School of Communication
Primary Subject Area
Tolkien, Middle Earth, Fantasy, Lord of the Rings, Christianity, Worldview, Books, On Fairy-Stories, Gollum
Christianity | Modern Literature
Matthews, Geoffrey A., "Truth and Reality in Tolkien’s Middle Earth: The Role of Fantasy in the Christian’s Life" (2012). Senior Honors Theses. Paper 282.
Fantasy literature can express truths found in the physical world and in the Christian faith. J.R.R. Tolkien’s trilogy, The Lord of the Rings is one example of fantasy that does so. In his essay, “On Fairy-Stories” Tolkien introduces four traits of fantasy: subcreation, recovery, escape, and consolation. Beginning with a defense of fantasy, this paper identifies the presence of these traits in the trilogy and how they correlate truth between the Primary and Secondary Worlds. A careful examination of how Tolkien’s worldview is evident in his works follows with a detailed analysis of the portrayal of human nature shown most through the creature Gollum. Finally, a connection between consolation and the beauty of the Gospel reveals how fantasy can attest to the joy of Christianity and how Tolkien’s world is sweetened by the Gospel.