Applies Rene Girard’s mimetic theory to a study of Frodo’s motivations and role models in the early phases of The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien’s incorporation of extensive background material deepens our understanding of his main characters, most of all his central hero, Frodo. Commonly described as “role-models,” external mediators work to pacify relations in a community, and act to endow individuals with meaning, purpose, and direction they otherwise would not have. By the imitation of role-models, Frodo, Sam, Pippin, and Merry become real to Tolkien’s readers by comparison and contrast to Bilbo Baggins, Gildor and his high elves, Tom Bombadil and ultimately, the long-lost Eärendil. Tolkien arrived at similar insights to Girard by drawing upon his legacy of classical and Catholic education.

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