Fat Books & Thin Women

Samwise Gamgee & Literary Theory

Last night I had a dream in which Samwise Gamgee explained to Frodo Baggins his thoughts on literary theory.

“Literary theory is something that, if it is four pages long, you will fall asleep six times while you’re reading it. Then you will write a paper, but will only be able to quote the one sentence you understand from those four pages.”

This dream could mean one of a number of things.

  1. I need to get more sleep.
  2. It is about time for me to wrap up these regional spelling bees I’m doing. (Eleven days of semi-finals, one day of finals. Just ten more days and I’m free.)
  3. I am still working through some mixed feelings on literary theory. (See: I don’t like things that make me feel irredeemably stupid. See also: I dragged my Norton Anthology of Literary Theory all the way to Macedonia, but have only opened it one time in the past fifteen months.
  4. I am still working through some mixed feelings on my decision to apply for graduate school after I finish with the Peace Corps.
  5. My decision to reread The Lord of the Rings was a good one.

I’ve wanted to reread The Lord of the Rings for a long time, nearly a year now, but the urge only became undeniable about a week ago, when we kicked these spelling bees into high gear. It’s a comforting book to me, and really interesting now how the characters from the films play through my mind while I’m reading. This is not least because Peter Jackson did such a fantastic job with the film and with pulling so many lines straight from the books. But funny how it’s only when work becomes stressful that I find I can’t stay away from these books. I love rereading, but it turns out that maybe there are some times in life when I don’t just want to reread, but need to.

This is by way of saying, too, that my reading time has been cut drastically by these spelling bees. I’m excited to finish and get back to my rigorous schedule of four classes a day, coffee visits, and hours in front of the coil heater with my most recent find from the Peace Corps library. Over and out!



Ha, I love it! Were they at home in the Shire? Or on the slopes of Mt. Doom? Or in your living room? How fun!

Comment by Erin

i am pretty sure they were standing in my living room, or in some duller setting. it would have been nice to see this discussion happening on the slopes of mt. doom, though, surrounded by lava.

Comment by Ellen Rhudy

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