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I am doing a research paper on the The Ents and their role in the war for Middle Earth. My thesis is that without the Ents and the fact that they took Saruman out of the picture, Sauron would have been victorious. Any thoughts for anyone? Any where I can find anything on this?
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
R
Ents or not Saruman was still defeated at Helms Deep. He would have been difficult to defeat completely without the Ents but would it have been impossible?
Ooo…that’s a tough one Rayne. I agree, Vee…very difficult to prove that Sauron would have been victorious. It may be inferred, considering the way the Battle at Helm’s Deep was going, but I don’t know if you can actually prove it. Basically, you’re saying that if Saruman wasn’t defeated, Frodo never would have made it to Mt. Doom and Aragorn would never have taken up the role of King. I don’t think this is necessarily true.

Also, it was a gift to Sauron in a way that Saruman was taken out of the battle, for Saruman was vying for Sauron’s power anyway. Perhaps your thesis should be "Since the Ents defeated Saruman, the Men of Middle Earth were able to unite rather than existing and working as broken factions, which improved their chances of defeating Sauron…" or something like that.

Be sure to look for clues of the Ent’s motivations in the text, why it took them so long to react and when they did, why they did.

Project Muse and JSTOR are great databases for research articles if you have access to them.
Its an interesting topic, but I think I agree with Rayne. With the Ents help, Saruman was easily defeated, putting an end to what would be detterents against Frodo and the fight for justice. I think that if Saruman and his forces prospored on, the men would not be as unified, because of different mission needing to be done, and Saruman would have aided Sauron, for it is highly unlikely in my opinion that Saruman could have done anything on his own to tak eover Sauron's power.

Although Tolkien had many influences for TLOTR, and many better and more profound than this, Tolkien's service in World War I had a large effect on the battle and war parts of the story. I think Tolkien might have been symbolizing America in WW1 with the Ents. America was skeptical about going into the war because they did not want to get involved for their own peace, but after they saw what needed to be done through certain turn of events, the joined the allied forces, which undoubtedbly helped defeat the German and Austria-Hungarian forces. This example of Tolkien's life is a simple parallel to the Ent's role in the War of the Ring. Consider using this analogy in your paper - Good luck!
I agree with Rayne. I reckon if Saruman hadn't been utterly destroyed (well, not him, but his forces) then Minas Tirith would not have triumphed on the Fields of Pelennor. How could they, with Sauron's army and Saruman's from opposite sides? Even though the Riders wiped out loads at Helms Deep.
Of course I agree that without Saruman's defeat it is unlikely that Sauron would have been defeated...and that the Ents had a pivotal role in this development, but the aforementioned portion cannot be proved. An essay thesis should be stated to the extent one can prove it...if it is stated as a definite "if/then" topic, then one should be able to defend it at all costs; if it were modified to be more speculative, then one could prove it with their own inferences.

Anyway, these are my humblest of humble opinions and all in all, be sure to write on and about what your heart tells you to, Rayne (whilst considering feedback of course! Big Smile Smilie

Nice tie in to WWI, I aran. I'm going to look into that more. I heard something along those lines before....makes sense.
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I agree with Rayne. I reckon if Saruman hadn't been utterly destroyed (well, not him, but his forces) then Minas Tirith would not have triumphed on the Fields of Pelennor. How could they, with Sauron's army and Saruman's from opposite sides? Even though the Riders wiped out loads at Helms Deep.

Theoden's army destroyed Saruman's forces at Helm's Deep. The only thing the Ents did was isolate Saruman. Even if the Ents weren't there, Saruman would still have lost his army. But he would have been safe in Isengard with the Palantir. Still, he wouldn't be able to go anywhere as Theoden would probably leave some of his troops around Isengard to prevent Saruman from fleeing.

