Faculty Publications & Research

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2015


Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, IMSA, English, evaluation, analysis, thinking skills, critical thinking, curriculum, Lord of the Rings


Curriculum and Instruction | Education | English Language and Literature | Literature in English, British Isles


Why Tolkien?

Let us start with the obvious—if cynical—question, almost certain to come from a skeptical administrator or colleague: why would any serious, self-respecting English teacher want to teach an author whose work is about dragons, fairies, and the fantastic? With all the increased attention to standardized testing and with the demand for rigor in read- ings in the average English curriculum, choosing a popular text might raise eyebrows among critics. The question that an English teacher may be asked (or indeed, may ask him- or herself) is: doesn't teaching Tolkien as "serious" literature just fan those flames?



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