Essay by simpetarwen

"Hope – this is what Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings means to me.

Throughout time, people have shared stories with one another, telling tales to embolden and reassure their spirits according to the needs of their age. Early oral traditions shared great epics, repeating them at feasts or around the campfire at night. These old stories provided the same satisfaction that The Fellowship of the Ring gives us today. Nothing encourages us more than to hear how another has grappled with some confounding issue at overwhelming odds and found success. Through the characters, we place ourselves into the story and vicariously achieve the same accomplishments.

Yet how is it that The Fellowship of the Ring inspires us in a seemingly unique way? Children know the answer to this. Who has not known the plaintive request to “Please? Read it again?” Small children thrive on repetition because in the retelling, they learn to predict, control, and practice accomplishing great tasks in their minds before they must actually act. Thus it is through Frodo, the other characters, and through the story itself, that we safely firm our resolve and decide what to do with the time given to us.

And we have hope. "