"Yes--the hobbits have bodily and spiritual pleasures in balance--the body is never neglected in the Shire. You'll never see a hobbit working for Microsoft. They're greedy, but not power hungry."
"In Tolkien's first draft, Frodo was appreciated by the Shire--he added the ignoring of Frodo later . He must have come up with that after a semester of grading piles of papers for unappreciative students."
" . . . how thorough Tolkien is in laying out all the objections and contingencies you can come up with in
considering the options for any action taken--lots of questions I had after the movie like "I can't remember; I wonder if in the book Tolkien considered . . . " are all answered. You can see Tolkien challenging the consistency of his world as you read. Much of this is presented thru a Socratic and Talmudic method--and it's always Frodo in the place of Plato asking good questions of a Socratic Gandalf, Bilbo, or Galadriel. Again, another reason I love Frodo is because he functions as the wheels of analysis in the author's head and is positioned to ask excellent questions that you are delighted he asked."
"And I think the the class differential is balanced out for me somewhat by Sam being a more dominating personality--which is probably why I shy away from him in affection somewhat. Sam's a powerful nurturer--and he's gonna take care of Frodo, whether he likes it or not dammit--and Frodo needs that. Change Sam's idiom a little and he'd make a good Jewish mother. (-; "
"Imagining Sam as a fleshed out person, I see Sam as someone who spends a great deal of time in the Samverse, from the way he processes things by naming himself--always seeing himself in the third person as a character in a story--and sometimes he misses things going on around him because he's pondering his fictional self's doings. It's where he gets his strength to go on in dark places--he's got the Samverse in his head to retreat to. So I probably don't perceive him quite as other-oriented as you do. To my mind, he would give anything in the world to help others when he sees that they are in need--a truly wonderful quality, but much of the time, he isn't available to see because he's rushing about in his own narrative--no one's perfect.
This plays out in the ending when Frodo is sick and Sam doesn't know it because he is on to other people and things. If I put too much stock in their relationship I get mad at Sam for this. On the other hand, Frodo has become a high-maintenance hobbit, and no one should fault anyone for not having staying power to devote themselves to a PTSD depressive for life--even though I wish Sam would."
"And I feel so sad that Frodo can't stay in the Shire at the end, until I think of Garrison Keillor's line, "The Norwegians settled in Minnesota because it reminded them of home. Then they remembered why they left home." (-; I envision Gandalf saying a Middle Earthly appropriate version of that to Frodo to get him to smile again."
Warning: Academic Jargon at Danger Levels: ahahaha!
"Tolkien had it right with that disembodied Eye or "I"--the
master of the Gaze--the drive for an invulnerabilty that puts the ruling masculine subject above the power of bodily desires. So I'm wary of treating the body as the poorer cousin to the spirit, the devalued feminine of the body/spirit binary. As Judith Butler would put it, bodies DO matter. They are key to our spirit's interaction with the world regardless of how subject they are to the Eye's commodification."
Goddess, you learn to write really awfully in grad school (even though I do find some of the awfully written ideas to be important). OK, got stuff out of my system--back to work in earnest.