Endings

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k10wnsta
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Re: Endings

Post by k10wnsta » June 26th, 2010, 4:20 pm

polymath wrote:...Lord of the Rings too. Is Frodo appreciably changed, or is Middle Earth what's really changed?...
Polymath,
While your post was meticulously detailed as usual, I have to differ on LotR being an example of a static character changing the setting. Yes, Frodo certainly changed the setting, but he most certainly did not remain static in doing so. In fact, Frodo's evolution marked character development that is rarely so well realized in literature (usually because it requires an extremely lengthy narrative and is terribly depressing) - and I'm not talking about the ring's influence on him. I'm referring to Frodo's realization that, when everything was said and done, he had been so fundamentally changed he could see no possibility for happiness in anything ever again. After all he'd endured, there was simply no possible way to recapture the innocence he had when the story started because his scars were much deeper than the physical wound he'd suffered on Weathertop.

As with many themes in the story, Tolkien's own experience with trench warfare in World War I was a big factor in it being so well realized. But the only way to really make the audience identify with how such a thing so fundamentally changes one's being is to force them to endure traumatic event after traumatic event until it seems so much suffering has passed that they can only look back to where they were before it all began and say "Wow, I can never recapture the naïvety I once had about the world." It so affected Frodo, he effectively committed suicide at the end of the story. Sure, it was dressed up in flowery hopefulness about an eternal elven kingdom, but the reality is, he simply could not bear to go on in the world he so thoroughly changed - because in changing it, it irreversibly changed him.
It was incredibly well illustrated in the film (unless you were emotionally spent and unable to pay attention to the ultimate resolution).

Anyhow, good post though.
How vain it is to sit down and write when you have not stood up to live.
--Henry David Thoreau

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polymath
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Re: Endings

Post by polymath » June 26th, 2010, 7:09 pm

The beauty and the dilemma of opinions is any one is as likely to have diameterically opposing points of view as fall anywhere on a continuum of differences. I'd be more surprised to encounter total concordance than disagreement. Interpreting literature has few, if any, right or wrong answers, only stands taken, supportable points made, and credibly substantiated.

I agree Frodo experiences character change, though I don't believe his change is central to the story. My sense of Frodo's change is he successfully resists change and is tempered by his efforts more than unequivocally transformed. I also believe the saga is less about character transformation than it is about transforming Middle Earth's situation. When Frodo decides in the ending he'll keep the ring, he's made a potentially irrevocable choice. All seems lost for Middle Earth, including Frodo's efforts to remain true to his self. In that moment of self-realization he fully knows his true nature, what ancient Greek rhetoricians call anagnorisis, loosely translated as discovery.

In character genre, a goal-oriented personal journey seeks from the beginning to make sense of a central character's dilemmas of internal traits, personality, and/or externally expressed behaviors. Character genre can also orient on resistance to changes of those natures. That's what I mean by static in the case of Frodo, not any negative evaluation, but static in the sense that his character transformation is minor relative to another preeminent facet of the plot. Frodo is however a fully rounded character. I believe it's all but impossible for a central character to not experience a character transformation of at least some identifiable degree. And Lord of the Rings has an artfully weighted scale of setting, plot, idea, character, and event emphasis. It's my opinion setting predominates, as is the custom for fantasy genre epic quests.
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Anobile1
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Re: Endings

Post by Anobile1 » June 27th, 2010, 1:34 am

midenianscholar wrote:I recommend that you find someone you trust for their opinion and their honesty. They don't have to read the manuscript (though that would be great)--you can just give them the details of what's going on. Then discuss it over coffee and brainstorm. You might be surprised how much help you get just by talking it out.
Yes.

Though the only person at the moment I really have to talk things through with is my mom, and she makes me frustrated just as often as she helps (poet logic and novelist logic do not mix).

I have some idea how my ending will work, but I'm still not sure if it's entirely workable yet. I should probably go write it now...
My Blog: http://amorenanobile.blogspot.com/ (Most recent post: Inspiration Patterns and an Old Friend)

EMC
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Re: Endings

Post by EMC » June 27th, 2010, 11:15 am

Hi Everyone,
Thanks for your replies. Lots of great info in there. I think one of the problems is, because I just wrote whatever came to mind with Novel 1 and it went so far off track is that with Novel 2 I am very conscious of not wanting to throw something in just because. I feel like I'm writing massive passages of text which will have a red slash through them as soon as I reread! The only thing to do really is keep writing, I know. I've not been writing as much as late, as I just feel put off whenever I try. However there is no alternative!!
Onwards and upwards, and thanks for all your help.
EMC

k10wnsta
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Re: Endings

Post by k10wnsta » June 27th, 2010, 7:48 pm

Polymath,
If you're basically saying Frodo's development was static in that it was not the driving force, but rather being driven by the story, then I suppose that makes sense.

I've always found it most profound that that which drove all of Frodo's actions throughout the story was the hope of returning to a simple life in the Shire, yet after all he endured, when he was finally able to do so, he came to understand that there could be no return for him.
"How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on, when in your heart, you begin to understand...there is no going back."
The Shire had been saved by him but not for him, and despite overcoming so many countless perils, it was that realization alone which finally broke his spirit.


EMC, sorry to have provoked such digression in your thread. I'll offer some feeble (albeit possibly cryptic) input as restitution...

I've never quite understood how one could write a story with no knowledge of how it would end, but I suppose if I were to do so, I would look at it this way:

You can set out on a journey with no clue of where you're going, just make sure you can appreciate where you've been.
And remember that while living, there really are no ends, there's just rest areas where you can stop and look back. Be sure your narrator has stopped at one with a good view.
Last edited by k10wnsta on June 28th, 2010, 4:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
How vain it is to sit down and write when you have not stood up to live.
--Henry David Thoreau

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polymath
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Re: Endings

Post by polymath » June 27th, 2010, 11:39 pm

k10wnsta,

I think discussing Frodo's outcomes is on topic. Endings, resolutions, denouements, outcomes, transformations, I don't see there's great differences between them for bigger picture purposes, the minutia of their distinguishable properties, yes.
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