'Lord' of the Literature; Tolkien Curriculum Opens Eyes to the Classics

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), July 13, 2004 | Go to article overview

'Lord' of the Literature; Tolkien Curriculum Opens Eyes to the Classics


Byline: Jennifer Lehner, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Teenagers now can take a literature class that immerses them in the world of hobbits, fairies and wizards made popular by the "Lord of the Rings" movies.

Amelia Harper, a teacher from Nashville, N.C., spent 20 months developing "Literary Lesson from 'Lord of the Rings,' " a one-year curriculum for students ages 12 to 18. The course includes background on classics such as "Beowulf," "The Iliad" and the "Arthurian Romances," but its focus is on the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy written by J.R.R. Tolkien.

"In my opinion, it is one of the most powerful pieces of literature ever written by man," Mrs. Harper said. "No other piece of literature that I have ever read can make me both feel and think the way this one does."

Mrs. Harper first read the Tolkien series when she was 15 and read it every summer in her youth. Now 43, the home-schooling parent and teacher said she has read each of the three "Rings" volumes at least 25 times.

"I would visit Middle-earth every day," she said. "It was a mental escape."

When the first "Lord of the Rings " movie was released, Mrs. Harper avoided it, fearing that the film version would not live up to the books she loved so dearly.

When "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" was released on video, however, she set aside her fears and watched the first movie in the trilogy. She was pleasantly surprised.

"When I saw it, I was hooked," the self-described "Tolkien purist" acknowledged. "I was driven back to the books, to check my own memory of how the stories compared."

It was not her own reaction that surprised her the most, however.

"More than anything, I saw the way that young people responded to this film - how they were entranced by it," she said.

Teaching British literature at the time, Mrs. Harper had an idea: Because "The Lord of the Rings" was inspired by classical works, why not use it in conjunction with older texts in a high school literature class?

"I hoped to open their eyes to the wonders of literary creation in a whole new way - a way that would make them want to read and explore other books for themselves," she said.

She made sure her new curriculum did not follow the tendency to present "old tales like trophies under glass, when students really need to see how they impact the stories that they love today."

"It's great to have all these kids now, as a result of this movie, reading a 1,200- to 1,500-page novel," said Ralph Wood, a professor of religion at Baylor University and the author of "The Gospel According to Tolkien."

Reading the Tolkien books "is a good way to work forward and backward," Mr. Wood said. "To understand the epic world, you need to read works like the 'Iliad' and 'Odyssey.' "

Although she originally had planned "Literary Lessons from 'Lord of the Rings' " to be used by home-schooled students, Mrs. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

'Lord' of the Literature; Tolkien Curriculum Opens Eyes to the Classics
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.