Publication Date

Summer 2012


School of Communication



Primary Subject Area

Literature, English


Tolkien, Eucatastrophe, On Fairy-Stories, The Lord of the Rings, Middle Earth, Christianity, The Silmarillion, Hope, Despair, Joy, Sorrow, Fantasy, Worldview


Christianity | Literature in English, British Isles | Modern Literature


In his essay titled “On Fairy-Stories,” J.R.R. Tolkien uses the term “eucatastrophe” to describe the unexpected, fortunate turn of events for the protagonist in a fantasy story. Tolkien applies the word beyond its literary context to signify the Christian’s experience of joy, especially resulting from the Incarnation and Resurrection. Such an explicit link between fiction and theology seems absent from his more well-known work, The Lord of the Rings. Yet both Tolkien himself and critics of his writing have labeled the novel a modern-day classic of Christian literature. This thesis will defend the Christian label of The Lord of the Rings by exploring the thematic occurrence of eucatastrophe in both the book and in biblical meta-narrative.