A long time ago I wrote about this Lord of the Rings allegory for the PhD process I’d come across (see Greenflame: Lord of the Rings: an allegory of the PhD?). It still seems to have some force with the current part of the journey being like this.
The last and darkest period of Frodo’s journey clearly represents the writing-up stage, as he struggles towards Mount Doom (submission), finding his burden growing heavier and heavier yet more and more a part of himself; more and more terrified of failure; plagued by the figure of Gollum, the student who carried the Ring before him but never wrote up and still hangs around as a burnt-out, jealous shadow; talking less and less even to Sam.
From Lord of the Rings: an allegory of the PhD? by Dave Pritchard.
At this point I’m stuck in the gap between two halves of a chapter trying to map the connection between the two bits that seemed so clear not so long ago. (Personally I think it’s the least interesting chapter in the thesis so that may have something to do with it).