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Tolkien's Middle-earth:

Lesson Plans for Secondary School Educators

Unit Nine: "The Quest Is Achieved"

Content Focus: The Lord of the Rings, Book Six
Thematic Focus: What Makes a Hero?


As befits its vast scope and extraordinary ambition, The Lord of the Rings boasts three major heroes — Frodo, Aragorn, and Sam — plus many secondary characters whose deeds are manifestly noble and courageous. In Unit Nine students consider the meaning of heroism and look back on the other thematic threads that make the novel a unified whole.

Learning Goals

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

• Contrast Aragorn's obvious valor with Frodo's concealed heroism.

• Give some possible reasons Tolkien regarded Sam as the "chief hero" of The Lord of the Rings.

• Account for the "joy-in-sorrow atmosphere" of Tolkien's epic fantasy.

• Indicate which of Tolkien's characters might be considered archetypes.

• Trace the development of the novel's themes, including corruption, free will, destiny, despair, and heroism, from Book One through Book Six.

Unit Nine 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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