0

Or to take a less grievous matter: it has been supposed by some that "The Scouring of the Shire" reflects the situation in England at the time when I was finishing my tale. It does not. It is an essential part of the plot, foreseen from outset, though in the event modified by the character of Saruman as developed in the story without, need I say, any allegorical significance or contemporary political reference whatsoever.

I don't understand the part in bold above. Can anyone help me with it?

4
  • 1
    That's a mouthful. How have you tried to break it down?
    – Lambie
    Apr 21 at 14:18
  • @Lambie I was totally lost when I read that phrase. I actually didn't know how I should break it down syntactically. If I did, I wouldn't have asked probably.
    – dan
    Apr 21 at 21:53
  • @Lambie E. g. Even now(after seeing the answers below), I still have a hard time to understand what the phrase "modified by the character... " modifies syntactically. Is it "the event" or "the plot"?
    – dan
    Apr 21 at 22:01
  • 1
    [I still have a hard time understanding//and//help me understand]
    – Lambie
    Apr 24 at 20:43
4

"In the event" refers to what actually happened as opposed to what was planned. "Need I say" refers to something that I shouldn't need to say. So .. The Scouring of the Shire was planned from the beginning to be part of the story, but the way Saruman's character developed in the story affected how that chapter was eventually written. I shouldn't need to say there was no allegory or 20th century political history in it, but there wasn't.

2
  • So, syntactically, what does the phrase "modified by the character ... " modify?
    – dan
    Apr 21 at 21:47
  • 2
    @dan, this refers back to the "it" at the beginning of the sentence, which refers back to "The Scouring of the Shire". The first half of the sentence is effectively "It is an essential part of the plot and it was foreseen from the outset, though in the event it was modified by the character ..."
    – Peter
    Apr 22 at 7:38
4

The episode of 'The Scouring of the Shire' was part of his original plan for the story. He made some modifications to it because of the way Saruman's character developed as he was writing the book. The episode has no allegorical significance and makes no reference to the politics of the time it was written.

6
  • So, "the event" refers to 'The Scouring of the Shire'?
    – dan
    Apr 21 at 13:44
  • 2
    No, it refers to the way he ended up writing it as opposed to the way he originally planned it. Apr 21 at 13:47
  • Is "modified" actually modifying "the plot", not "the event"?
    – dan
    Apr 21 at 14:14
  • 1
    In the event means 'as things turned out'. Tolkien says that, when he came to write that part of the story, he modified (made changes to) his original idea because of the way the character of Saruman had evolved (as Peter explains in his answer). Apr 21 at 15:29
  • 1
    That part of the plot (the episode 'The Scouring of the Shire) was modified by the character of Saruman as developed in the story. Apr 22 at 7:39
1

It does not [reflect the situation in England]. It [the tale] is an essential part of the plot, foreseen from outset, though in the event modified by the character of Saruman as developed in the story without, need I say, any allegorical significance or contemporary political reference whatsoever

=

It is part of the plot but has no reference to allegory or contemporary politics.

though in the event= except that in the telling of the story, the story has been modified by the character of Saruman without reference to allegory or contemporary politics.

though in the event modified= has been shortened from: **though it

Another example:

They built the center in two weeks though modified by changes to the original plans.= They built the center in two weeks though [it was] modified by changes to the original plans.

The reason is says: though modified, is to avoid saying: though it was modified which is heavier.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.