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Tolkien's Middle-earth:

Lesson Plans for Secondary School Educators

Unit Five: "The Tides of Fate Are Flowing"

Content Focus: The Lord of the Rings, Book Two
Thematic Focus: Free Will and Fellowship


In Book Two of The Lord of the Rings, one of Tolkien's major concerns, the tension between personal freedom and providential design, emerges full blown. The Unit Five resources are intended to help students wrestle with the ancient problem of free will, both as a literary theme and as the sine qua non of their choices in life.

Learning Goals

By the end of Unit Five, the student should be able to:

• Discuss why "free will" is a crucial idea in the history of Western thought.

• Indicate how the ideal of fellowship not only suffuses Tolkien's epic but also figured in his personal life.

• Recapitulate the four proposed solutions to the Ring crisis considered by the Council of Elrond, and explain why only one proved acceptable.

• Compare and contrast two pivotal moments in Book Two: the test of Galadriel and the fall of Boromir.

• Paraphrase Galadriel's warning concerning prophecy.

Unit Five Content

Comments for Teachers
Preliminary Quiz
Key Terms
Discussion Topics
Suggested Activities

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These lesson plans were written by James Morrow and Kathryn Morrow in consultation with Amy Allison, Gregory Miller, Sarah Rito, and Jason Zanitsch.

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