Concluding on this note, the thesis argues that reading The Lord of the Rings in this way renders postcolonial concepts accessible to a whole generation of readers already familiar with the series, and points to the possibility of examining other contemporary texts, or even further analysis of Tolkien's to reveal more postcolonial sensitivities engendered in the texts.; This thesis examines J.R.R. Tolkien's texts The Hobbit, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King from a postcolonial literary perspective. By examining how these texts, written at the decline of the British Empire, engage with the theoretical polemics of imperialism, this thesis takes a new look at these popular and widely regarded books from a stance of serious academic interest. The first chapter examines how certain characters, who are Othered temporally in the realm of Middle-earth, manage to find a place of narrative centrality from the defamiliarized view of Merry, Pippin, Samwise, and Frodo, uncannily reoccurring throughout the narrative in increasingly disturbing manifestations. From there, the thesis moves on to uncanny places, examining in detail Mirkwood, Moria, Dunharrow, and the Shire at the end of The Return of the King. Each of these locations in Middle-earth helps Tolkien to explore the relationship between colonizer, colonized, and fetishism; the colonizer(s) disavow their own fears of these places by fetishizing the pathways they colonize for their safe passage. Since their paths are unsustainable colonially, these fetishes cannot fulfill their function, as the places are marked with unavoidable reminders of wildness and uncontrollability which cannot successfully be repressed for long. Ending this chapter with a discussion of the hobbit's return to the Shire, the argument moves into the next chapter that discusses the small-scale colonization that takes place in the heart of Frodo himself, making the Shire he used to know firmly unavailable to him. The Ring, in this case, is the colonizer, doubling, fracturing, and displacing Frodo's selfhood so that he becomes unfamiliar to himself. The uncanniness that this produces and Frodo's inability to heal from his experience with the Ring, this thesis argues, echoes the postcolonial themes of irreconcilability and the fantasy of origin.


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Thesis Completion





Jones, Anna Maria


Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


College of Arts and Humanities



Degree Program



Arts and Humanities -- Dissertations, Academic;Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Humanities







Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access

5 years

Document Type

Honors in the Major Thesis