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The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien - Barron's Booknotes
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Tolkien's works are written in the third person and sound as
though they are stories being told aloud. In The Hobbit, the
narrator speaks as if he's telling a story to children, often
interrupting himself to make little asides. He also creates a
very clear moral framework for the story, telling you from
the onset whether a character is good or bad or somewhere
in between. This is appropriate for children, who usually
want to be able to easily differentiate good and evil
characters. In The Lord of the Rings, which is intended for
adults, Tolkien no longer does this. Instead he remains for
the most part outside the story, leaving it up to the
characters to judge each other.

The narrator usually follows the story through the eyes of
one of the hobbits. This serves two purposes. First, the
hobbit is generally considered to be a representative of the
modern world, a comfortably familiar character you can
identify with in a book filled with such magical images as
wizards and elves. Second, following the story from the
hobbits' point of view makes the hobbits the heroes of the
book, placing an emphasis on their traits and their way of
looking at the world. In this way, Tolkien shows the
importance of ordinary people and reveals what it is that he
believes makes them so special.

While the narrator of these books generally follows the
story from the point of view of a character, he's not limited
by that character's knowledge. He's able to step out of the
story and offer information and insights that the characters
are not aware of. In this way he's able to show you the total
picture, which can reveal a clear pattern and purpose
behind seemingly random events, while at the same time he
shows how these events appear to the individuals involved.

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The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien - Barron's Booknotes

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