Tolkien Gateway

Editing Racism in Tolkien's Works

Warning: You are not logged in.

Your IP address will be recorded in this page's edit history.
The edit can be undone. Please check the comparison below to verify that this is what you want to do, and then save the changes below to finish undoing the edit.
Latest revision Your text
Line 25: Line 25:
  
 
===Light vs. Dark===
 
===Light vs. Dark===
Some critics have declared that there is racism in Tolkien's works through his use of the words such as "light" and "white" vs. "dark" or "black". In 2002, John Yatt in ''The Guardian'' wrote: "White men are good, 'dark' men are bad, orcs are worst of all.<ref>''The Guardian'' (2 December 2002)</ref>.{{fact}} Other critics such as [[Tom Shippey]] and [[Michael D.C. Drout]] disagree with such clear-cut generalizations of Tolkien's "white" and "dark" men into good and bad.
+
Some critics have declared that there is racism in Tolkien's works through his use of the words such as "light" and "white" vs. "dark" or "black". In 2002, John Yatt in ''The Guardian'' wrote: "White men are good, 'dark' men are bad, orcs are worst of all."The Guardian (2 December 2002)</ref>.{{fact}} Other critics such as [[Tom Shippey]] and [[Michael D.C. Drout]] disagree with such clear-cut generalizations of Tolkien's "white" and "dark" men into good and bad.
  
 
The whole of Tolkien's legendarium contains a conflict between "light" (The Trees, the [[Silmarils]]) and "darkness" (the literal absence of light). Morgoth's standard was ''"sable unblazoned"'' (that is, plain black). ''"Mordor"'' means "black land" in Sindarin. If one were to analyse this through a racial lense, the ongoing clash may be interpreted as containing racial symbolism of light skinned versus dark skinned peoples, although Eol, father of Maeglin was known as the Dark Elf, and the Moriquendi were called the Elves of Darkness. Both these terms refer to remaining outside the light of the two trees, not to skin tone. The [[Black Númenóreans]] are likewise named because of the color of their allegiance to Sauron and their heraldry, not their skin tone. Considering this, Tolkien's assignment of Good and Evil to "light" and "dark" cannot simply be dismissed as racial undertones within the broader narrative.  
 
The whole of Tolkien's legendarium contains a conflict between "light" (The Trees, the [[Silmarils]]) and "darkness" (the literal absence of light). Morgoth's standard was ''"sable unblazoned"'' (that is, plain black). ''"Mordor"'' means "black land" in Sindarin. If one were to analyse this through a racial lense, the ongoing clash may be interpreted as containing racial symbolism of light skinned versus dark skinned peoples, although Eol, father of Maeglin was known as the Dark Elf, and the Moriquendi were called the Elves of Darkness. Both these terms refer to remaining outside the light of the two trees, not to skin tone. The [[Black Númenóreans]] are likewise named because of the color of their allegiance to Sauron and their heraldry, not their skin tone. Considering this, Tolkien's assignment of Good and Evil to "light" and "dark" cannot simply be dismissed as racial undertones within the broader narrative.  

Please note that all contributions to Tolkien Gateway are considered to be released under the GNU Free Documentation License (see Tolkien Gateway:Copyrights for details). If you do not want your writing to be edited mercilessly and redistributed at will, then do not submit it here.
You are also promising us that you wrote this yourself, or copied it from a public domain or similar free resource. Do not submit copyrighted work without permission!

Cancel | Editing help (opens in new window)