Lord of the Rings: war propaganda?

LouPaulsen LouPaulsen at attbi.com
Sun Dec 15 18:17:03 MST 2002

----- Original Message -----
From: "Danielle Ni Dhighe" <danielle at irsm.org>
To: <marxism at lists.panix.com>
Sent: Sunday, December 15, 2002 6:21 PM
Subject: Re: Lord of the Rings: war propaganda?

> At 07:32 AM 12/15/2002, LouPaulsen wrote:
>  >Unfortunately it is much more correct to charge Tolkien
>  >with racism and sexism.  "Black men" and "swarthy men"
>  >are always on the enemy side.
> I don't think it's necessarily true that his intent was racist if one
> understands the mythologies he patterned his novels after.  The light/dark
> contrast comes from those mythologies and it wasn't about what we would
> understand as "race".

I didn't say anything about his intent.  But unfortunately I think that much
of the content comes not only from mythology but from his consciousness
being determined by the being of contemporary British imperialism.  This
isn't from Norse legend:

"'More Men going to Mordor,' he said in a low voice.  'Dark faces.  We have
not seen men like these before, no, Sméagol has not.  They are fierce.  They
have black eyes, and long black hair, and gold rings in their ears; yes,
lots of beautiful gold.  And some have red paint on their cheeks, and red
cloaks; and the flags are red, and the tips of their spears; and they have
round shields, yellow and black with big spikes.  Not nice; very cruel
wicked Men they look.  Almost as bad as Orcs, and much bigger.  Sméagol
thinks they have come out of the South beyond the Great River's end; they
came up that road."  That is, they're from Africa, although of course the
coastlines have been much changed since that time.  Of course Tolkien
doesn't believe the hobbits should go there and colonize them; he believes
they should stay in their own land and leave them alone.  That's his
pre-capitalism for you.


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