Friday, August 02, 2002

Leaf by Niggle and Marriage
It occurred to me today as I was rereading Leaf by Niggle by J.R.R. Tolkien that it is primarily about marriage. Now, I know that Tolkien always spoke about applicability of a story, thus leaving it to the reader to apply it to himself, but I really got the sense this time that Tolkien himself was talking about his marriage. First, there is the fact that Niggle isn't married. But he is frequently "harrassed" by his only close neighbor, Parish, into doing things for him, thus distracting him for his work. Then, there is the comment about "bread rather than jam" when Niggle is in the Work House. It is clear that we let the things that we want to do (jam) get in the way of what we ought to do (bread). It is easy to get jealous of the demands of marriage and family when you'd rather be blogging. Yet, if we concentrate on the bread like we are supposed to the jam will come as a gift. Or if it doesn't, we will fine more pleasure in the bread. Finally, there is the discovery by Niggle when he finally enters the land of the Tree that he cannot finish his own creative project without the help of Parish. Because Parish knows about tree, plant and earth things that Niggle doesn't . This is like the complementarity of marriage. He knows that "This place cannot be left as my own private park." He knew he had to share it with Parish or it wouldn't be complete. This is such a formula for good marriages. I think this work should be part of a marriage prep course. Read three times.

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