Of course, one can argue that it wouldn't be possible for Aragorn to look into the Palantir and take the Paths of the Dead. But it is likely that Theoden's army would conquer Isengard : Gandalf the White would be able to break the walls of Isengard and Theoden's army would swarm in, and we would get a repeat of the Voice of Saruman chapter of LOTR, and Pippin would grab the Palantir. The palantir is a critical object : Pippin looked into it, and Sauron was decieved. Also Aragorn used it to show himself to Sauron and as such cause the battle of the Pelennor fields... it's hard to say if the Palantir didn't fall in the hands of Gandalf and Co, what would have happened. Sauron wouldn't have attacked MT so early, probably. We don't know what Aragorn would have done, take the paths of the dead or go with Gandalf to MT and claim his kingship. The result of the battle of the pelennor fields would be the same, probably, because Theoden still had his cavalry. After their victory : the march to the Morannon to distract the Eye. Hence : the end result is the same ---> Sauron defeated.

So anyway, with or without the Ents, Theoden would still have his cavalry to go to Pelennor fields and turn the tide there. One must keep in mind that Sauron cannot be defeated by arms anyway, only by destroying the Ring. The Pelennor fields and the battle at the Morannon gave Frodo the time he needed to complete his task. Saruman would only have the possibility to influence this string of events if he had his Palantir : he could use it to warn Sauron or at least give Sauron vital information which could prevent Frodo's mission from succeeding. But Sauron would still think that the Ring would go to Minas Tirith, so i am inclined to think that Frodo still'd have a chance to destroy the Ring. But this scenario is doubtful of course : after Helm's Deep, Gandalf would be wanting to deal with Saruman, so Isengard would have to be taken.

In fact, don't forget that Gandalf also showed himself in Fangorn and spoke to Treebeard, and Gandalf knew what happened to Pippin and Merry. Gandalf probably foresaw the Ents to enter the attack and break Isengard. So it is a bit hard to imagine having no Ents involved. Gandalf had it all worked out.

The Ents just made the taking of Isengard look easy, and as such came in very handy. Human forces would need more time and work, and they didn't have time for that, as MT was about to be attacked. But it is important to see that only if Frodo fails his mission, then Sauron will not be defeated. Even if the entire Middle-Earth falls under Sauron's red-eye banner, but Frodo manages to throw the Ring into the Orodruin, then Sauron is defeated (although this victory over Sauron would be very Pyrrhic...).

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Although Tolkien had many influences for TLOTR, and many better and more profound than this, Tolkien's service in World War I had a large effect on the battle and war parts of the story. I think Tolkien might have been symbolizing America in WW1 with the Ents. America was skeptical about going into the war because they did not want to get involved for their own peace, but after they saw what needed to be done through certain turn of events, the joined the allied forces, which undoubtedbly helped defeat the German and Austria-Hungarian forces.

Some elements of the story he based on his (very short) war experience, like Samwise Gamgee, the Death Marches, but in the introductory to LOTR i believe JRRT himself says the world wars did not influence the story itself. JRRT himself wrote he loathed allegory. It is very easy to compare LOTR with WW1, even easier to compare with WW2, of course, but as i see it after reading the introductory, i believe JRRT only incorporated personal experiences of the war in his books, not politics or history.

I believe with the attack of the Ents on Isengard, JRRT was referring to nature striking back at technology. JRRT saw the place where he grew up being thwarted by technology, nature being replaced by technology. Maybe with the attack of the Ents on Isengard, JRRT was showing how much he disliked the fact that there was no more place for nature in England, that he made nature take revenge on technology.
Yes, WWII, WWII. Of course, the thesis the way it is stated is just like saying Germany would have won the war if the US never entered -- this can be argued either way (probably depending on what country you are from).

And yes, I completely agree that Tolkien was making several environmental statements throughout LOTR, and the Ents were a part of that statement…especially when taken into consideration with Saruman’s technological advancement at the expense of trees, the Ents' friends, being ripped out by their roots. Sad Smilie
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Theoden's army destroyed Saruman's forces at Helm's Deep. The only thing the Ents did was isolate Saruman. Even if the Ents weren't there, Saruman would still have lost his army. But he would have been safe in Isengard with the Palantir. Still, he wouldn't be able to go anywhere as Theoden would probably leave some of his troops around Isengard to prevent Saruman from fleeing.


