While Tolkien's introduction does indeed strongly disavow any connection between his novels and the events of WWII, he makes multiple references to his own personal experiences in WWI, which is the war in question in my previous post. Nevertheless, I don't think it's an allegory for either world war, for precisely the reasons that you cite. My point was that there are a lot of parallels in terms of *experience*, and that's definitely part of its overall importance--people can relate to fears of overwhelming evils, events far out of their control, which tear their lives apart. War isn't the only obvious candidate here, either--Tolkien had plenty to say about the Industrial Revolution. It's very appealing to be able to take those moments and put them into a context where the whole world can be saved by two decent and worthwhile hobbits with a lot of backup from a few badass fighters and the occasional swoony elf. Tolkien's writing differs significantly from either Homer's or Dante's in three key respects:
First, Homer and Dante wrote epic poems, not novels. If you don't want me to treat you like a child, don't make childish mistakes.
Second, Homer's original audience (assuming he ever existed) took the Odyssey as basic history. In fact, to this day archaeologists are still trying to pin down exactly where Ulysses may have gone. It wasn't an analogy or an allegory of any kind. Granted, it does have fantastic elements, but they don't have much deeper meaning in the way that, for instance, the Ring does. The Lotos Eaters are addicts, and Ulysses is too strong to get addicted in the first place. The Cyclops is a big, bad, frightening dude; a demigod, to be sure, but he doesn't have the more complex aspects that the Orcs (depraved Elves, symbols of decay) do in Tolkien.
Third, Dante's Divine Comedy is a straight-up allegory. He openly intended it to be such. There are direct connections between individual sinners, their sins, and their punishments; for instance, the Lustful are locked in their co-sinners' embrace for all eternity, floating around helplessly in a whirlwind. There aren't the sorts of dissimilarities or breakdowns that you've mentioned between viewing The Lord of the Rings as an allegory for WWI or WWII. In fact, in many cases, Dante takes actual people, exemplars of their sins (or virtue), and points them out as such. They aren't really even allegories at that point. They don't represent a sort of sinner. They *are* that sinner.
As far as class goes, I seriously don't think that Dickens would have written a novel in which the valiant and noble servant eventually saves the day by inadvertently causing his master to be mutilated. Dickens' Sam would have cast himself down with Gollum, allowing 1) a hell of a cliffhanger, and 2) a great opportunity for Frodo to wail over him, a la the Pickwick Papers. In later years, Dickens would have written Sam in rather more vicious and parodying terms, I think, though I do agree that Sam and Frodo's relationship is rather Dickensian in most regards. Kipling would have *definitely* tossed Sam straight down into the cracks, and Frodo wouldn't have wailed, but would have given a stout speech on Sam's bravery. Likewise, Frodo would have never shown any signs of difficulty with the Ring, if the novel had been the Return of the Bandar-Log. Frodo's weakness in comparison to Sam's stoutheartedness, particularly at the very end of the novel, combined with the way the Ring ends up in the cracks, definitely indicate some cracks and fissures that were not present in either the middle nor the end of the 19th century.
Probably the best way to describe Tolkien's writing is to lift a phrase from C.S. Lewis, who, when he received a letter from a fifth-grade class asking whether or not The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was an allegory for the Passion of Christ, said instead that it was an *analogy*--similar to, but not exact, and a separate story unto itself. Tolkien, however, did it first ;)
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