FoTR - A Short Cut To Mushrooms: Bk I, Chapter IV

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FoTR - A Short Cut To Mushrooms: Bk I, Chapter IV

Postby Philipa » Tue Oct 11, 2005 12:36 am

A Short Cut To Mushrooms



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Farmer Maggot's Kitchen

© Riv Res



"Have you seen Baggins?"

With Mr. Maggot's help Frodo, Sam and Pippin make it to Bucklebury Ferry and are joined by Merry the threat of Mordor ever on their heals.


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Postby Philipa » Tue Oct 11, 2005 10:00 pm

The build up before the cork pops keeps climbing. I like this chapter because we meet more people (Farmer Maggot and Merry) and the black riders are ever present. Do you suppose Tolkien knew a Maggot sometime during his life?
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Postby Merry » Tue Oct 11, 2005 10:23 pm

I have never liked his name, but I have always like this farmer and his wife. I enjoy her parting remark: don't go arguing with no foreigners. I like her solid farmhouse fare: bacon and mushrooms--my favorite pizza!

I've always thought it strange that Tolkien describes the contents of almost every meal in LOTR, except for the feast at Rivendell.
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Postby Philipa » Tue Oct 11, 2005 11:52 pm

Merry perhaps Tolkien was a lover of the culinary arts too. :D And now that you mention it...he doesn't say what the Rivenell feast consists of does he? :?
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Postby bruce rerek » Wed Oct 12, 2005 3:27 pm

There is another aspect one cannot help to notice, that of Frodo facing former fears that loomed as large as the present ones. From his lack of judgement as a tween (perhaps another take on a Shortcut to Mushrooms) he has always feared dogs and farmer Maggot. If one looks up a former tale named Farmer Giles of Ham, one can see the same kind of resolve and lack of fear of fell creatures we see in Maggot.
The call of Sam, I have something to do before the end, and it lies ahead, not in the Shire is one of great importance to this narrative. We see the departure from youth to adulthood and the grave responsibilities that it will demand. The road cannot go back but into a uncertain future but one that calls the individual to his appointed task/s.
Is not with great care that we see the Elves through Sam's eyes? So old and young, so gay and sad.
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Postby Merry » Wed Oct 12, 2005 3:37 pm

I also like Sam's line when Frodo asks him what he now thinks of elves: they seem above my likes and dislikes, so to speak. Sam knows who he is, and that it does not diminish him one bit to recognize that there are beings who, by the very fact of what they are, are superior to him. It's where true humility and healthy pride meet.
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Postby Merry » Sat Oct 15, 2005 6:00 pm

Me again! I was reading the end of this chapter last night, and realized what a strong contrast there is between the terror of the Riders and the comfort of Maggot's kitchen. Here's what Tolkien can do that lots of 20th century writers seem too sophisticated to do: plain wholesomeness.
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Postby Iolanthe » Sat Oct 15, 2005 6:51 pm

That's a good point Merry! And isn't it just that that grounds us amidst all the Elves, strange creatures, mythic battles and inconceivable trials? One of the great secrets of Tolkiens success, stopping the whole construct flying off somewhere we can't wholeheartedly follow.
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Postby Merry » Sun Oct 16, 2005 1:55 am

Yes, right, Iolanthe! Without that grounding, it just becomes another episode of Xena.
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Postby bruce rerek » Sun Oct 16, 2005 4:18 pm

I also appreciate the contrast and I think the Professor had wholesomeness as the standard. Each peril faced comes relife and then sustinance, a good bath, and a long sleep. What is the first thing a travel weary person wishes to do, but to take a long hot bath or shower and change into clean clothing?
Looking forward to our next chapter, have some god notes to share.
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Postby Iolanthe » Sun Oct 16, 2005 5:47 pm

Yes, these things have a value worth more than gold to the tired and fearful. The Hobbits eat heartily at Farmer Maggot's and have his shelter. They find the same with Tom Bombadil and at Rivendell and how glad we are when they come to these havens! I feel we need the rest and respite too and the reminder that there are comfortable things in the world. Later on we have the safety and magic of Lothlorien and Treebeards home near the roots of the Last Mountain. In many ways this is the last friendly house until the return to Minas Tirith when the big battles are won. I never feel Pippin's stay there before is that comfortable really! And the first welcome at the Golden Hall is less than great for the weary and the stay short and full of unease.
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Postby Merry » Sun Oct 16, 2005 7:22 pm

I think JRRT uses this pattern very effectively to ratchet up the tension sequentially in LOTR. If it's just fear-fear-fear, we can't sustain that. But if it's fear-fear-respite, we can go farther.
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Postby Mithrandir » Tue Oct 18, 2005 10:21 pm

Merry wrote:But if it's fear-fear-respite, we can go farther.


Fear, fear, respite. Gosh, that sounds like my normal day.

Again, the Hobbits have that amazing abilty to face terror, move beyond it, and enjoy a second breakfast.

Has anyone ever faced absolute terror and then found themselves calmly eating lunch an hour later? Could this have been a reflection of his wartime experience?

Terror Terror Boredom.
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Postby Riv Res » Sun Oct 30, 2005 3:29 am

Merry wrote:I think JRRT uses this pattern very effectively to ratchet up the tension sequentially in LOTR. If it's just fear-fear-fear, we can't sustain that. But if it's fear-fear-respite, we can go farther.


Merry, I think you are correct and that concept is what makes the chapters in Book VI so hard to get through. Beginning with The Tower of Cirith Ungol, there is little or none of that respite, and if makes that part of the book seem like so much drudgery. Perhaps the genius of Tolkien is that he knew how horrible and desperate the journey to Mount Doom would get for Frodo and Sam, and he just eased us into it. Had the drudgery started as early as the Shire...many of us may not have made it to Mount Doom.
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Postby hope » Sun Oct 30, 2005 9:49 pm

I agree wholeheartedly with all the points raised :)

I think Tolkien's method of giving respite from the fear may remind us that good and evil co-exist.

He seems to provide glimmers of hope that the quest will not fail.
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