Joseph Campbell in his seminal book The Hero with a Thousand Faces says in the final chapter, "The Hero Today," that unlike the classical hero, the modern hero faces a world that does not embrace a single mythology. "Then all meaning was in the group, in the great anonymous forms, none in the self-expressive individual; today no meaning is in the group -- none in the world: all is in the individual" (334). That does not mean, however, that there are no heroes in the modern world or that the modern world requires no heroic figure -- quite the contrary. The modern world's need is greater now than in years ago because the modern world does not see or even acknowledge its need of a hero. Into this modern heroic J.R.R. Tolkien provides in his Lord of the Rings trilogy, not one, but several heroic figures that demonstrate the surviving appeal of the classical hero in the modern age. The proposed paper will examine the characters of two minor, but nevertheless heroic, characters -- Sam and Gimli -- as they relate to the heroic journey as described by Campbell.
"Hidden Heroes in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings,"
Inklings Forever: Published Colloquium Proceedings 1997-2016: Vol. 8, Article 20.
Available at: https://pillars.taylor.edu/inklings_forever/vol8/iss1/20