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Tolkien's Middle-earth:

Lesson Plans for Secondary School Educators

Unit Six: Treebeard's Lament

Key Terms

personification (per-son-e-fi-kay-shen) The literary device of using a fictional character to embody an abstract idea. In Book Three, Treebeard personifies the forest, and the Entwives personify agriculture.

anthropomorphism (an-thre-pe-mor-fiz-em) The attribution of human characteristics to plants, animals, and objects. Tolkien's Ents are essentially anthropomorphized trees.

empathy (em-pe-thee) The ability to identify with another creature's feelings and difficulties. The Ents empathize so strongly with trees that they become "tree-ish," even as many trees in turn become "Entish."

tribute (trib-yoot) A payment made by a nation to an alien ruler as a sign of submission. When Aragorn and company first encounter the Rohirrim, Éomer denies the rumor that his people pay tribute to Sauron.

parley (par-lay) A talk between opposing military forces. During the battle of Helm's Deep, Aragorn conducts a parley with the orcs. After their victory, Gandalf and Théoden set off to parley with Saruman.

coomb (koom) A narrow valley enclosed on all but one side. Tolkien describes Helm's Deep as a coomb.

dingle (din-gell) A wooded valley. After Merry and Pippin befriend Treebeard, he bears them on his shoulder into a dingle.

Industrial Revolution (in-dus-tree-el rev-e-loo-shen) The social and economic changes in Great Britain, Europe, and the United States that began in the late eighteenth century and involved the widespread adoption of machine-driven methods of production.

modernism (mod-er-niz-em) The revolutionary ideas in art, literature, and thought that emerged in the early twentieth century as a reaction against conventional forms and opinions.

sub-creation (sub-kree-a-shen) Tolkien's term for the construction of imaginary but convincing and self-consistent worlds, such as occurs when a poet composes an epic. For Tolkien, these "secondary worlds" reflect the primary creative act by which God brought the universe into being.

Unit Six Content

Comments for Teachers
Preliminary Quiz
Key Terms
Discussion Topics
Suggested Activities

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