Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
This senior honors thesis delves into the works of Erich Maria Remarque, Ernest Hemingway, and J.R.R. Tolkien as examples of male to male intimacy, and the therapeutic aspect these relationships can present against post-war stress. Each of these authors create moments of tranquility between a duo, or a group, of men that may provide aid for mental wellbeing during the times in which the characters are fighting in their respective wars. The authors all fought in World War I as well, and their experiences during their times on the front shaped the characters and worlds that they created. In All Quiet on the Western Front, Remarque provides a serious and honest view of the events of World War I, which provides a necessary backdrop for the works of the other two authors. Although Remarque’s anxious and, at times, angry form of writing focuses on the more gruesome aspects of the war, he still mentions the importance of comradeship on the front. In The Sun Also Rises, Hemingway shows the struggles of veterans after the war, and how important it can be to turn towards friends for aid in a time of high stress. His protagonist, Jake Barnes, also shows the liminality of a veteran with an amputation, and how hard it is to carry on after the war with an injury of his nature. Finally, in The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien infuses moments of friendship and intimacy between a handful of pairings of characters, and this eventually allows the members of the fellowship to destroy the one ring of power. Tolkien’s efforts to idealize male to male friendships show a world in which men can be honest and vulnerable with one another. He also includes escape within his narrative, which ties directly in with his work to create a mythical world, which he may have done in order to escape his anxiety of fighting in the Great War.
Martin, Oliver, "Intimacy and the Fellowship It Can Bring" (2021). Honors Theses. 271.
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