Blog #3: Literary Devices of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring

 1. Allusion: A figure of speech in which an author refers an event, other literary piece, or place by passing reference.

      “’A mortal, Frodo, who keeps one of the Great Rings, does not die, but he does not grow or obtain more life, he merely continues, until at last every minute is a weariness’ (Fellowship of the Ring, 46).”

       This is spoken by Gandalf when he is teaching Frodo about the history of the rings of power. I believe this to be an allusion to a future event in Frodo’s destiny. It seems that he is referring to what Frodo might possibly go through, as though he is mentally preparing the hobbit for what evil is to come. The audience can read this and feel a pull to know more about how the ring’s power works and how Frodo will handle such a burden.

2. Imagery: The author uses words and phrases to create a mental image for the audience.

      “The hobbits sat in shadow by the wayside. Before long the Elves came down the lane towards the valley. They passed slowly, and the hobbits could see the starlight glimmering on their hair and in their eyes. They bore no lights, yet as they walked a shimmer, like the light of the moon above the rim of the hills before it rises, seemed to fall about their feet. They were now silent, and as the last Elf passed he turned and looked towards the hobbits and laughed (Fellowship of the Ring, 78).

       This is a general description of the elves as the hobbits make their way to Crickethollow. The words that Tolkien uses to show how the Elves have an aura about them creates an image in the mind of ethereal beings. It is easy to imagine the gracefulness of their strides and haunting presence in the moonlight. Tolkien does an amazing job of painting a mental picture for the audience for such essential characters in the story so far.

 3. Foreshadowing/Synecdoche: Alluding to future events through indicative words and phrases/ using a part or fraction of one thing to describe the whole thing.

      “The Road goes ever on and on Down from the door where it began. Now far ahead the Road has gone, And I must follow, if I can, Pursuing it with eager feet, Until it joins some larger way Where many paths and errands meet. And whither then? I cannot say. (Fellowship of the Ring, 35).

        This is a poem sung by Bilbo as he makes he way out of the Shire and particularly his town. The audience can perceive this as a foreshadowing of what may lie ahead for Frodo. The poem itself sounds just like the plot of Frodo’s destiny and it intrigues the audience to ask questions such as: What similar road will Frodo travel? Who will he meet along the way? The “pursuing it with eager feet” quote is almost ironic because the hobbits seem to be tired of walking early on in the journey but they still pursue the goal to destroy the ring with as much vigor as ever. 

6 thoughts on “Blog #3: Literary Devices of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring

  1. 1. Allusion: A figure of speech in which an author refers an event, other literary piece, or place by passing reference.

    “’A mortal, Frodo, who keeps one of the Great Rings, does not die, but he does not grow or obtain more life, he merely continues, until at last every minute is a weariness’ (Fellowship of the Ring, 46).”

    This is spoken by Gandalf when he is teaching Frodo about the history of the rings of power. I believe this to be an allusion to a future event in Frodo’s destiny. It seems that he is referring to what Frodo might possibly go through, as though he is mentally preparing the hobbit for what evil is to come. The audience can read this and feel a pull to know more about how the ring’s power works and how Frodo will handle such a burden.

    Well first off i loved your explanation of Foreshadowing/Synecdoche, it is clear and precise and right on the point in which it engages reader with what may lie ahead for Frodo and his adventures, because in reality Bilbo also had left the Shire with uncertainty in his own quest (although not as great of a quest as Frodo’s), so this might also talk about Bilbo’s previous adventures.

    What i really wanted to talk about was your use of Allusion in the Lord of the RIngs. First off, your definition of Allusion is correct, but you seem to not have implemented it incorrectly with your quote. Allusions do not foretell the future or future events, that would be Foreshadow as you have done above. Allusion refers to another work found within another literary work, or another event that takes place in another work. The interpretation of Gandalfs description would be that of Gollum. Gandalf is probably talking about Gollum and his use of the ring and how it led him to become the creature he is. Although we never read the how Gollum became to be Gollum in the Lord of the Rings, we know of it through references that Gandalf and other characters presents us with. The Allusion would be that of the Silmarillion or other works of Tolkien in which we discover how the creature Gollum came to be, in which allusions are found throughout the Lord of the Rings. Although it is too early to talk about Gollum in this point in the book since we do not know who Gollum is yet, the Allusion is still there and is presented through what Gandalf says to Frodo, by referencing other works.

  2. I think that you defined all of the literary devices more or less accurately, but I feel that the example you put for one of them does not fit the definition of the actual term. I am talking about the example you used for allusion, which you defined as the mentioning of an event in passing. The example you used was talking about something that has not happened yet, so I would say that your passage would better exemplify foreshadowing than allusion. This is because I would define an allusion as the mentioning of any event that occurred in passing. I think that the excerpt you cited foreshadowed Frodo’s quest to destroy the ring, but I would not consider that an allusion because I see an allusion as mentioning something that happened in the past only in passing.
    However, I believe that you did really well in defining and exemplifying imagery. This is because the particular excerpt you chose to represent this literary device was perfect due to how I could make a mental image of the scene you chose to write about occurring in my mind, which is what imagery is supposed to do in the first place.

  3. I agree with Adrian what I understand what Foreshadowing is, is an even that you know it will happen soon, as any even for example if Tolkien say the there is orcs on the way that Frodo and Sam are going, there is probably going to be a fight between them, But he didn’t exactly say that it is going to be one but it will be. And in this case what you wrote as an Allusion in my opinion is an example of Foreshadowing because it sounds that something evil is about to happen to him and the Ring. He personally didn’t say what it will happen but it is the feeling of something bad that it will happen.
    “’A mortal, Frodo, who keeps one of the Great Rings, does not die, but he does not grow or obtain more life, he merely continues, until at last every minute is a weariness’ (Fellowship of the Ring, 46).”
    Also I do like what you wrote about Foreshadowing because it express that something will happen on the road. It gives that feeling that I was talking about, the feeling of that something it is about to happen.
    “The Road goes ever on and on Down from the door where it began. Now far ahead the Road has gone, And I must follow, if I can, Pursuing it with eager feet, Until it joins some larger way Where many paths and errands meet. And whither then? I cannot say. (Fellowship of the Ring, 35).

  4. Hi Abby, I think you misinterpreted the meaning of allusion. Generally it is used to refer to something that already has happened, or something that is already famous, as opposed to how you said it was used to foretell Frodo’s hardships. For instance if Gandalf had said something along the line of “The ring bearer but just kind of hangs around and no one really knows why or how they are still here, like Joan Rivers,” that would be an allusion to Joan Rivers, and the use of it would be to help the reader further understand how unnatural it is. This would be more of foreshadowing if I had to say what device they use, as it hints to what may come later in the story. However, I think your example of imagery is great. That passage is full of imagery, and I think your explanation of imagery and how it is used in this context was spot on.

  5. First off, most of your examples and definitions are excellent and I loved the way you explained everything. The definition for allusion you posted is correct and I can see where you are coming from with your example of allusion; however, an allusion must refer to something outside of the text. Your example seems to be more of foreshadow than anything else. I say that because you say that it predicts Frodo’s destiny and what will happen to him. In order for the example to qualify as an allusion, the text would actually have to reference the bible or a myth or some other book. I do not know how many examples of allusion are in The Lord of the Rings but there might be a few good examples. I really love your example of imagery. Your definition is spot on and your example definitely creates a clear mental image for me.

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