19417RE: [mythsoc] two queries
- Feb 13, 2008For what it's worth, in the early drafts of the final chapters of _The
Lord of the Rings_, narrating the events leading up to the scouring of
the Shire, many of the defiant words and deeds are Frodo's. In
revision, Tolkien transferred these to Pippin and more often Merry.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf
Of John D Rateliff
Sent: Wednesday, February 13, 2008 11:43 AM
Subject: Re: [mythsoc] two queries
On Feb 7, 2008, at 2:57 PM, Croft, Janet B. wrote:
> On the second question about pacifists - there's a section in my
> book _War and the Works of J.R.R. Tolkien_ on the hawk/dove
> interpretations of Tolkien - see pp. 6-8. Phillip Helms is the
> example I used. In a 1986 piece in Minas Tirith Evening Star he
> read Tolkien as purely pacifist because of Frodo's attitude at the
> end. The thing that got me was that he actually quoted Tolkien's
> letters to his sons in the war but left out the bits where Tolkien
> expressed his pride in their service and his wish that he could be
> actively involved. Not to mention the bits where it was actually
> armed resistance that freed the Shire.
Ah. Yes, that's probably the one. I actually had this on my shelves
within reach (between Randal Helms' second book and that awful one by
the Hildebrandts) but forgot about it in the thirteen years that have
lapsed since I read it. On rereading it now, I see that he tries to
convey what it was like to be there in the sixties and why antiwar
activists of that era embraced JRRT's book. Which, of course, is
quite a different thing from determining Tolkien's own attitude
towards war and pacifism.
By the way, I've now found and read CSL's "Why I Am Not A
Pacifist", in the collection C. S. LEWIS: ESSAY COLLECTION & OTHER
SHORT PIECES, ed. Lesley Walmsley . I highly recommend the
collection, which includes a lot of ephemeral pieces that address all
kinds of (then-) contemporary issues, but not the essay. Certainly I
don't think CSL will convince anyone who doesn't agree with him
already, nor do I think he intends to. Anyone really interested in
the topic will want to read the essay for himself or herself, of course.
For the sake of those who don't have the essay handy, re. the
specific 'turn the other cheek' passage Lewis argues that this cannot
have any military application, since "the audience were private
people in a disarmed nation". For him, it applies only to "an injury
to me by my neighbour and a desire on my part to retaliate". He does
not link it to Peter's behavior in the Garden but instead to two
passages in the epistles (Romans 13:4 and Ist Peter 2:14) which argue
that Christians must be submissive before authority and obey their
governments in all things.* His larger argument here is that majority
opinion is against pacifism, which must therefore be wrong.
He also argues that if the two people in the 'turn the other
cheek' example aren't equals, Christ's admonition does not apply --
for example, if a college student were to strike his tutor. I found
this specific exemption highly amusing.
*these come from the same passages that declare wives must be
submissive to their husbands (1st Peter 3:1) and that governments
rule by divine right ('Let every person be subject to the governing
authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those
that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore he who resists the
authorities resists what God has appointed'; Romans 13:1-2a).
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