Student Author(s)

Anna Goodling

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Curtis Gruenler

Document Type


Event Date



Twentieth century author J. R. R. Tolkien permanently impacted the world of fantasy with his work in Middle-earth. Countless aspects of his legendarium have been examined by readers, scholars, and critics, who view them through widely-varying lenses of literary theory and criticism in an attempt to interpret the ideas central to Tolkien’s universe. However, few scholars have explored the relationship between Tolkien’s works and literary theorist René Girard’s concepts of mimetic desire and scapegoating, leaving this relatively untraversed field ripe for study. Girard’s mimetic theory offers insight into Tolkien’s understanding and portrayal of power by providing a method of interpreting his use of objects of power to demonstrate the corruptive nature of such items and the rivalry they incite. This research examines Girard’s theories, applying his ideas of triangular, imitative desire for an Object to the texts of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.