...of course, we must admit that there is a rather mystical quality to the fact that once Saruman's focus was moved from Helm's Deep to his own fortress, and once Isengard was destroyed, the tides turned for Theoden's men.
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Theoden's army destroyed Saruman's forces at Helm's Deep. The only thing the Ents did was isolate Saruman. Even if the Ents weren't there, Saruman would still have lost his army. ...
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So anyway, with or without the Ents, Theoden would still have his cavalry to go to Pelennor fields and turn the tide there.
I violently disagree!—I wonder if someone has been watching too much of the movie and has forgotten what's actually written in the book. Elf Winking Smilie

If you remember, Theoden thought the jig was up and only rode out to make his last-ditch-stand a-horse-back afore Saruman's insurmountable force, because they had separated the keep from the caves where the food and fodder was stored. With the blasting fire it was only a matter of time before the keep would fall and he'd rather go out in a blaze of glory rather than be caught like an animal in a trap.
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'The end will not be long,' said the king. 'But I will not end here, taken like an old badger in a trap. Snowmane and Hasufel and the horses of my guard are in the inner court. When dawn comes, I will bid men sound Helm's horn, and I will ride forth. Will you ride with me then, son of Arathorn? Maybe we shall cleave a road, or make such an end as will be worth a song—if any be left to sing of us herafter.' - from near the end of 'Helm's Deep', Chapter 7, Book III, TTT.
Only Aragorn remembered to look for Galdalf that morning and had not Gandalf requested that Treebeard send Ents and their Hourn to the Battle, it would have been lost. Not even Erkenbrand's regathered force could have saved them.

Thus there would have been no cavalry charge at the Pelennor Fields to keep the Nazgul Witch-king from the final show-down with Gandalf at Minas Tirith's broken gate, and the Black Fleet would have been manned by the Corsairs of Umbar instead of Aragorn's force of Dunedain, South Gondorians and liberated slave rowers, as well as your Elven princeling and his stout-hearted Dwarven warrior friend. There would have been nothing to draw Sauron's eye out of Mordor; Frodo and Sam wouldn't have made it to Mt. Doom relatively unhindered as they did.

The Ents were a major part of Eru's Plan. Without the Ents, Frodo and Sam would have been caught and Sauron would have regained the Ring. Teacher Smilie
Exactly what I think, Grondy.

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Theoden's army destroyed Saruman's forces at Helm's Deep. The only thing the Ents did was isolate Saruman. Even if the Ents weren't there, Saruman would still have lost his army. But he would have been safe in Isengard with the Palantir. Still, he wouldn't be able to go anywhere as Theoden would probably leave some of his troops around Isengard to prevent Saruman from fleeing.

Of course, one can argue that it wouldn't be possible for Aragorn to look into the Palantir and take the Paths of the Dead. But it is likely that Theoden's army would conquer Isengard : Gandalf the White would be able to break the walls of Isengard and Theoden's army would swarm in, and we would get a repeat of the Voice of Saruman chapter of LOTR, and Pippin would grab the Palantir. The palantir is a critical object : Pippin looked into it, and Sauron was decieved. Also Aragorn used it to show himself to Sauron and as such cause the battle of the Pelennor fields... it's hard to say if the Palantir didn't fall in the hands of Gandalf and Co, what would have happened. Sauron wouldn't have attacked MT so early, probably. We don't know what Aragorn would have done, take the paths of the dead or go with Gandalf to MT and claim his kingship. The result of the battle of the pelennor fields would be the same, probably, because Theoden still had his cavalry. After their victory : the march to the Morannon to distract the Eye. Hence : the end result is the same ---> Sauron defeated.


Ah, I dunno....... I don't think anything that is said in this thread (with some exceptions) can be proven as solid fact beyond a doubt. Theoden's army just mightn't've wiped them out. In fact, for better arguments, I shall go and read that chapter again and come back to this thread.
Yeah, I need to re-read the chapter too.

But...I think the Ents were a major part of Yavanna's plan rather than Eru's. Smile Smilie
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There would have been nothing to draw Sauron's eye out of Mordor; Frodo and Sam wouldn't have made it to Mt. Doom relatively unhindered as they did.

