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Week 7: LOTR: Fellowship of the Rings, Book I, Chap. 1-6 and 7-12


Read about major themes in The Fellowship of the Ring here:

One Wiki to Rule Them All:
Themes in the Lord of the Rings

Write a summary-analysis of your chapter, discussing 1-2 of the major themes in Book I of the LOTR: FOTR. Then write two questions on your assigned chapter. Note 1-2 points of interest from the essay “Who is Tom Bombadil?” (by Beal). Make sure to respond to 1 question posted by a peer as well.

Prologue: Hannah

Chapter 1: Matt
Chapter 2: Mark
Chapter 3: Alyssa A.
Chapter 4: Kate
Chapter 5: Alina
Chapter 6: Alexis R.

Chapter 7: Dominic
Chapter 8: Hugh
Chapter 9: Justine
Chapter 10: Nickolas
Chapter 11: Jaysin
Chapter 12: Aaron


Week 6 Beren and Lúthien +

TinuvielComment on your part of the chapter, providing summary and analysis. Add 1-2 thought-provoking questions for discussion. Then answer a peer’s question. Don’t forget to cross-post in Bb with all required parts of your post.

NB: A complete post in Bb includes: 1) indication of your assigned chapter at the top, 2) your post, 3) a peer’s question, 4) your response. 

1. Kate and Justine: does Beren Erchamion mean in Sindarin? What other words in English sound like “Beren” and how might these be related to Beren’s character? What does Lúthien Tinúviel mean? How do they get their second names?

2. Mark and Jaysin: What is Lúthien doing when Beren sees her for the first time? (How is she like Princess Mee? Like the Pearl-Maiden?) How does Lúthien transform over the course of the narrative — physically, emotionally, relationally?

3. Hannah and Nickolas: What losses does Beren experience, esp. at the beginning of the story? What rash oath does Beren take / impossible task does he agree to and why? To what extent does he succeed? How do Melian, Luthien, and Huan help him?

4. Dominic and Hugh: What are the Silmarils, and what do they symbolize? How do they compare to the pearl in “Pearl”? (Consider

  • All: Be ready to explain the ending of the story: “Yet in her choice the Two Kindreds have been joined; and she is the forerunner of many in whom the Elder see yet, though all the world is changed, the likeness of Luthien the beloved, whom they have lost.”

5. Aaron and Alina: Explain what happens in the chapter concerning Eärendil the Wanderer. How is this story a fitting conclusion to the saga of the Silmarils?

  • All: Identify two points of interest in Beal’s “Orphic Powers in the Legend of Beren and Lúthien.”


Week 5 The Silmarillion

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Comment on your chapter, providing summary and analysis. Add 1-2 thought-provoking questions for discussion. Then answer a peer’s question. Don’t forget to cross-post in Bb with all required parts of your post.

NB: A complete post in Bb includes: 1) indication of your assigned chapter at the top, 2) your post, 3) a peer’s question, 4) your response. 

Ainulindalë: Kate and Justine

Valaquenta: Mark and Alyssa

Silmarillion, Chap. 1: Jaysin and Nickolas

Silmarillion, Chap. 2: Hannah and Alexis

Silimarillion, Chap. 3 Dominic and Alina

Silmarillion, Chap. 7: Matt and Aaron

Silmarillion, Chap. 12: Hugh and Kristen

Week 4 The Hobbit, Chap. 11-19 and Beal, “Why is Bilbo Baggins Invisible?”


Comment on your chapter, providing summary and analysis, and include 1 or 2 points that were meaningful to you from Beal’s “Why is Bilbo Baggins Invisible?” Add 1-2 thought-provoking questions for discussion. Then answer a peer’s question. Don’t forget to cross-post in Bb with all required parts of your post.

Chapter 11 Jaysin and Aaron P
Chapter 12 Nickolas and Alyssa
Chapter 13 Hannah and Matt
Chapter 14 Manya and Alexis R.
Chapter 15 Justine and Dominic
Chapter 16 Alina
Chapter 17 Hugh
Chapter 18 Kate
Chapter 19 Alexis A.

