Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers

Help / FAQ

printable study guide online download notes summary

<- Previous | First | Next ->
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien - Barron's Booknotes
Table of Contents


Tolkien uses a variety of styles in his works. The Hobbit is
mostly written in relatively simple, friendly language:
"With that the hobbit turned and scuttled inside his round
green door, and shut it as quickly as he dared, not to seem
rude." Tolkien's use of this kind of style makes sense when
you realize that the book was originally published as a
children's book.

The Lord of the Rings, which had been begun as a sequel to
The Hobbit, starts out in similar style. But Tolkien soon
realized that it would be a book of much wider scope than
The Hobbit, and, accordingly, not far into the story he
introduces a more serious tone. Sometimes he uses simple,
conversational speech: "When Frodo came to himself he
was still clutching the Ring desperately." At other times he
uses a very formal style, reminiscent of the language of
both ancient epics and the Bible: "And there came Gandalf
on foot and with him one cloaked in grey; and they met
before the doors of the Houses of Healing."

You will find many songs or poems scattered throughout
Tolkien's books. You may be tempted to skip over these
songs, but take a look at them anyway. They serve
important purposes. They help characterize the people
singing them. They also add humor or set the mood in some
scenes. In addition, Tolkien's characters at times use songs
in the ancient tradition of telling tales through song, as the
minstrels of medieval Europe did. Keep in mind that
Tolkien did not try to write polished poetry. Instead, he
tried to make his songs sound like something that his
characters would make up themselves.

As a scholar of language, Tolkien has a good ear for the
ways different people talk. His characters and their
different races have distinctive styles of speech that reveal
a lot about their personalities. Look at this exchange, for
example, between Bilbo and one of the dwarves in The

"Good-bye and good luck, wherever you fare!" said Balin
at last. "If ever you visit us again, when our halls are made
fair once more, then the feast shall indeed be splendid!"

"If ever you are passing my way," said Bilbo, "don't wait to
knock! Tea is at four, but any of you are welcome at any

As you can see, the main characteristic of Tolkien's style is
to use language in a variety of ways. He even invented
languages for his different races, such as the elves and the
dwarves. You may find it interesting to choose a scene that
you especially like and read it closely, noting the various
ways that Tolkien uses words.

Tolkien also used other techniques of style, such as
personification, metaphor, and imagery. These are
discussed at various points in The Story section of this

Table of Contents

<- Previous | First | Next ->
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien - Barron's Booknotes

  Web Search Our Message Boards   

All Contents Copyright © 1997-2004
All rights reserved. Further Distribution Is Strictly Prohibited.

About Us
 | Advertising | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Home Page
This page was last updated: 10/18/2019 3:22:57 PM