Response to Finrod:
Did'nt most of Freuds theories revolve around sexuality ??
Yes, they certainly did, and I really do not want to ignore these theories for I believe they are a significant in regards to both the pleasure-principle and the reality-principle. I simply have a difficult time with the Oedipus Complex as well as believing that women envy a certain part of the male anatomy. Also, many psychoanalysts, for example, would look at Sam and Frodo and discuss their hidden sexual motives for one another...and those are things I just do not believe and cannot discuss in a paper about LOTR. I think that's where I hold back in regards to Freud and his theories.
And yes, I probably could have incorporated the Silmarillion or completed an entire thesis on it, but there is so much to cover in LOTR that I don't have enough paper or time.
Thanks for your feedback! :)
Response to Gandalf-olorin:
Hey, I,too, am an English teacher (well, a certified, non-practicing one.) I have done some due diligence though. You know, it's funny how in the world of academia I must defend both my love for LOTR as well as my use of psychoanalytical theory. Yes, most modern academians look upon psychoanalysis as an out-of-date theory, but I really can't stomach theories such as Derrida's -- if it's not stated clearly, then it's not thought out clearly I always say.
I fear to say too much, Eruwen. Earlier in this thread, I posted what Tolkien himself thought of this subject, though I may not have posted ALL he said. You will have to look up that subject in his Letters and see for yourself.
I've read his letters regarding psychoanalysis (as well as many of his works), but one does not have to disregard a critical theory because the author does not like it. Sorry Tolkien. What I understood from his letters though was that Tolkien himself does not want to be psychoanalyzed through his text, and I agree that it is difficult to gain psychological insight into an author through his writing, but again, I don't think it's impossible, and I don't think it means people won't or can't do it. However, I'm simply using his text to demonstrate why it psychologically moves us, the readers, members of society, people who need something to help us explain our own lives and motives.
Going back to critical theory though -- there are many ways to approach a work, and the way I have chosen is to use the text of LOTR in particular (a very close reading) and to look at how it affects the reader, why it mirrors our own journey through life. I could have looked at the work and psychoanalyzed Tolkien, but I agree that that is not fair to him. Not quite what I was going for.
Any validity in the field has been the product of concrete observations without preconceived theories.
Validity to whom? The scientific community? Or to you? I must disagree here, for concrete observations stem out of preconceived theories (hypotheses). And in any case, I am not a scientist, I am a literary critic who likes to use psychoanalytical theories to interpret works. I use what I believe and feel is true, which is what literature is all about. Besides, I am not one who greatly appreciates what the scientific community and society validate anyway, which you might see from my paper, for they are blinded by reality.
Since the experts in this field deliberately exclude the supernatural from the life of man--something foreign and abhorent to Tolkien--then recourse must at least be had to those whose theories have been borne out in solid observable results.
I'm not quite sure what you are saying here. First, I'm not sure exactly what you are referring to regarding the "foreign and abhorent to Tolkien?" Supernatural itself? (Which I doubt you mean) Or the fact that experts in the field of psychoanalysis deliberately exclude the supernatural? In which case, psychoanalysts do refer to the supernatural, but only as images rising out of our unconscious. And then, I'm not sure what you mean by the recourse bit. In any case, even though I am pulling on Freud's theories, I am using more modern interpretations of his theories, utilizing a great deal of Norman O. Brown.
As for the Romantics, Blake's idea seems to me to faintly echo Emerson's of the "oversoul"--also foreign to Tolkien's notion as expressed in LOTR and elsewhere. There are indeed many elements used (abused?) by the Romantics which Tolkien has made use of. But the overview he held, and the themes to which he returned again and again, are not Romantic.
I don't know much about Emerson, but Blake probably does faintly echo his ideas of the oversoul, which are not the Blakean ideas I am referring to in Tolkien. I am referring to the fact that Tolkien says we are spiralling upward to a higher plane of Paradise, and Blake believes in this as well.
Thanks for your feedback! :)