Never Tickle A Sleeping Dragon: The Life Of J.R.R. Tolkien

1298 words - 5 pages

Many writers use fiction as a release for creativity and to escape the boring reality of their lives. Very few writers have lives more interesting than their works. J.R.R. Tolkien, the creator of Middle-earth, is an exception to that pattern. He was simply a remarkable man. He had many different aspects of his career, he was a fantastic writer, and he left behind a massive legacy.
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien’s parents, Arthur and Mabel Tolkien, moved to South Africa after Arthur was promoted at the bank for which he worked (Doughan 1). In Bloemfontein, South Africa, J.R.R. Tolkien was born on January 3rd, 1892, and his younger brother, Hilary, was born on February 17th, 1894 (Doughan 1). On February 15th, 1896, John and his mother and brother were on vacation in England when Arthur Tolkien, who was still in South Africa, died from peritonitis ("J.R.R. Tolkien Biography" 1). The Tolkien’s, who would not have sufficient financial funds, stayed with Mabel’s parents in King’s Heath, England; John and Hilary were taught by Mabel until she died of acute diabetes on November 14th, 1904 (Doughan 1). Mabel assigned her sons guardianship to a close friend, Father Francis (Doughan 1).
Tolkien went to King Edward’s School for grade school, and he studied Anglo-Saxon and Germanic languages and classic literature at Exeter College, University of Oxford and graduated in 1915 ("J.R.R. Tolkien Biography" 1). The United Kingdom entered World War I in 1914, and Tolkien, who waited until after he graduated, enlisted as a second lieutenant in the Lancashire Fusiliers, British Army; on March 22, 1916, before he left for France, he married his longtime sweetheart, Edith Bratt, with whom he had been in correspondence since he was sixteen, and during the course of their marriage, they had four children (Doughan 1). He fought in the Battle of Somme, France, where most of his childhood friends died; Tolkien contracted trench fever and was removed from combat (Doughan 1). His first job after the war was with Oxford Dictionary, and after that he taught English at the University of Leeds and was the youngest professor there (Pettinger 1). In 1925, he became a professor at Oxford University; one of his most notable topics to lecture on was Beowulf (Doughan 1). While he was at Oxford, he started the literary discussion group called “The Inklings”; C.S. Lewis, author of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe series, was a member of “The Inklings,” and he and Tolkien became lifelong friends (Doughan 1).
J.R.R. Tolkien is most known for writing The Silmarillion, The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings, which are the critically-acclaimed tales of hobbits, elves, dwarves, trolls, orcs, dragons, and wizards set in our world six thousand years ago; Middle-earth is actually northwestern Europe (Doughan 1). During his time teaching at Oxford, he spontaneously wrote, “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit,” on paper he was grading, which lead him to explore the idea and then...

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