Mark V. Zieg 
                                                  April 26, 1990 
                                                      Dr. Keller 


            (followed with varying degrees of success
                      throughout the paper)

	I.	Introduction
(1)		Theme:	J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-Earth proved that a valid ethos
        is defined through its relationship with other ethnics, through
        its roots, and through its language(s).
	II.	Relationship with other ethnics
(2)		A.	Define concept of ethnic as Boundary vs. Area
(3)		B.	Show how Tolkien used Boundary model
(4)		C.	Show how other authors didn't
(5)		D.	Show how Boundary model proved true in real world
	III.	Roots
(6)		A.	Describe how roots influence ethnic perception
(7)		B.	Show how Tolkien used background
(8)		C.	Show how other authors didn't
(9)		D.	Show importance of background in real world
	IV.	Langauge
(10)		A.	Describe how language controls an ethos
(11)		B.	Show how Tolkien used language
(12)		C.	Show how other authors didn't
(13)		D.	Show how language applies to ethnic in real world
	V.	Conclusion
(14)		A.	Summarize:  how Tolkien combined the three factors of a valid
                ethos to create a best-selling series; how other authors tried
                and failed, because they ignored or de-emphasized one or more
                key elements; and how all three elements are concurrent with
                contemporary definitions of ethnicity.

John Ronald Tolkien was a master of
The subcreative art; his Middle-Earth
Was far more than a simple work of love.
It proved to all, ethnicity has worth
In presence only of these portions three:
A carefully defined relationship
With the surrounding base society;
A sense of background, which the readership
Can use to aid suspended disbelief;
And last, not least, a language that can hold
The essence of the ethos.  Sad the thief
Who seeks to cheat the secret Tolkien mold;
In literature or reality, 
These rules define a true ethnicity.

Two means exist by which to judge the heart
Of any ethos:  you can define it
As list of traits, each attribute a part
Of every soul we do include; admit
However, that another way to see
Ethnicity is not as area
Of aspects shared by all, but boundary
Between cultures.  Your mental cornea
Will find an inner block this thought unbinds;
It makes more sense to synthesize a wall
That may divide two cultures across lines
And disenchant all chance for a cabal.
For no true ethnic can exist alone;
Through converses are their distinctions shown.

Our Tolkien used this second, boundary means
When he described his subcreated world.
In every case, as he constructs new scenes,
His cultures clash, their warring flags unfurled,
And each defines its enemy.  E.g., 
The orcs were merely twisted elves, defiled
By Melkor's might.  Through contrasts readers see
That all things loved by elves, the orcs reviled--
Vice-versa holds true, too.  This all is found
In Robert Foster's Guide to Middle Earth:
The reader's knowledge of each race is bound
Up in the other.  Likewise, Elvish mirth
Is used to make human grimmness stand out;
Through contrasts his depictions gain their clout.

Though many authors have attempted to
Create new worlds as popular as his,
They failed, for they did not pay proper due
To our first rule of ethnic base, which is
That cultures can't exist alone.  Instead,
They frequently presented enemies
Who really varied very little.  Read,
These stories seemed like shallow parodies
Of Tolkien's battles grand, where powers fey
Warred for the final conquest--whether Light
Or Dark prevailed, the fate of all did lay
In fragile balance.  Not like those who write
Of cheap affairs whose armies' difference
Is unknown, even to the audience.

That boundary philosphy is fact
Is clear to see in modern social climes.
When asked, a "white" school youth will say that "black"
Is made of "dialect" and "songs in rhymes,"
Or grudgingly, "they dance well."  Rarely will
You hear, "they follow patriarchal rites,"
And, "they believe it's wrong for one to kill,"
Because such rules are followed by the "whites"
As well.  The "white" perceives "black" influence
In just those cases which are different
From him.  In sooth, an ethos is a fence
Containing kindred of convergent bent,
And constraining those who won't repent--for in
The shadow of the fence fall those who sin.

The next important thing to think about
When writing ethnic works, is to create
A deep-set sense of background, which will rout
The reader's feelings to their proper state.
Through understanding causes and effects
The reader is allowed a surer grasp
Of cultural discords.  Thus, he connects
The present with the past in heart-felt clasp,
And feels the living breath of history.
If ethos can't exist alone, then nor
May one remain bereft of memory,
Traditions holding lore from days of yore.
An ethos must include some roots, the songs
Still sung of ancient sufferings and wrongs.

