The Lord of the Rings
Some stories can affect people emotionally, but once in a while a story can call a person to escape to it. The Lord of the Rings is an enchanting story with masterful use of setting and sensational characters that engages readers and can move them to experience life in a deeper way. As a child, J.R.R. Tolkien lived in Africa until his father passed away. Then his mother moved them to England. Mrs. Tolkien made certain that her children learned literature and languages. It was probably due somewhat to his mother’s influence that Tolkien became who he was: an author and a linguist (Corday).
Tolkien had a special interest in "obscure" languages, even to the point of ...view middle of the document...
The air was warm. The sound of running and falling water was loud, and the evening was filled with a faint scent of trees and flowers, as if summer still lingered in Elrond’s gardens (220).
This describes a peaceful place that is not quite reality. The rest of the world is moving into winter, but Elrond’s gardens haven’t realized that yet. Next, is another example of how Tolkien uses setting to create a picture that could not be obtained by just explaining the scenery. Tolkien is able to bring a place to life with words. We can see this when the Fellowship winds up going through the Mines of Moria.
The Company spent that night in the great cavernous hall, huddled close together in a corner to escape the draught: there seemed to be a steady inflow of chill air through the eastern archway. All about them as they lay hung the darkness, hollow and immense, and they were oppressed by the loneliness and vastness of the dolven halls and endlessly branching stairs and passages. The wildest imaginings that dark rumor had ever suggested to the hobbits fell altogether short of the actual dread and wonder of Moria (307).
This description is one of dread and fear, but like the experience at Elrond’s house, it is filled with word pictures. It tells the reader that this place is terrible and that some evil is afoot.
Of course Tolkien received criticism as all writers do. For instance, Burton Raffel takes the opinion that "his [Tolkien's] descriptions often fail to create ‘sense impressions’ needed to make language ‘more deeply felt and more deeply worked." Raffel also claimed that "Tolkien’s nature descriptions are frequently somewhat overwrought..." (20).
Still, I maintain that Tolkien’s extraordinary ability to paint a picture with words takes the reader into a place they’ve never been and still manages to keep them following the story. The characters that Tolkien artfully created, accent the setting and bring them further to life. This is an attribute to a great setting. Charters explains that "setting must also have a dramatic use. It must be shown, or at least felt, to affect character or plot" (Charters 1008). All through The Lord of the Rings the setting is imposing feelings onto the characters (e.g. fear, dread, peacefulness).
Charters describes characters in literature as "the people who make something happen or produce an effect," and explains that the "characters must come alive" (Charters 1006-1007). Tolkien received criticism on his characters by Raffel as well. Raffel feels that there is "too little meaningful truth about human reality and our own existences in Tolkien’s characters." Kathryn Crabbe seems to disagree with this statement. In her efforts to describe the characters as heroic she also shows us they have some very...