Senior students in Mr. Joel Wilkes English class recently had to write a short essay addressing a topic of their choice. They were required to focus on clarifying a thesis statement, supporting the thesis statement with body paragraphs, and give examples that show their point rather than simply telling it. Below is an example of one of those essays, written by Miss Becca Roth.
Frodo’s Christ-Like Struggle
“Let’s hear about Frodo and the ring!” Sam exclaimed! “Yes, that’s one of my favorite stories!” Frodo replied. Even when Tolkien’s Sam and Frodo were in dire circumstances in Mordor toward the end of their quest, they were recalling their journey up to this point and how their story would be told by future generations. The two hobbits understood how influential what they were doing would be for all of Middle Earth. Beyond their story, The Lord of the Rings series is an epic adventure full of teachings that are universally applicable. Many of these teachings come alive in Frodo’s character. Through his bravery, self-sacrifice, and dedication, Frodo reflects the image of Christ.
Frodo called on remarkable bravery when he had to overcome all odds to complete the task of destroying the ring. Frodo started out as a hobbit whose only concern revolved around what his second breakfast was going to taste like, but ended up valiantly saving Middle Earth. Although Frodo had countless instances of bravery in fighting monsters and constant oppressors of his mission, his bravest act was his everyday struggle. Each morning, he woke up in terrible circumstances with the weight of Middle Earth’s fate on his shoulders but kept going without complaining. On Frodo’s journey, there was not much hope, but there was always a presence of strength. The source of this was a higher power and belief in Good. Although Tolkien never explicitly talked about God, he was a devout Christian, and God’s presence is clear in the spirit and morale of the Fellowship. Frodo’s struggle is a perfect representation of 2 Corinthians 12:9 where Paul says, “Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” Even though the ring is the most obvious “higher power” in this story, there is Good that is the hope Christ. This Good gave Frodo the strength, courage, and bravery to do what was right with what was given to him. Christ similarly faced everyday oppression, but he never let it change how he felt about his purpose. Christ was constantly falsely corrected by the Pharisees for actions such as healing the sick on a Sunday, but this never gave Him any hesitation when he knew what he was doing was right. In The Lord of the Rings, Frodo is the picture of Christ in the both big and small acts of bravery he exhibits in this story.
Frodo knew he had to be selfless unto the point of self-sacrifice in the journey that was ahead of him. He looked at this mission not as an option but rather as a mission that must be accomplished. There was no question that he was called to complete this quest. During the council of Elrond, he stood up, without understanding what he was doing, and proclaimed, “I will take the ring, though I do not know the way.” Frodo did not hesitate in making this decision or think about the huge undertaking that it was. Instead, he thought about the corrupting effect of the ring on everyone around him, such as Borimir and his struggle with the temptation of power from the ring, and what he could do to stop it. Frodo even wanted to go by himself to keep everyone else out of harm’s way, but the council determined that the Fellowship was necessary. Most importantly, Frodo was not thinking about the danger he was putting himself in but the good it would do for everyone else as shown by his lack of hesitation. This willingness displayed a great image of self-sacrificial love for his companions and the Shire. Hobbits have the ability to step outside themselves and not take themselves seriously. The hobbits used this to be optimistic through singing and joking constantly. This helped them not think about themselves and what could happen to them and kept their spirits high so they could continue on this noble journey. Although many think hobbits are just concerned with fun and food, Frodo knew how to lay down his life for the greater good.
Frodo was entirely dedicated to his task. Only thinking about his assignment, Frodo did not consider his basic needs the majority of the time. For the duration of their journey, all Sam and Frodo had to eat was Lembas bread, which was a bland substitute for food. For hobbits, who had at least four excessive meals a day, living on Lembas alone should have been a deal breaker. However, they did not complain; this mission went before their bodily needs. In addition, Frodo did not have proper shoes or clothes for the majority of his quest. When they went to Mordor, Frodo and Sam had to disguise themselves as orcs. Dressing like orcs was the most despicable deed a hobbit could do; however, Frodo knew this was necessary and did not give it a second thought. Gandalf gave Frodo the advice, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” Frodo applied Gandalf’s advice to every second of his quest through his single-minded devotion.
All of these virtues portray the character of Christ. Christ, the ultimate hero, was the most brave, self-sacrificial, and dedicated person to have ever lived. First, Christ was brave when he stood up to the authorities who were constantly challenging Him. In John 8, Christ stood up for an adulterous woman who the Pharisees wanted to stone. He made a very bold statement about everyone being a sinner to the religious officials and convicted everyone there. Second, Christ was self-sacrificial unto death on a cross. Third, Christ was dedicated as He used every waking minute to help others and change their lives. Additionally, both Frodo and Christ come from lowly backgrounds. While Christ was born in the most humble of ways, in a manger, Frodo was an orphan who never really knew his parents. From start to finish, their lives were modest and focused on others.. Frodo and Christ each had one main antagonist. For Christ, Judas was against him although he was on the road with Christ for a long time. For Frodo, Gollum had hidden, selfish motives when guiding him to Mordor. Both Gollum and Judas betrayed their masters after pretending to aid them.
Although Christ and Frodo are alike in numerous ways, the main difference between the two is perfection versus momentary corruption. Christ lived perfectly on His mission, but Frodo succumbed to temptation. After bearing the ring for so long, Frodo briefly decided not to destroy the ring when he finally reached Mount Doom. Gollum ended up destroying the ring, but Frodo’s moment of weakness shows man’s corruption and desire for power. Although Frodo was imperfect, Tolkien reflected many qualities of Christ in Frodo’s character.
The Lord of the Rings is a worldwide favorite and often analyzed for religious parallelism. Tolkien shows a glorious picture of Christ and the Gospel through Frodo and his struggle. Many of the themes and wisdom in The Lord of the Rings are relevant to everyday life and the journey that is salvation, redemption, and sanctification.