The Influences of Tolkien
The influences of Tolkien are many and great, but of them all, three stand out most; his great love of nature that sprung from his experiences as a youth in the English Countryside, his acute sensitivity and desire to master language, and his involvement in trench warfare in the Great War. Tolkien himself vehemently denied that the war affected his story at all. “The real war does not resemble the legendary war its process or conclusion. If I had been inspired or directed in the development of the legend, then certainly the ring would have been seized and used against Sauron.”
Tolkien’s love of language persisted throughout his life from his child hood years till adulthood. When he was a boy he would study Welsh names that would rush by on railway coal cars, and as an older academic scholar he took to discovering the mystery of language in its northern embodiments. Tolkien tells us as a boy that he loved to rewrite and rethink Norse and Greek mythology in his own manifestations. Possibly what Tolkien is most praised for is fantastic mastery of language. He created two languages for his imaginary race of elves, and they both came from one central language that was derived from the fake history of the story. This fact gives the languages an incredible sense of realism.
Tolkien’s fantasy world was derived from his memory of his childhood, where he spent his time in delectation of the english countryside. The remembrance of his time spent at Sarehole instilled in Tolkien a great love of nature and simplicity, which made the foundation for a main theme of his “The interrelationships of the ‘noble’ and ‘simple’”. All of his noble creatures such as his elves and hobbits exercise respect and understanding of nature.
Living through the Great War and experiencing first hand trench warfare provided the inspiration for the monumental conflict that took place during The Lord of the Rings. The terrible experience of the war must have seemed to Tolkien to be a thing of pure evil with new weapon of destruction tat ravaged the english country side that he loved so dearly. To him the war represented the evil dark privation of light. In Tolkien’s eyes the machine of war stemed from man’s hunger for power and control over the elements which is itself a conflict with the laws of the creator.
Adoration and respect of nature, his love and mastery of language, and his traumatizing experience in trench warfare during World War I all come together to influence his three major works of fiction, The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien uses many themes in the story that relate to his influences. The inescapability of involvement relates to how the US and many other countries were drawn into World War I. The possibility of real loss relates to how much was destroyed during the war, life and property.