J.R.R. Tolkien Biography Essay

1897 words - 8 pages

J.R.R. Tolkien was born in South Africa, although he considered himself a British man throughout his adulthood. He experienced World War I firsthand in the trenches. He was a professor of Old English and other archaic languages and had a strong love for such languages. Tolkien also felt a strong tie for his homeland, England, and desired to create mythology for England. Tolkien was able to write the first modern fantasy novel through his life experiences and his love for archaic languages and British lore.
Tolkien's mother, Mabel Suffield, left England in March of 1891 for South Africa to marry a man by the name of Arthur Tolkien. They had been engaged for years; however Mabel's father had denied Mabel her marriage due to her young age. Tolkien's father, Arthur Tolkien, had sailed to South Africa a few years earlier to try out his luck in the diamond discovery craze. Only a few short years later, Arthur and Mabel gave birth to a son, named none other than John Ronald Reuel. Tolkien lived in a village surrounded by wilderness in his first few years and faced several adventures. Three of his pinafores were chewed off by a monkey. He avoided several snakes. He stumbled upon a tarantula, and ran around until his nurse grabbed him and sucked out the poison. Perhaps this is why Tolkien includes poisonous spiders in his future tales (Carpenter 13). Mabel and Arthur gave birth to a second son, and within two years Arthur passed away from a severe case of rheumatic fever.
After Arthur's death, Mabel and Tolkien's younger brother Hilary returned to England to the West Midlands of England. Tolkien was exposed to the rural and industrial sides of England. The area was heavily polluted and could be the reason for Tolkien's hatred of industry and machines in his literature (Doughan). The Tolkien family quickly relocated to Birmingham so that Tolkien could attend King Edward VI School. As an avid reader, Tolkien was influenced by some of the great writers of his day including G.K. Chesterton and H.G. Wells (Rayment). Mabel decided to join the Roman Catholic Church, splitting herself and the children from both sides of the family. In 1904, Mabel Tolkien was diagnosed as having diabetes. She passed away in November of that year leaving the two orphaned boys destitute. The family's priest, Father Francis took over, and took care of the children. Already, Tolkien displayed a remarkable skill for language. He proficiently learned Latin and Greek and was quickly became competent in a number of other languages, including Gothic and Finnish. He was already busy making up his own languages solely for entertainment (Doughan). At his boarding house, Tolkien fell in love with a young woman named Edith Bratt. Tolkien and Edith were caught in affectionate circumstances and so their relationship was frowned upon. Edith began to distract Tolkien's studies, and so Father Morgan split the young couple. At first try, Tolkien failed to enter college. ...

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