Victor Quijano Elizabeth DiGennaro English IV Monday, April 23, 2012 The Truth about The Hobbit The world we live in is full of heroes that are different shapes and sizes that people don’t remember who they are a month after they do something. The story The Hobbit may make you think of a half sized person as an no everyday hero, but his actions will touch your heart and make you think that it’s really possible to change the world around you no matter what size you are.
The half sized person in this story by J. R. R.
Tolkien is named Bilbo and his race is known as hobbits. In his distant homeland called the Shire, he was summoned by a wizard named Gandalf who requested he join them on a quest for treasure. This quest was probably the first time someone from his village had ventured out into the far reaches of the land. As you may know not all adventures take place with just one person and that was the not the case in Tolkien’s adventurous tale.
Bilbo was to be accompanied by 14 dwarves including their leader Thorin and he was warned by Gandalf, “This adventure will change your life”.
The story grabbed a hold of situations that involved heroism, greed, metamorphosis, and Tolkien’s perfect example of how war has affected the world we live in today. Tolkien’s The Hobbit proves someone can succeed even through adversity and danger while showing that a hobbit is more than meets the eye. In his journey he must reach the Lonely Mountain which is a desolate place full of dangerous monsters that would test Bilbo in every way possible. Some of the monsters he would face on the journey would be man eating trolls, spiders, and goblins. These would show his growth over time to when he returns from his journey.
Also, the different types of situations he will encounter moments of heroism. Later on towards the end of his journey he will have to deal with the acts of greed from others, and endure a metamorphosis into a stronger person internally and externally. The main influence in Bilbo’s adventure was primarily Gandalf the wizard that oversees his journey. Gandalf was able to assist Bilbo in his encounter with Trolls at the first step of his travels. Bilbo was able to continue a conversation for a fairly long time with the 2 trolls. They had captured his entire party of dwarves ne by one in a burlap sack to eat for later. He had been able to catch that the trolls were answering questions that they had just answered previously, and he used this to his advantage to find a way out of his mess. After a while of confusing the trolls Gandalf created a distant voice that took the place of Bilbo and drove the trolls toward it and gave him the time to help the dwarves escape. Another time when Bilbo was saved by Gandalf was during “The Battle of Five Armies”. This battle was known by this name from obviously five armies that involved Goblins, Dwarves, Elves, Men, and Eagles.
Most of the battle wasn’t recorded in the story by Tolkien but what was the definite outcome from the battle was when Bilbo yelled, “The Eagles are coming! ”(Chapter 6) After saying this, a goblin threw a rock at him and knocked him out for the duration of the battle. Gandalf’s part in this battle is his ability to summon the Eagles to aid him in the battle. This act of keeping Bilbo alive in these types of dangerous situations allows Gandalf to seem like an indirect hero because Bilbo doesn’t know it’s him until he tells him besides the Eagles flying into the battle.
The end of the journey represented an important theme that only the finale reveals to the reader which is greed. Before Bilbo’s final battle a man named Bard the Bowman of Esgaroth killed a fearsome dragon named Smaug. After Smaug’s death the word of this great death was spread throughout the land and many nations began to rally their soldiers for war. The cause for this was Smaug’s enormous treasure. Smaug would fly around the countryside terrorizing the townspeople, stealing everyone’s treasure, and occasionally killing a few people to prove his dominance in the land.
At first the Dwarves considered the treasure as their own from them rightfully claiming the chamber full treasure. After receiving information from a messenger they were able to get time to defend the treasure from everyone who wanted to claim it. The first major army was the goblins who came on foot and some mounted on wolves ready to take the treasure just for greed itself as well as Wargs(which are and evil demonic breed of wolves). The other large army that wanted to secure the treasure was the Men, Elves, Eagles, and Dwarves.
Just from instinct the greedy dwarves instantly cried, “Kill the Men! Kill the Elves! Save the gold for ourselves! ”(Chapter 7). They had to unite for a greater cause and help each other survive the onslaught of over 15,000 Goblins and Wargs. The battle was decisively won by the Elves, Men, and Dwarves. Almost instantly after the legendary battle the Men were convinced they were the rightful owner of the treasure because Bard the Bowman killed Smaug and allowed the treasure to be claimed in the first place.
Also, Smaug had stolen a great deal of his treasure the Men and they felt that they should have be compensated for the reparations that had been dealt to their city because Smaug had decided to burn down the town of Esgaroth out of confusion and anger before he was killed. The treasure was simply divided among the victors after negotiations between the dwarves and the men. Bilbo declined his share to only a mere 2 small chest of gold and silver to take back to the Shire. The “Battle of Five Armies” has also been interpreted in many different ways.
It could be directly related to Tolkien’s time on active duty during World War I. The battle in The Hobbit the armies involved could have been interpreted as the fight for control over Germany after they had been forced into submission by the Allies. The united force of the Allied Powers was able to create a treaty known as the “Treaty of Versailles” which imposed military occupation in Germany by the League of Nations. As a result of this treaty, France would have wanted to take large portion of land from Germany and force them to pay reparations for invading their country.
