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A Teacher's Guide

Fellowship of the Ring
The Two Towers
The Return of the King

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

Since its first publication in 1954-55, Tolkien's original, powerful fantasy, The Lord of the Rings, has accumulated fame, fans, and critical acclaim. No other writer of Tolkien's century created an imaginary world as distinct as Middle-earth, complete with its own geography, history, languages, and legends. And certainly no one has created characters as endearing as Tolkien's large-hearted, hairy-footed hobbits. The hobbits and their fellow creatures of Middle-earth—wizards, men, elves, ents, dwarfs, orcs, trolls, wargs, the Nazgûl, and others—continue to seize the imaginations of readers of every age.

In addition to being named in three different 1997 polls as the twentieth century's best book, The Lord of the Rings is one of those notable books that is repeatedly assigned by teachers and recommended by librarians. In its three parts, J.R.R. Tolkien's masterwork tells of the grand and noble quest undertaken by the hobbit Frodo and the Company of the Ring: his fellow hobbits, Sam, Merry, and Pippin; Gandalf the Wizard; Gimli the Dwarf; Legolas the Elf; Boromir of Gondor; and the mysterious stranger called Strider.

This Teacher's Guide is intended to assist teachers and students in appreciating both the world of Frodo Baggins and his companions and Tolkien's accomplishment in constructing that world. It is divided into sections corresponding to reading assignments that range from thirty-six to fifty-seven pages in length. Each section includes comprehension questions, vocabulary, and questions for class discussion, essays, and projects. Several of the questions apply to the entire novel rather than specific chapters. These questions usually contain such phrases as "As you read ahead" or "As the story progresses" or an inclusive reference to The Lord of the Rings. Teachers and students should feel free to consider additional topics and questions—Tolkien's great novel, like all great works of art, will prompt ongoing discussion.

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