Frodo: “I can’t do this, Sam.”
Sam: “I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.”
Frodo: “What are we holding onto, Sam?”
Sam: “That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo… and it’s worth fighting for.”
I don’t think that much more needs to be said; the quote is pretty straightforward. However, I’d like to expand upon this thought. I think that this thing that we have to hold on to, this idea worth fighting for should not simply come from an outside source. Above all, what we need to hold on to is ourselves. No, not literally. This idea that the only things worth having are those that we find in the outside world is ingrained in us from the get-go. From birth we’re conditioned to desire monetary gain and rewards those who Never mind acquiring wealth, friends, “love” – all the forms of perceived success- what is most essential to progress is the embracing of the self. From that stems the ability to find joys in the outside world.
For if you cannot take care of yourself, how can you expect to treat those you care about with full force. If you don’t have a grasp on 100% of yourself, then how can you expect that of others? It seems pretty obvious when I say or think it, but the application of this concept is the tricky part. It’s easy. It’s easy to focus on the negative, to find flaws where others find treasure. It’s easier to hide yourself than to risk rejection. Because, as painful as it is to wallow in your self-loathing and to berate yourself, it is still less painful than what might happen if you love yourself and put yourself out there. Frankly, it’s downright terrifying.
Frodo realizes that he has always had something to hold onto: his self. He saw what he could become as a person (or, hobbit) and took the plunge. I don’t see how it could have been any other way. That is one of the reasons why Tolkein’s books are so popular, so loved throughout the years. Underneath all of the epic landscapes, all the devastating battles, and extensively detailed lore (he created an entirely new culture for Dwarves, Elves, and wizards) lies the coming-of-age tale of Frodo Baggins. It’s simple, yes, but the pure brilliance in the way this story is belayed is why it so enraptures us. All of this, due to the concept of self-acceptance. Pretty awesome stuff.