What punishments of God are not gifts?” The meaning of suffering in Tolkien’s life and work

Open access

Abstract

J. R. R. Tolkien, as somebody who experienced a difficult early life as an orphan and then as a World War I soldier, endured enough trauma and suffering in his life for it to become a significant element in almost all of his fictional works. This paper explores Tolkien’s understanding of the effects of suffering in human life, which was shaped by his religious belief. He presents pain as an inevitable and essential part of the nature of the Fallen World; yet while it may seem at first as a form of punishment, if treated appropriately, it turns into a powerful means of achieving personal or societal salvation.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Baron R. 2015. “Stephen Colbert J.R.R. Tolkien John Henry Newman and the Providence of God.” In: The Catholic World Report. [online]. August 25 2015 10:47 EST. Available at: http://www.catholicworldreport.com/2015/08/25/stephen-colbert-j-r-r-tolkien-john-henry-newman-and-the-providence-of-god/

  • Caldecott S. 2012. The Power of the Ring: The Spiritual Vision Behind the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company

  • Carpenter H. 2002. J.R.R Tolkien: A Biography. London: HarperCollins 1977.

  • Carpenter H. 2006. The Inklings. London: HarperCollins 1978.

  • Chance J. 2001. Tolkien’s Art: A Mythology for England. Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky

  • Garth J. Book review. In Tolkien Studies. Vol. 10 2013

  • Garth J. 2003. Tolkien and the Great War. New York: Houghton Miffin Company

  • Kreeft P. 2005. The Philosophy of Tolkien: The Worldview Behind the Lord of the Rings. Ignatius Press

  • Lewis C. S. The Problem of Pain. 2016 Samizdat University Press 1940.

  • Manni F. 2012. “An Eulogy of Finitude: Anthropology Eschatology and Philosophy of History in Tolkien” In: Testi C. and R. Arduini (eds.). The Broken Scythe. Walking Trees Editions Zurich-Bern. Available at: http://www.lovatti.eu/fr/etp.htm

  • Manni F.; Shippey T. 2014. “Tolkien in between Philology and Philosophy.” In: Arduini R.; Testi A. C. Tolkien and Philosophy. Walking Tree Publishers

  • Marcos L. 2012. On the Shoulders of Hobbits: The Road to Virtue with Tolkien and Lewis. Chicago: Moody Publishers.

  • McIntosh J. 2009 The flame imperishable: Tolkien St. Thomas and the metaphysics of Faerie: dissertation thesis. [online] 2009 University of Dallas. 408 pp. Available at ProQuest.com Neberman S. 2016. “Eucatastrophe: On the Necessity of Sorrow for the Human Person.” In: Mallorn issue 57 winter 2016

  • Pearce J. 1998. Tolkien: Man and Myth. London: HarperCollins

  • St. Thomas Aquinas. 1999. Summa Theologica [online] Raleigh: Hayes Barton Press online available at books.google.com

  • Suffering Is Not in Vain online: https://crownlessdunadan.wordpress.com/2012/10/18/suffering-is-not-in-vain/

  • Tolkien J.R.R.; Carpenter H. (ed.). 2006. The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien. London: HarperCollins 1981.

  • Tolkien J.R.R. 2002. Morgoth’s Ring. London: HarperCollins 1993.

  • Tolkien J.R.R. 2001. Tree and Leaf. London: HarperCollins 1964.

  • Tolkien J.R.R. 2011. The Lord of the Rings. London: HarperCollins 1954.

  • Walsh G. P. 2015. “Philosophic Poet: J.R.R. Tolkien’s Modern Response to an Ancient Quarrel.” In: Wood R. C. Tolkien among the Moderns. University of Notre Dame

  • White M. 2001. Tolkien: A Biography. New York: New American Library

Search
Journal information
Impact Factor


CiteScore 2018: 0.24

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.114
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.781

Metrics
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 645 645 59
PDF Downloads 380 380 16