In his novel, Tolkien uses the conflict between characters and nature to each society that the consequences Of disrupting nature are immediate and devastating. The meaning of nature in this context is not referring to the orientation of a certain thing, but instead it is referring to the natural world. In Toolkit's novel, the natural world can be symbolized the realm of his fictional Middle Earth. The hobbies run into several conflicts with nature on their journey through Middle Earth.
For example, as they are preparing to go into the Old Forest, Merry Brandenburg tells the other hobbies about the Bonfire glade saying, "The hobbies came and cut down hundreds of trees, and made a retreat bonfire in the Forest, and burned all the ground in a long strip east of the Hedge. " (Tolkien 1 57) In the story, the Old Forest is not viewed as a forest today would be viewed. The Forest that the hobbies travel through is actually alive and has a personality and feelings. Therefore, the bonfire made by the people of Backhand can be seen as a terrible act of genocide in the context of the story.
This act of cruelty is the foundation for the Forest's hate against Frond, Sam, Pippin, and Merry. Furthermore, the manifestation of the revenge of the Forest can be seen when Old Man Willow, a willow tree in the Forest, swallows Merry and Pippin. By putting a tree that can seek revenge and swallow people whole into his story, Tolkien highlights the importance of the immediate consequences of society's abuse of nature. Later, Sam and Frond try to think of how to get Merry out, and Sam says, "If it don't let them go, I'll have it down if I have to gnaw at it. (Tolkien 1 66) The aggression shown by the tree is only followed by more aggression from Sam. Tolkien wants us to end this constant cycle of aggression. Merry warns Sam from inside the tree that, if they hurt Old Man Willow any more, the tree will split him in two. If Sam does not stop his aggression, there will be deadly consequences for Merry Brandenburg. Here, Tolkien reveals to us the devastating and deadly consequences of society's aggression towards nature. Today, one of the biggest consequences of society's abuse of nature is global warming.
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By not being environmentally aware of the consequences of our actions, we have caused a situation that could potentially be catastrophic. By using these conflicts of character versus nature, Tolkien teaches today's society that it needs to recognize these immediate and deadly consequences and stop the hectically show of aggression it has towards nature. In addition to the conflict of person versus nature, Tolkien uses the conflict between a character and his fate to show that people should choose their own fate and make their own destiny.
It is easy to see in the novel how some characters are enunciating of their fate, while others are not only accept their fate, but freely choose it. For example, when Frond first finds out from Gangland how important the ring is, he is much less than accepting of the task that is ahead of him. Frond whines, "Gangland, what am to do? For now am really afraid. What am to do? What a pity that Bilbo did not stab that vile creature [Googol], when he had a chance! " (Tolkien 92) Gangland scolds Frond for wishing death upon someone so unreasonably.
Frond realizes he was at fault and eventually does accept his task of carrying the ring because he has to. However, it seems that if he had to choice, he would not want the responsibility of the ring. On the contrary, Sam is completely willing to accept his fate. After Sam sees the elves that he has been so curious about, Frond gives him the choice to continue following him On the journey or to go back to the shire. Sam replies, "l don't know how to say it, but I seem to see ahead, in a kind of way. Now we are going to take a very long road, into darkness, but know can't turn back. I don't rightly know what I want: but I have something to do before the end, and it lies ahead, not in the shire. " (Tolkien 127) Sam does not know what his fate is. All he knows is that he needs to follow it. After Cam's encounter with the elves and the decision to follow his fate, he grows in maturity and takes on more responsibility. Tolkien wants people today to be like Sam, and accept what they have to do and be active in choosing their own Sistine, even though it may not be in their interest.
Most importantly, Tolkien uses the conflict between the character and himself to show that people should fight for something that is greater than themselves. In this story, Tolkien stresses that friends should fight for one another. The hobbies are not very brave creatures, but Frond and his fellowship would do anything for each other. For example, Frond thinks about leaving his friends behind and escaping the barrow-Wight but, "the courage that had awakened in him was now too strong: he could not leave his friends so easily. Tolkien 195) He stays and fights for his friends by drawing out his dagger and cutting off the hand of the crawling arm that was about to lop off the heads of his unconscious friends. This was a selfless act by Frond, and it took an enormous amount of courage on his part to not run away. Today people are very selfish and greedy. People obsess over themselves so much that they rarely consider others when making decisions, even if they are considered friends. Through the internal conflict of Frond, Tolkien is teaches people that they should act with the same kind Of selflessness that Frond did.
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