That's not necessarily true. Sauron would still expect that the Ring was in Minas Tirith, and after his troops would take the city and search for the Ring - and not finding it, Sauron would probably think the Ring is in Lothlorien or Rivendell, and would then start besieging Lothlorien and Rivendell : so the Eye would focus on other battlefields. I think Sauron's eye would never be focused on Mordor, because as Gandalf said, Sauron being the wise fool can't imagine that someone would reject the Ring and try to destroy it. Besides, he thinks his borders are secured.

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Only Aragorn remembered to look for Galdalf that morning and had not Gandalf requested that Treebeard send Ents and their Hourn to the Battle, it would have been lost. Not even Erkenbrand's regathered force could have saved them.

That might all be true, but that doesn't matter. One must argue : how can Saruman's victory prevent Frodo from failing his mission? Saruman's victory would make Sauron confident of his victory and force his Eye outside Mordor to witness the destruction of his enemies, and keep out for his Ring which he'd expect to come out soon, as the powers who withstand him would be desperate to use it. But like i said before, Gandalf had it all planned that the Ents would enter the battle, as Gandalf entered Fangorn and talked to Treebeard and let Pippin and Merry with Treebeard. If Gandalf had any notion that the Ents would not want to go to battle, he would have thought of something else.

In fact, at the moment Erkenbrand arrived, the Uruk-Hai were already fleeing the battlefield towards Isengard. The only thing the Huorns did was remove the remainder or the Uruk-Hai. Without the Huorns the remainders of the Uruk-Hai would make it back to Isengard. So, Isengard would not be easily taken without the Ents, and Theoden would have the dilemma between going to Minas Tirith or saving his own nation. But as Minas Tirith wouldn't be attacked so swiftly (because Aragorn would not have the chance to show himself to Sauron in the Palantir) maybe there'd be time enough to conquer Isengard and still be on time in Minas Tirith to hunt some Orc.

Well, let's say Theoden would stay faithful to the old treaty between Rohan and Gondor and sacrifice his country to save Gondor, if only for a while. Rohan could be utterly destroyed, and all its inhabitants enslaved or murdered (ironically, this would prove to be the perfect time for Eowyn to show her worth), but Frodo would be able to save the Ring, as the Pelennor fields would still be won by the good guys and the battle at the Morannon would still take place.

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I violently disagree!—I wonder if someone has been watching too much of the movie and has forgotten what's actually written in the book.

I am insulted, shocked and appalled. But... in the movies there are no Huorns, right? Theoden's army and Gandalf just magically wiped out/vacuum cleaned an Orcish horde, just like what the army of the dead did at the Pelennor fields. "Armies : begone!!" So why wouldn't that be possible in the books as well, if we have no Ents involved in them. The Uruk-Hai would be surprised by Theoden's outbreak and with a new army popping up, with a white wizard on the forefront. And as Gandalf would show some of his tricks, the Uruk-Hai army could indeed be wiped out. Hey, we could even include Elvish reinforcements. (who could have thought PJ would come out to be such a visionary)

As we are discussing a hypothetical situation in the books, few things of what is written in the actual book can be properly used to think of what would happen. We are discussing this as it were a string of events which happened in real life history -- but it is just a story. Without Ents in the story, JRRT could easily think of another way to completely defeat Saruman; everyone with a bit of imagination can do that.
Okay, as I've given my opinion and don't wish to debate this hypothetical situation, I'm through with this discussion.
I never really expected the responses I have received when I posted this question. I want to say thank you to everyone who has posted so far. This debate is amazing and I am very grateful to you all. My thesis is due in December so please keep posting your thoughts. I cannot believe how much I have learned from you all and Eruwen, I think perhaps you are right, the thesis statement may have to be reworded. I'll have to see what the rest of the research yields.

Rayne
This is all hypothetical?! What do I do now? Wink Smilie
Carry on debating. It's interesting.

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But...I think the Ents were a major part of Yavanna's plan rather than Eru's.


