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Tolkien's Middle-earth:

Lesson Plans for Secondary School Educators



Unit Six: Treebeard's Lament


Handouts

"The Delight of the Living Tree Itself"

The following paragraphs are excerpted from the "Lothlórien" chapter of The Lord of the Rings. Each celebrates the love of trees, one of several passions that Tolkien shared with his fictional elves. A sward is an area of grass, and the flet is a wooden platform set high in the towering central tree.

When his eyes were in turn uncovered, Frodo looked up and caught his breath. They were standing in an open space. To the left stood a great mound, covered with a sward of grass as green as Springtime in the Elder Days. Upon it, as a double crown, grew two circles of trees: the outer had bark of snowy white, and . . . the inner were mallorn-trees of great height, still arrayed in pale gold. High amid the branches of a towering tree that stood in the center of all there gleamed a white flet. At the feet of the trees, and all about the green hillsides the grass was studded with small golden flowers shaped like stars. Among them, nodding on slender stalks, were other flowers, white and palest green: they glimmered as a mist amid the rich hue of the grass. Over all the sky was blue, and the sun of afternoon glowed upon the hill and cast long green shadows beneath the trees.

The Lord of the Rings, page 341

The others cast themselves down upon the fragrant grass, but Frodo stood awhile still lost in wonder. It seemed to him that he had stepped through a high window that looked on a vanished world. A light was upon it for which his language had no name. All that he saw was shapely, but the shapes seemed at once clear-cut, as if they had been first conceived and drawn at the uncovering of his eyes, and ancient as if they had endured forever. He saw no colours but those he knew, gold and white and blue and green, but they were fresh and poignant, as if he had at that moment first perceived them and made for them names new and wonderful. In winter here no heart could mourn for summer or for spring. No blemish or sickness or deformity could be seen in anything that grew upon the earth. On the land of Lórien there was no stain.

The Lord of the Rings, page 341

Haldir had gone on and was now climbing to the high flet. As Frodo prepared to follow him, he laid his hand upon the tree beside the ladder: never before had be been so suddenly and so keenly aware of the feel and texture of a tree's skin and of the life within it. He felt a delight in wood and the touch of it, neither as forester nor as carpenter; it was the delight of the living tree itself.

The Lord of the Rings, page 342

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(from The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien, Houghton Mifflin, 1994, revised and corrected edition, pages 341-342)


Unit Six Content

Overview
Comments for Teachers
Preliminary Quiz
Key Terms
Handouts
Discussion Topics
Suggested Activities
Bibliography

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