Presentation Title

The Women of the Rings: Femininity in Middle-earth

Document Type

Panel Presentation

Keywords

gender, literature, feminist

Biography

Victoria Endres is a passionate student of Literary Studies and Creative Writing. A West Virginia native, Victoria grew up in St. Albans, WV. Victoria is a Yeager Scholar and the undergraduate representative on the English Department's Executive Board and the Student Advisory Board. Victoria’s work has been published by The Manhattanville Review, Underscore Review, and Thoreau’s Rooster.

Major

Literary Studies and Creative Writing

Advisor for this project

Robert Ellison

Start Date

19-4-2018 9:15 AM

End Date

19-4-2018 10:30 AM

Abstract

Since Doris Myers’ 1971 essay exploring women in the works of the Inklings, there has been a flood of scholarship and heated debate about how J.R.R. Tolkien perceived and portrayed women in Middle-earth. Discussion often hinges on the portrayal of major female characters – Galadriel, Arwen, Éowyn, and Shelob – and if these depictions are misogynistic. Yet, despite references to femininity in characters, there is little discussion of the Ring as a feminine symbol. Some scholars show the Ring to be a symbol of female sexuality, but little scholarship has gone farther. In this paper, I seek to discuss femininity in male and female characters and the Ring. Expanding the discussion of the feminine to the Ring will allow for more thorough understanding of Tolkien’s overall beliefs on gender roles and distinctions.

This research has been undertaken as part of my Capstone course with Dr. Ellison. I plan to focus my research on a reading of the novels themselves. However, if time and space allow, I hope to incorporate information on Tolkien’s personal background and a short analysis of Peter Jackson’s adaptations. The goal is to create a less polarizing discussion of the text and to help merge discussions of characters and objects as signs of Tolkien’s gendered ideals. To this end, I will employ a largely feminist reading, but will likely also utilize some psychoanalytical techniques.

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Apr 19th, 9:15 AM Apr 19th, 10:30 AM

The Women of the Rings: Femininity in Middle-earth

Since Doris Myers’ 1971 essay exploring women in the works of the Inklings, there has been a flood of scholarship and heated debate about how J.R.R. Tolkien perceived and portrayed women in Middle-earth. Discussion often hinges on the portrayal of major female characters – Galadriel, Arwen, Éowyn, and Shelob – and if these depictions are misogynistic. Yet, despite references to femininity in characters, there is little discussion of the Ring as a feminine symbol. Some scholars show the Ring to be a symbol of female sexuality, but little scholarship has gone farther. In this paper, I seek to discuss femininity in male and female characters and the Ring. Expanding the discussion of the feminine to the Ring will allow for more thorough understanding of Tolkien’s overall beliefs on gender roles and distinctions.

This research has been undertaken as part of my Capstone course with Dr. Ellison. I plan to focus my research on a reading of the novels themselves. However, if time and space allow, I hope to incorporate information on Tolkien’s personal background and a short analysis of Peter Jackson’s adaptations. The goal is to create a less polarizing discussion of the text and to help merge discussions of characters and objects as signs of Tolkien’s gendered ideals. To this end, I will employ a largely feminist reading, but will likely also utilize some psychoanalytical techniques.