Ah, but "each one comprehended only the part of ERu's mind from whence they came" (I think that's how that quote from the Silmairllion goes!) and so Yavanna's plan would be part of Eru's also.
True. Just out of curiosity...would that mean freewill doesn't exist in Middle Earth?
Lol, another discussion turns into a dicussion about free will. Wink Smilie
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Lol, another discussion turns into a dicussion about free will

Which is again reason enough to leave this discussion. So long!
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Which is again reason enough to leave this discussion. So long!


Geez, sorry to bring up such a touchy subject. As a newcomer to the site and discussions, I guess I wouldn't know. I won't bring up free will again. Ugh.
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I cannot believe how much I have learned from you all and Eruwen, I think perhaps you are right, the thesis statement may have to be reworded. I'll have to see what the rest of the research yields.



Hi Rayne, It is a great topic though. Let us know where your own discussion ends up as you write the paper. Hey...any paper that can generate a debate as fiery as the preceding lines will be a great paper. Good Luck! Once I re-read the chapter...I may pitch in more. Oh, be sure to look at the Silmarillion and the Eru's/Yavanna's plans for the Ents.

Eruwen
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Geez, sorry to bring up such a touchy subject. As a newcomer to the site and discussions, I guess I wouldn't know. I won't bring up free will again. Ugh.
Eruwen Happy Elf Smilie Don't feel bad because the subject isn't touchy, it's just that we recently have been discussing 'free will' over in Eru's thoughts (Ainur). I believe Amarie just didn't want it to get started here too. You can still add any comments about it over there.
Amarie, have you been taking lessons from Vee and scaring off new members again? HMMMM?? That last incident was dreadful, when VEe put them in a pie.... woops, did I say that out loud?

Don't worry, Eruwen. The only subject that I know of that is a no-no is politics. No politics. Tolkien/Middle-earth politics is fine, but no others. So you may speak about free will, just don't start a ginormous discussion that's already in another thread.
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Oh, be sure to look at the Silmarillion and the Eru's/Yavanna's plans for the Ents.

Yavanna certainly didn't plan the Ents to attack Isengard : she just wanted something or someone to protect her trees from Aulë's dwarves. At her bidding, Eru sent spirits from his halls to Arda to inhabit the trees, and as such the Onodrim came into being. So, she was in fact only disrespectful for her husband's creations. Aulë was right : his dwarves would need wood.

Yavanna was just narrow-minded and overprotective, imo. She had no idea of what would happen in future ages to come, only Mandos knew this and he kept quiet about it.
Thanks for the tip, Loni and Grondy. I'll look over in "Eru's thoughts (Ainur)" for the discussion to see what developed out of it. Yeah, I guess the right word wasn't "touchy," perhaps "overly debated" Very Mad Smilie or something would have been better.

Thanks again, Eruwen
Hey Virumor! You didn't leave us afterall...

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Yavanna didn't plan anything with the Ents. She just wanted something or someone to protect her trees from Aulë's dwarves. At her bidding, Eru sent spirits from his halls to Arda to inhabit the trees, and as such the Onodrim came into being. So, she was in fact only disrespectful for her husband's creations. Aulë was right : his dwarves would need wood.

Yavanna was just narrow-minded and overprotective, imo


Okay...now you're just trying to fire us up. I see...I see. Well, Yavanna did have a plan for the Ents, and you stated it above. But, she not only wanted protection from the dwarves, but from all the Children of Illúvatar. Hey, what's overprotective about wanting to save your creation, your children? If you made a statue, you wouldn't want to have somebody come along and smash it to pieces. If you had a child, you wouldn't want someone to hurt him/her. The plan was to have a force in the forests that would be fearful to reckon with. Ah...if only we had that now *sigh*.
Eh, srry but i edited my previous post, which you used in your above quote.

I virumor-ed, sorry.

Anyway, i think i misunderstood what you were trying to say. I thought you meant that Yavanna planned the Ents to attack Isengard, but you were just referring to the Ents defending the trees by attacking Isengard, which is indeed according to Yavanna's plan.