France would be the Men because of them wanting to receive a large portion of the treasure (Germany). This would not be allowed by everyone else who wanted a fair share of the treasure (German land) and would be divided among the armies (League of Nations). This interpretation was Tolkien succeeding at converting one of the worst wars in history to a fantasy that would help relate everyone’s lives to the effects of war in society. Bilbo’s metamorphosis into a stronger was also another very important theme in this story. Bilbo began as a helpless man that was fearful of venturing in the land of monsters and imagination.
His external conflicts included the Trolls, Goblins, Gollum, the Spiders, and Smaug. When Bilbo and his party of dwarves reached the Lonely Mountain there was a terrible storm that forced them to take shelter in a nearby cave in the mountain. After setting up camp in the cave, they decided to make camp for night but were awaken by Bilbo’s cries about goblins raiding the camp. Upon everyone being dragged down in a chamber deep in the mountain by the goblins, the Great Goblin was going to attempt to bite off a dwarfs head before Gandalf swiftly kills the leader while blowing out every torch in the hamber. While everyone is scattering from the chamber Bilbo falls and is knocked unconscious. Thus is Bilbo’s first situation where he is isolated and must attempt to survive on his own and happens to come across a ring while feeling the ground in the pitch tunnel. Bilbo continues onto an underground lake where a horrible looking creature named Gollum spots him and approaches him. Bilbo had no idea what the creature was and Gollum was hungry and willing to give Bilbo a chance at survival by asking each other riddles. Bilbo uses his cleverness by asking Gollum what is in his pocket.
Gollum would have never expected Bilbo to have a ring so he never guesses the ring. Bilbo has won his challenge for survival but Gollum go to his island to seek his ring and finds out it has disappeared. Bilbo then escapes the enraged creature through a tunnel nearby with Gollum hissing from a distance. This scenario where Bilbo used riddles to survive as he did in the earlier situation with the trolls had happened to work once again. Nevertheless this was only his second feat over an intimidating creature like the retched Gollum.
Bilbo’s last test of his growth from the beginning of his adventure ends with the encounter with Smaug in the Misty Mountain. Smaug is the greediest character in the story because of his lust for gold and riches. Smaug is the main antagonist because of his reign of terror for over 200 hundred years. He is obsessed with every piece of gold and remembers where every tiny piece of gold sits when he sleeps and when he leaves. Bilbo attempts to steal a gold cup but is trapped by the dragon just out pure luck during that short moment.
Bilbo and Smaug begin to tell riddles to one another, Bilbo’s riddles appear to be unmatched by the dragons talent for deciphering them. Bilbo sees the dragon is becoming frustrated and being to interrogate him about his reasons for being stealing the cup and he replies sternly, “We aren’t here for the gold, we are here for revenge! ” Smaug’s arrogant personality causes him laugh in amazement and this gives Bilbo the right time to escape a giant wave of fire thrown by Smaug. The dragon assumes Bilbo came from the town nearby known as Lake-Town and begins his rampage.
This is when Bilbo mentions a weak spot on the dragon’s chest to the party of dwarves and the message is passed to Bard the Bowman and he strikes Smaug in the heart with a black arrow. Tolkien’s interpretation of a dragon is that they are very persuasive and showing the characters traits as a greedy, murderous, and cruel creature. Bilbo still manages to achieve a victory over this major part is his journey to the treasure. In the world we live we are able to survive through wars and major conflicts between countries. This isn’t as easy for children to understand in the means of why people fight over unimportant things over the years.
Tolkien was able to convert a war that changed Europe into a fairy tale and explain how the roots of war begin and end to an every child. He managed to explain how a small hobbit named Bilbo was able to be clever and survive different creatures that would have ended his adventure on sight. Thanks to him we’re able to read a book where everyone is able to get away and be led on a journey with hobbits, dwarves, and plenty of monsters that should entertain everyone. Citations Livingston, Michael. “Shell shocked hobbit: the First World War and Tolkien’s Trauma of the Ring. ”Gale Student resources in Context.
Web. 1 March, 2012 Tolkien. The Hobbit. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York. Copyright 1937, 1938, 1966, 1994, 1996, 1997 Spark Notes Editors. “SparkNote on The Hobbit. ” Spark Notes. com. SparkNotes LLC. 2002. Web. 25 Apr. 2012. Hardy, Gene B. “The Hobbit. ” CliffsNotes. N. p. , n. d. Web. 9 May 2012 <http://www. cliffsnotes. com/study_guide/literature/id-171. html>. Tolkien: A Biography. Humphrey Carpenter. George Allen and Unwin, London, 1977. Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien. Ed. Humphrey Carpenter with the assistance of Christopher Tolkien. George Allen and Unwin, London, 1981.
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