Interactive Guide Grade 7
The Treasure Trove of Literature, Level 4
(Lesson 39 of The Fellowship of the Ring study)
The theme of self-sacrifice in The Fellowship of the Ring demonstrates that good people will not remain untouched by the battle between good and evil. In order to fight evil, good people must sacrifice their own desires, and they might even be called upon to give up their lives. The fact that so many characters in The Fellowship of the Ring practice self-sacrifice is one way that Tolkien’s book reflects his Catholic Faith. In a letter to his son Michael, Tolkien wrote:
Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament... There you will find romance, glory, honour, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves on earth, and more than that: Death: by the divine paradox, that which ends life, and demands the surrender of all, and yet by the taste—or foretaste—of which alone can what you seek in your earthly relationships (love, faithfulness, joy) be maintained, or take on that complexion of reality, of eternal endurance, which every man’s heart desires.
When Tolkien tells his son that he will find “Death” in the Blessed Sacrament, he is probably referring to the self-sacrifice that Jesus demonstrated in His death on the cross. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church , “In the Eucharist, Christ gives us the very body which he gave up for us on the cross, the very blood which he ‘poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins’” (1365). Because the Eucharistic sacrifice truly is the sacrifice of the cross, the Blessed Sacrament is the highest expression of self-sacrifice, and it is a model for how we should act in our relationships with others. In order to experience true love, faithfulness, and joy in our relationships with others, we must be ready to “die to self” by giving up our selfish desires, especially in everyday matters. For example, we can die to self by being kind to our siblings even when they annoy us, by obeying our parents, and by putting our best effort into our schoolwork. As Tolkien reminds his son in the letter quoted above, this kind of self-sacrifice is necessary if we want to experience true love, faithfulness, and joy, both on earth and for eternity in Heaven. On the lines below, explain one other way you think The Fellowship of the Ring reflects the Catholic Faith.
Recomm nded Activities Complete at least one of the following Recommended Activities.
1. Drawing Activity: Draw a picture of Weathertop as described in Chapter 11, with its conical top, slightly flattened at the summit, and the watchtower ruins that form a ring like a rough crown. 2. Rune Activity: On Weathertop, Frodo and Strider wonder whether Gandalf scratched a G-rune on a stone as a way of signing his name. Use the chart below to write your name in runes. Then see if you can translate the runic writing at the top of the title page of your book (beginning Ð . LORD ).
G H I
use K or S
D E F or V G H I
J C L M
N O P Q R Z O P Q R T U V W useKSor Z Y Z TH SH CH ND NG OO “Uh” (Weak vowel sounds like those in “butter”) Ð Ç Ñ Ó or or S T U V W X Y
Th e F e l l ows h i p of t h e R i ng
3. Nature Activity: Strider mentions food found in the wilderness, such as berries, roots, herbs, and game. Learn to identify at least one wild source of food near you. Some foods found in the wild are dandelions, conifer needles, cattails, acorns, wild clover, juniper berries, wild onion, wild mint, black cherries, and more. Learn how to prepare your wild food so that it tastes its best. 4. Poetry Recitation Activity: Read either Strider’s poem about Tinúviel (Chapter 11) or Sam’s poem about the trolls (Chapter 12) out loud. First, read the poem to yourself and think about the mood and emotions that the poem calls for. Then practice speaking the lines out loud—try to find the best way to communicate the mood and emotions in the poem to your audience. When you’re ready, recite it either from memory or from the page for your family. You may notice that these runes are different from the runes Tolkien uses in The Hobbit . Tolkien uses Anglo-Saxon runes in The Hobbit , but in The Fellowship of the Ring , he uses a system of runes that he invented for the peoples of Middle-earth. This chart is based on Appendix E of The Lord of the Rings , in which Tolkien explains his system of runes in detail.
Sample activities from Lesson 25
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Th e Tr ea s u r e Tr ove of L i t e r a t u r e , L eve l 4
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