Well...it was still the fact that it was a force to be reckoned with. Of course she didn't plan the attack, but the attack was a result of "the force." Oh wait...wrong book. I mean, the attack was a result of her wanting a protective force for nature. Hmmm...that's an interesting thought, are the Ents, herders or protectors, and in that sense, was the attack purely reactionary? Which is tough to reckon with because they took so dang long to discuss it. And does this just all go back to free will and I should shut up now?
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Hmmm...that's an interesting thought, are the Ents, herders or protectors, and in that sense, was the attack purely reactionary? Which is tough to reckon with because they took so dang long to discuss it. And does this just all go back to free will and I should shut up now?

I think it was predestined by Eru that the Ents would enter the battle of Middle-Earth, but how and when was not predestined, but determined by freewill.

They only took so long to discuss it because the way they communicate is just slow.

Of course we don't know what 'protecting the trees' involves. Is it pure defensive or does it also involve offense like what happened in LOTR. I'd think that the Ents would just crush an Orc or a Dwarf who enters their woods and chops wood or damages trees, but in LOTR the Ents left their woods to attack Isengard. They went to the offensive. I don't know whether that was originally part of Yavanna's plan, but it should be as offense is often the best defense.
Very interesting...and well said.
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Hmmm...that's an interesting thought, are the Ents, herders or protectors, and in that sense, was the attack purely reactionary?
The Ents were treeherds and just like shepherds, they were protective of their flocks, er, forests. Shepherds used slings and staves, Ents used hands and feet. Also cattlemen used to go on coyote (ki-o-tee) hunts when those varmits became too abundant and took down too many calves. I assume shepards also made similar pre-emtive strikes and that's what the Ents and Hourn were doing at Isengard and at the Deeping-Coomb below Helm's Dike.
I forget...was it their first time acting up in such a way though? If so, they didn't do much protecting before.
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I forget...was it their first time acting up in such a way though? If so, they didn't do much protecting before.
Yes, I think this was their first time, for it is not the nature of Ents to fly off the handle on the spur of the moment, which is really an understatement.

The Ents were really laid back and it took a lot to set them off. They had over-looked the occasional tree being cut for firewood; but when it became a wholesale operation: when Saruman's minions started clear-cutting sections of the Entwood and chopping down the boulevards and orchards of Isengard, that was the last straw that finally raised their ire enough that, as Merry said in his recapitulatin of the battle to Aragorn, they began to get positively "hasty". So I concede this wasn't pre-emptive at all, was it. :elfbiggrin.
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Yes, I think this was their first time, for it is not the nature of Ents to fly off the handle on the spur of the moment, which is really an understatement.

The Ents had gone on the warpath once before to my knowledge, when they assisted Beren and the surviving Elves of Doriath slay the Dwarves of Nogrod after they had murdered Thingol....

From the Silmarillion, of the Ruin of Doriath
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And as they climbed the long slopes beneath Mount Dolmed there came forth the Shepherds of the Trees, and they drove the Dwarves into the shadowy woods of Ered Lindon; whence it is said, came never one to climb the high passes that led to their homes.
Ooohhh...nice find, Val. Thanks!
I didn't remember that, thanks Val. Happy Elf Smilie
Hi All!

I wanted to send out a huge thank you for all the help I received here. My paper is due tomorrow evening and I'm putting the finishing touches on it even as I type this.

Again thank you all for your input! (I'll let you know what my grade is as soon as I receive it)

Rayne
OOOH, we'd love to see it in a journal entry if it's not TOOO long!!!!!
UGH! The Prof gave it back to me last night and told me to fix the first page. Sad Smilie It's 986 words, it's supposed to be 1000 but I can't seem to add anymore. I'm turning it back in Wednesday evening and I'll have the grade on Monday. (keep your fingers crossed, please!)
Just add : "I think the Ents in the movie adaptation of Tolkien's major work are hideous." That's 14 words !
Now aren't you funny, Vir? Ugh! Don't add that! The Ents were incredible in the movie. I was very curious as to how they were going to animate trees, and ended up being pretty amazed.