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Yes, as a European born in the late nineteenth century Tolkien grew up in a cultural atmosphere with many racist stereotypes that we reject today. But he was actually relatively aware of this. The elephants/mumaks actually strike me as more an echo of Hannibal and the Punic wars where elephants were used. But he admits in the Letters that his interpretation of an Orc based on European perception of Mongols:

The Orcs are definitely stated to be corruptions of the 'human' form seen in Elves and Men. They are (or were) squat, broad, flat-nosed, sallow-skinned, with wide mouths and slant eyes: in fact degraded and repulsive versions of the (to Europeans) least lovely Mongol-types.

But you should be aware that the European stereotype of 'Muslims' even up to the nineteenth century was as a very dark people. Look at Shakespeare's Othello, he makes quite a big deal of the Moor's 'compexion'.

The story as a whole is so complex that you could find just about anything you want in it. I think that's a large part of the secret of its success. There is simply so much there that nearly anyone can find something to identify with.

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Subject Views Written By Posted
Numenor---Atlantis 354 gizabrek 13-Mar-05 07:25
Re: Numenor---Atlantis 133 Nolondil 13-Mar-05 23:12
Re: Numenor---Atlantis 145 Mark Staab 14-Mar-05 00:09
Re: Numenor---Atlantis 146 Nolondil 14-Mar-05 07:23
Re: Numenor---Atlantis 115 Simon Magus 14-Mar-05 05:15
Re: Numenor---Atlantis 117 Nolondil 14-Mar-05 07:49
Re: Numenor---Atlantis 116 gizabrek 14-Mar-05 09:35
Re: Numenor---Atlantis 100 Mel1Forrer 14-Mar-05 11:17

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