done. On the other hand, readers in all generations can apply to their own age some of the overall principles embodied in the trilogy. The fact, for example, that elves, dwarves, hobbits, and human beings can set aside "racial" differences to work together for the welfare of Middle-earth can be extended to a hope that modern human races can set aside their differences, no more deeply embedded than the distrust between dwarves and elves.

Many battles take place in Middleearth—often...

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This section contains 413 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Lord of the Rings Study Guide
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Epics for Students
The Lord of the Rings from Epics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.