Study Help Essay Questions


1. What do the characters with the closest ties to nature, such as Old Man Willow, Tom Bombadil, and the Ents, suggest about the significance of nature in Middle-earth? Is nature good or evil, helpful or harmful?

2. Tolkien has often been criticized for creating stereotypical female characters. How does an analysis of Éowyn, Galadriel, or Arwen support or refute this criticism?

3. Compare a character or scene from the book to its representation on film. What has changed in the film version, and how do the changes affect interpretations of the scene or character?

4. Several episodes were omitted or added to the film adaptations: Tom Bombadil, the scouring of the Shire, and Gollum's repentance on the stairs of Cirith Ungol were left out, for example, while the warg battle, Aragorn's near death, and Frodo's repudiation of Sam were created for the film. How do these changes create or emphasize a particular interpretation of the trilogy?

5. What is the role of the songs, stories, and legends described in the book? What relationship do the characters perceive between their own actions and the stories they know and tell? What does this suggest about the significance of stories and storytelling more generally?

6. Imagine that you have been invited to the Council of Elrond. Write an essay in which you argue for or against destroying the Ring, providing supporting evidence for your position and refuting the opposing arguments.

7. Does the quest succeed because of the courage and heroism of particular characters, because of fate, or because of luck? Support your conclusion with specific examples from the text.

8. So many scenes could be used as endings to the novel. What effect does the presence of so many ending scenes have on the novel?