A LEAF BY NIGGLE PDF

Plot summary[ edit ] In this story, an artist, named Niggle, lives in a society that does not value art. Working only to please himself, he paints a canvas of a great Tree with a forest in the distance. He invests each and every leaf of his tree with obsessive attention to detail, making every leaf uniquely beautiful. Niggle ends up discarding all his other artworks, or tacks them onto the main canvas, which becomes a single vast embodiment of his vision. However, there are many mundane chores and duties that prevent Niggle from giving his work the attention it deserves, so it remains incomplete and is not fully realised.

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It is at once simple and profound, physical yet magical, active yet contemplative. The story follows Niggle , a modest painter, as he attempts to finish his masterpiece during his lifetime while constantly being interrupted by things that prevent him from doing so. Eventually, he is called on his "long journey," which becomes strangely metaphorical; he enters a Workhouse, where he performs menial labor all day until he is deemed fit to move on to the next stage by two Voices.

He then takes a train to a wide, open green land that contains the fullest possible realization of his artistic vision in life, taking the form of the Tree.

Niggle takes the opportunity to shape the landscape and make it beautiful, along with his neighbor Parish , who is an expert in gardening.

After some time, Niggle moves on to the next land, the area of the Mountains, never to return. Every element of this story has a deeper significance than meets the eye. Niggle, the main character, is a very specific type of person: the dreamer whose limitations prevent him from actually fully realizing his creation, and whose nature prevents him from being much practical good to society. His name plays a part in this characterization: to "niggle" is another way of saying "to do something in an ineffective or annoying way.

Niggle is consumed by his artwork, like most good artists writers, painters, musicians, etc. The common people may not have the same appreciation for art, but they do know about normal, worldly things e. The "journey" Niggle must undertake is clearly representative of death. The story opens with a line saying that Niggle knows he must eventually take a long journey, but he finds the idea unpleasant and puts off his preparations, paralleling a common attitude toward death.

At the train station, the Porter sees that Niggle has no bags preparation, repentance, etc. There, Niggle works all day in seemingly menial tasks that are actually reforming him, correcting his view of time and teaching him the value of hard physical work, something he ignored and neglected during his lifetime.

Eventually, while lying in bed in the dark, Niggle overhears two Voices discussing his case. The obvious connection to draw is that the First Voice represents God the Father, while the Second Voice is Jesus Christ, who intercedes for humans before his Father in Heaven and provides a way for them to enter Paradise. It is the Tree from his art, but not even as his mind could realize; it is what he was trying to imagine his entire life. This strange yet wonderful area is a sort of canvas for Niggle; he works to shape it and create something beautiful from it, with the help of his neighbor, Parish, and they both realize the importance of each other.

Niggle symbolizing Tolkien himself: a fantastic dreamer who constantly finds himself bogged down by the "real world. The story says that the Tree began as a single leaf, which Niggle drew on a whim. It then began to grow almost of its own accord, taking the shape of a much larger tree that includes hundreds of such leaves along a giant, sturdy trunk. Even the mountains and forests in the background of the tree come to life, although Niggle can never seem to get it quite right.

Tolkien claims to despite allegory, but this little story is clearly symbolic, if not fully allegorical, and these parallels make it all the more applicable and profound. Update this section!

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Leaf by Niggle

Shelves: inklings-and-george-macdonald "Niggle was a painter. Not a very successful one, partly because he had many other things to do. Most of these things he thought were a nuisance; but he did them fairly well, when he could not get out of them: which in his opinion was far too often Central to "Niggle was a painter. And yet, as Tolkien tells us from the outset, so many other things pressed in on Niggle, he was left with little time to work on his tree. Still, a deadline loomed over Niggle. Indeed, a Driver came for Niggle.

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Leaf by Niggle Analysis

All of his time is consumed in working on his magnum opus, a giant, detailed landscape centered around a large tree. The masterpiece originally began as a small leaf, but as if of its own accord, the piece of art kept growing and filling out until it seemed to become a world unto itself. As a result of his unpreparedness, he finds himself at "the Workhouse," a sort of white, sterile hospital, where he must perform various menial tasks and duties every day. This routine continues for a while before Niggle finds himself the subject of conversation between two Voices, who discuss his situation before agreeing to send him to "the next stage. There he finds his Tree, the piece of art he had been laboring on in life, full and complete and fully realized in physical, three-dimensional space.

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Leaf by Niggle Summary

It is at once simple and profound, physical yet magical, active yet contemplative. The story follows Niggle , a modest painter, as he attempts to finish his masterpiece during his lifetime while constantly being interrupted by things that prevent him from doing so. Eventually, he is called on his "long journey," which becomes strangely metaphorical; he enters a Workhouse, where he performs menial labor all day until he is deemed fit to move on to the next stage by two Voices. He then takes a train to a wide, open green land that contains the fullest possible realization of his artistic vision in life, taking the form of the Tree. Niggle takes the opportunity to shape the landscape and make it beautiful, along with his neighbor Parish , who is an expert in gardening. After some time, Niggle moves on to the next land, the area of the Mountains, never to return. Every element of this story has a deeper significance than meets the eye.

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