Although many people read The Hobbit only as a precursor to Tolkien’s masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings (1968 as omnibus; original volumes The Fellowship of the Ring, 1954; The Two Towers, 1955; and The Return of the King, 1955), the earlier book deserves discussion for its own considerable merits. The third edition, revised from the original, is considered the standard.
Tolkien is one of the preeminent fantasy writers of the twentieth century. For many readers, his books provide the standards by which to judge all other fantasy. Tolkien’s success lies in his ability to “sub-create,” a process he defines in his essay “On Fairy Stories” as the artist’s ability to create a “Secondary World” that follows consistent internal rules. By describing in depth the peoples, geography, and history of his invented world, Tolkien offers an imaginary world so vividly portrayed in its complexity that readers do not so much suspend disbelief while reading as much as simply believe in Middle-earth.
One component of Tolkien’s success as a sub-creator is his profound knowledge of Anglo-Saxon and Old Norse literature. He freely borrows its trolls, goblins, dwarves, elves, and dragons, as well as the quest motif. The quest is an archetypal pattern of fantasy literature present in fairy tales, romances, and epics; it provides structure for both the plot and character development in The Hobbit. Quest stories depict people, most often young, who leave home in search of some object. On the journey the protagonists pass a series of tests, often encountering evil and attempting to destroy it. At the end, the heroes return home fundamentally altered, with their identities reshaped.
Bilbo is a model quest hero. Readers easily identify with him. At the beginning of his travels he is not particularly imaginative, brave, or competent, but he develops these qualities as events demand them of him. Leaving his quiet, unchallenging home for the quest forces Bilbo to grow psychologically during his travels. One fundamental characteristic never changes: He remains good-hearted throughout the story, and much of his success comes from his best qualities of loyalty, perseverance, kindness, and unselfishness. In contrast with Bilbo, the dwarves, elves, and men lack these qualities; their greed over the dragon’s treasure causes the clash among them that precedes the Battle of Five Armies.
The Hobbit has a reputation as a children’s book, but it appeals to a broader audience because it is simultaneously amusing and serious. It deals with important themes in a humorous narrative style. The narrator is intrusive, addressing his audience directly to comment on the action or give information, a trait that younger readers enjoy but that some older readers may occasionally find tiresome. The novel reads aloud well to children, partly because of Tolkien’s use of comic verse and onomatopoeic words.
The Lord of the Rings, the trilogy sequel to The Hobbit, differs vastly in its epic scope and thus is appropriate for adult readers rather than children. It tells the story of Bilbo’s nephew Frodo, who must destroy the Ring of Power of Sauron, the Dark Lord. It explores the same themes of heroism and conflict between good and evil that are present in The Hobbit, but in far greater complexity and intricacy of detail. Although critics frequently favor the epic over its precursor, the two differ so much in aim that comparisons are unfair. The Hobbit furnishes an incomparable introduction to The Lord of the Rings, and its readers often wish to go on to the trilogy, but The Hobbit can stand alone as a rich fantasy experience.
The novel “The Hobbit,” written by J. R. R Tolkien is about Bilbo Baggins, a normal Hobbit, who had never asked for an adventure until 13 dwarves and Gandalf The Wizard show up at his doorstep for tea. They want to use Bilbo as a thief for their quest to reclaim the treasure from the fearsome dragon, Smaug. Bilbo reluctantly joins the company of the dwarves as they set off on their journey to cross the Misty Mountains, which is troll and golbin country and the untamed wild of Mirkwood, where straying from the path can be deadly and lead you to Giant Spiders, Wargs and Orcs.
An admirable character in the The Hobbit is Bilbo Baggins. At the start of the story he would much rather relax in his comfy hobbit-hole or take long walks in the Shire than go on adventures, as Mr Baggins thinks “adventures make one late for dinner. ” Bilbo reluctantly accepted the offer, and soon finds himself on a long journey through the forests of Mirkwood, to get to Smaug’s dark lair hidden away in the Lonely Mountain. Thorin Oakensheild who is the leader of the group wasn’t that keen about having Bilbo on the quest but soon realises the goodness in him “There is more in you of good than you know child of the kindly West. Bilbo is quite unlike the dwarves as he cherished friendship and happiness over gold and wealth and he shows this by putting his life at risk several time by escaping ferocious goblins and killing giant spiders to save Thorin and the other dwarves. Throughout the story Bilbo’s maturity develops and he begins to gain a better sense of identity and confidence outside of the comfort of his hobbit hole. Tolkien has done this by contrasting Bilbo’s personal growth with the clear lack of development shown in the dwarves.
I think Bilbo is an admirable and remarkable companion as he shows wisdom, courage, bravery and above all nobility. Bilbo taught me a valuable lesson because of his goal to survive and be happy while the dwarves desire for treasure and jewels was their main concern. Greed is a recurring theme throughout the novel with many events stemming from the dwarves intense greed for food or gold. In our world today many people are equally as greedy as the 13 dwarves and would much rather be wealthy than have an enjoyable life full of wild adventures and long-lasting friendships.
Many the story themes and ideas related to the saying ‘money doesn’t buy happiness’ which in this case is quite true because even though Thorin was already extremely rich he still wanted more treasure and did not care that it would put his companions lives at great risk. The story demonstrates to me that you need to make the most of what you have got in life because nothing will last forever! An important event in the story was when Bilbo was accidently left behind inside the Goblin caves and tried to find a way out by himself.
In the tunnels Bilbo finds a ring, which he puts in his pocket. By an underground lake, Bilbo meets the creature Gollum. Gollum and Bilbo play a game of riddles. If Bilbo wins the game, Gollum will show him the way out but if Gollum wins, he will eat Bilbo. When Bilbo can not think of another riddle to ask Gollum, he finds the ring in his pocket and asks himself “What have I got in my pocket? ” Gollum thinks this is a riddle, but cannot answer it, and so Bilbo wins the game. Gollum gets angry and does not want to help Bilbo.
Gollum then goes away to get something, a magical ring, which turns the person wearing it invisible. Gollum cannot find his ring, and realises that Bilbo has it, “Curse the Baggins! Its gone! What has it got in its pocketses? He’s found it, yes he must have. My Birthday present. ” Gollum goes back, but Bilbo is afraid and runs away. While running Bilbo slips the ring onto his finger and he becomes invisible. Gollum ran past Bilbo, towards the way out of the cave. Bilbo realises that the ring makes him invisible.
With the help of the ring he followed Gollum and got out of the cave. Outside, Bilbo again meets Gandalf and the dwarves. It showed the relationship between the two characters and how neither Bilbo nor Gollum trusted each other but their relationship was based around language and riddles and who could out smart the other. I thought this was an important event because it demonstrated the great courage that the little Hobbit had and it made me feel that even in the scariest of situations you need to keep a positive attitude and don’t let anything distract you from your goals.
Tolkien portrays Bilbo as a modern thinker living in an ancient world. Bilbo is able to communicate and make connections with the past and present through language and traditions. For example, Gollum’s riddles are taken from historical sources whilst Bilbos come from modern children’s stories. It is the riddle game itself that allows Gollum and Bilbo to engage with each other rather than what the riddles are actually about. The unity between the old and the new world were ongoing theme throughout The Hobbit.