Week 2 “On Fairy Stories” and _The Hobbit_


  • How does Tolkien define and explain:
    • fantasy?
    • recovery, escape, consolation?
  • Why is “joy” an important part of defining “fairy-story”?
  • What does Tolkien mean when he says “The Gospels contain a fairy-story” (p. 387)?
  • How does “On Fairy-Stories” help us to understand Tolkien’s eucatastrophic rewritings … and The Hobbit?
  • The Hobbit: Post a reflection paragraph on your assigned chapter with 1-2 question for peers to respond to and discuss in class.
    • Chap 1 Jaysin & Alyssa
    • Chap 2 Nickolas
    • Chap 3 Hannah
    • Chap 4 Alexis R & Alexis A.
    • Chap 5 Dominic
    • Chap 6 Alina
    • Chap 7 Hugh
    • Chap 8 Kate
    • Chap 9 Justine
    • Chap 10 Manya and Matt

Week 15: “Leaf by Niggle”


Read Tolkien’s story, “Leaf by Niggle,” in Tales from the Perilous Realm. Then write on your assigned question below; you also may expand your thoughts beyond the answer to the question if you wish. It is best to know the answers to all the questions for class discussion on Monday, but you only have to write out the answer to one. Remember to pose 1-2 questions on the story that commenters may answer as well. Your questions may aim to relate “Leaf by Niggle” to Tolkien’s other works that we have studied this term.

1) Carolyn: What does the word (here, name) “Niggle” mean?

2) Eric: How does Niggle see his life and his artwork? What does he wish for? Do you think JRRT saw himself similarly and wished for the same things? What does the character of Niggle suggest about JRRT as artist and/or writer?

3) Jessica: Is the description of the tree an allegory? If so, of what? Is the tree a symbol? From your reading of The Lord of the Rings, to JRRT, what do trees seem to symbolize?

4) Diana: What is a “parish”? What may Mr. Parish, Niggle’s neighbor, stand for? (Think of the commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”)

5) Sonja: How does Mr. Parish’s lack of appreciation and affirmation of Niggle’s artistic endeavors affect Niggle? How does this compare to Niggle’s lack of attention to gardening?

6) Anna: What does the Inspector of Houses seem to represent, socially speaking?

7) Carmen: As the story goes on, what do we realize “the journey” really is? Who is the “Driver”? The “Porter”?

8) Jaime: Think of the traditional Catholic conception of hell, purgatory, and heaven. What might the “Work-house Infirmary” be?

9) Emily: What seems to be the role of the Medical Board / Court of Inquiry? What are readers to understand when the narrator says that Niggle “was becoming master of his time” vs. when the Voice that says his heart did not function properly, he wasted his time (“not even amusing himself!”), he never got ready for his journey, and he arrived almost destitute (as the Porter observed, “no luggage?”)?

10) Heather S: What does the Second Voice’s proposal for “Gentle Treatment” make Niggle feel?

11) Tarah: What is the “next stage” like? (Think of the world of Platonic forms!) Why does Niggle fall off his bicycle when he first arrives there? What does he say when he sees it?

12) Jason: What does it mean that each leaf was “dated”? and “produced in collaboration with Mr. Parish”? What about the birds? Think of the Parable of the Mustard Seed! Is this whole story an allegory … or a parable?

13) Heather G: How do Niggle’s and Parish’s role change here? Why is that significant?

14) Sierra: Notice the tonics drawn from the Fountain. What is their effect?

15) Lexi: When the tree is in full-blossom, a shepherd comes down from the Mountains. He asks, “Do you want a guide? Do you want to go on?” He reveals the name of the place. What is it?

16) Miranda: “He turned and looked back for a minute. The blossom on the Great Tree was shining like flame. All the birds were flying in the air and singing.” Then he climbs the mountains. What do you think of this moment?

17) Mysti: What is Councillor Tompkins’ opinion of Niggle? Remember the Inspector of Houses! Why is he sharing his opinion with Atkins, the schoolmaster, do you suppose? What did Tompkins want that belonged to Niggle? … But what is the Second Voice’s opinion of Niggle’s work?

18) Nuha: What happens to Niggle’s painting on earth? What happens to it in eternity?

19) Chris: What is the painting’s new name? What is the significance of this name?

20) Katelyn and Meredith: What does this story say about the importance of art and artists and their relationship to this world and the next?

Week 14: Lord of the Rings, Book VI (The Return of the King)


Write about ONE theme in Book VI, demonstrating how it occurs with three pieces of literary evidence, OR analyze one character in terms of strengths, weaknesses and role in the plot development. For those writing on Appendix A, how do the re-tellings of the stories of Beren and Lúthien and Aragorn and Arwen enlarge (or emphasize) key themes of the LOTR? Write TWO questions on your assigned chapter. You must write the questions on your assigned chapter or appendix. Make comments in response to TWO questions.

Chapter 1: Carolyn, Eric
Chapter 2: Jessica, Diana
Chapter 3: Kristen, Sonja, Anna
Chapter 4: Carmen, Jaime
Chapter 5: Emily, Heather S., Tarah

Chapter 6: Jason, Heather G.
Chapter 7: Sierra, Lexi
Chapter 8: Miranda, Mysti
Chapter 9: Nuha, Chris
Appendix A: Katelyn, Meredith