Besides unprecidented popular
Success, then rare in fantasy genre,
The Rings series was quite irregular
In this respect: it held an aurora
Of myths and legends from antiquity,
Which Tolkien built through many scattered clues,
In fragments of old songs and poetry,
Of ancient Gods at work.  One now argues
If Tolkien did not inadvertantly
Invoke a paradox, by giving full
Disclosure to explain clairvoyantly
Whatever might transpire; thus to fool
The common pitfall of "contrivedness"--
The bain of those whose plots oft hinge on guess.

Where other authors often fail to match
The genius of his legacy is in
Providing depth of detail--readers catch
When they are being duped; no harlequin
Will sate them now!  New writers try to fill
Criterion that Tolkien set when he
First told of F‰anor's bright Silmaril,
But find they lack the time or energy
To do more than produce a brief prologue.
They ask the reader to accept their fresh
Creation, minus a temporal log
Of any sort.  An ethnic world should mesh
Historical allusions to retain
respect, and from mere happenstance abstain.

And so, it must be said, the past reflects
On our contemporary views of what
Comprises valid ethos.  Architects
Of worlds of fantasy, stuck in a rut,
Should note that understanding "black" concerns
Cannot be done without reminder of 
The years when slavery left collar burns
On every neck.  O scribe, let no kid glove
Constrain the fire of your flowing pen!
Are women seen as their own ethnic throng
Because of gender?  No!  Instead, 'twas men,
Through centuries of thinking en mass‚ wrong,
That brought them social insecurity,
few legal rights, et hoc genus omne.

The final element we should discuss
Is language; whether bridge of barrier,
Melodious or harsh and ponderous,
It is yet, nonetheless, the carrier
Of all the author finally imparts.
As such, the sound and tone of every word
Is blazoned deep into the readers' hearts.
Thus, great care should be taken, that when heard
No thoughtless word or phrase will bring surprise
To startled readers' eyes.  In lieu, pursue
A constant theme, and in that steady guise
Achieve the final prize: that is, a new
Scenario which readers take in hand,
to be transported to your faerie-land.

In Tolkien's case, the language was much more
Than means to tell a story; it came first,
Before the books, 'till Tolkien's high rapport
With languages, from lectures much rehearsed
At Oxford, ordered him to next conceive
A people who would speak his tongue.  These elves,
For such they were, soon led him to believe
A homeland need be built, if dusty shelves
Were not to be his Quenya's fate.  So, knowing well
The rules of ethos, next he made the rough
And ugly dwarves, that he could through them tell
About his fairer elves.  Not yet enough,
He then wrote down the myths that gave each race
Its language, background, and historic place.

Though up-and-coming authors recognize
The vast significance that language plays
In ethos, each one generally shies
From writing down his own--the long delays
Involved amaze the most prolific bards.
But just as bad as making no new words
Is using textbook English, with regards
To sentence composition.  Afterwards,
Discerning readers feel a bit deprived
If all the writer did was recombine
Old bits of common knowledge.  Books contrived
In such a way don't long survive; to shine
As Tolkien did, assume some dialect:
archaic, technopunk, or Christian sect.

The world today is full of people taught
That words should dictate ethnic scorn or praise:
The citizens of Georgia say madlodt
For "thank-you," not spaceeba, Russia's phrase
Expressing gratitude.  Returning to
The "black" example, Betsy Winsboro
And Irvin Solomon wrote this review
About ebonics not too long ago:
The "black" vernacular serves to obstruct
Its users from advancing to a caste
Commensurate with "whites;" "blacks" must instruct
Their youth to shed their culture and lambast
Their heritage if they wish to succeed;
They might as well still harvest cottonseed!

We now have seen three elements that will,
When carefully applied with heart and sense,
Give publishers an ethos wrought with skill,
Bring readers joy, and prove your diligence.
When Tolkien wrote his masterpiece he sought
To make sure every element was there:
Contrasting cultures, deeply rooted plot,
And languages to give his ethos flair.
However, other authors often fail
When seeking to create an ethnic yarn;
Ignoring vital parts, they write a pale
miscarriage, quickly swept beneath a cairn.
These fallen authors should have paid a look
At real-world situations for their book.