the Lord of the Rings (novels), English homework help

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1) Why did these two narratives gain popularity when they did? For this prompt, you would need to address:

a. 1970s: the mass popularity of the Lord of the Rings (novels) and the first three Star Wars films (Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi)

AND

b. 2000s: the mass popularity of the Lord of the Rings (films) and the Star Wars prequel trilogy (The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith)

To explore the reasoning behind the popular investment in these two narratives, students will be required to identify specific issues (culturally, economically, politically, socially, or artistically) occurring during the 1970s and the 2000s to which the narratives respond in their themes, motifs, or compositions. You might think of this as “how do these films ‘speak’ to the time period in which they were produced?”.

For example, some of our class discussion focused on the prevalence of internal strife and conflict in America stemming from issues such as the Vietnam War, the Watergate Scandal, and the oil crisis of the 1970s. If the late 1970s saw an America in which people had felt particularly oppressed and disillusioned, is the message of hope that is at the core of both The Lord of the Rings (novels) and the first three Star Wars films the reason for the immense success of both these narratives?

This prompt will also require research into the particular time periods in question.

2) How did these narratives influence one another? For this prompt, you would need to address:

a. How The Lord of the Rings (novels) influenced the first three Star Wars films (Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi)?

AND

b. How the first three Star Wars films influenced The Lord of the Rings (films)?

This prompt will require students to identify specific facets of the stories (whether character, theme, plot, etc.) that exemplify how one work influences another.

Remember, thematic elements such as good versus evil are taken from antiquity and would not constitute an influential facet between these stories. However, specific examples of “good versus evil”, such as nature versus industry would constitute an influential facet.

Take, for example, our conversation regarding the anti-industrial messaging of The Lord of the Rings compared to the anti-technological messaging in both Star Wars and Return of the Jedi. Tolkien emphasizes the corrupt Sauroman’s abuse of the land through the industrialization in Isengard (not to mention the Shire), the conflict with the Ents, and deforestation. Lucas, in turn, focuses on the stripping away of technology in Luke Skywalker’s attack on the Death Star where he first loses the assistance of his droid, R2-D2 and then shuts off his targeting computer in favor of the human spirituality of the Force. This motif is revisited in Return of the Jedi when we see the primitive Ewoks as instrumental to the defeat of the Empire’s technological, military might. (DO NOT USE THIS EXAMPLE FOR THE PAPER).

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