Thesis Theater: Emily Austin, “The Road Gives Ever On: Following the Road Motif in The Lord of the Rings.”

Date & Time




Signum MA student Emily Austin will present her thesis “The Road Gives Ever On:  Following the Road Motif in The Lord of the Rings ” and respond to questions from the audience in an interactive Thesis Theater. The discussion will be facilitated by Emily’s thesis supervisor, Dr. Sara Brown.



The Lord of the Rings makes prominent use of “The Road” as a multifaceted symbolic image, but roads also play a more subtly powerful role in the text as a tool of narrative description. Tolkien’s stylistic treatment of roads and paths builds on his longstanding interest in the concept, visible in many earlier writings. In The Lord of the Rings, attention to the characters’ roads as they journey is a recurring motif that becomes particularly central for Frodo and Sam on the way to Mount Doom. This paper uses close reading and digital text analysis to identify four principal ways this narrative attention to roads can manifest, and examines how they undergird and enrich the concept’s thematic significance.


About the Presenter

From an early age, Emily Austin has loved both reading and the visual arts, and pursued ways to combine these interests. Her favorite authors, particularly J.R.R. Tolkien and Jane Austen, shaped both her literary tastes and her artistic imagination, and they continue to provide both academic interest and inspiration for art projects. Born and raised on Oahu, Hawaii, Emily now lives in Indiana with her husband Ryan and runs a business creating art, illustration, and graphic design. Besides reading and painting, Emily also loves travel, photography, and sewing.


About Signum Thesis Theaters

Each of our master’s students writes a thesis at the end of their degree program, exploring a topic of their choice. The Thesis Theater is their opportunity to present their research to a general audience, and answer questions. All are welcome to attend!

Signum University Thesis Theater

Join us on May 21st at 11am ET for a Thesis Theater to explore the theme of the journey in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and perhaps maybe, our own.