The Point of The Hobbit

Posted February 16, 2015 in Essay / 0 Comments

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At least, part of the point.

This was originally an assignment for school where I had to analyze a certain passage. I went a bit further.

The particular passage I am discussing begins on page 183 and goes on through page 186. These pages contain Bilbo’s first conversation with Smaug the dragon, in which he flatters the dragon hoping to gain information. He makes a lot of vague reference to his travels so far in order to confuse the dragon into not eating him as well as make sure he doesn’t give Smaug too much information.

It is in this passage that I feel Bilbo really comes into his role and owns it. As he keeps talking, calling himself “Ringwinner and Luckwearer and Barrel-rider,” he begins to really warm up to it and goes on and on. He starts to feel pride in his accomplishments, and when listing them in front of the dragon, he realizes just how many they are. He realizes how far he’s come, and how different he is from the hobbit they saw at Bag End. The Tookish part of him really came out in the end and he proved to be quite a capable and fortunate addition to the team. In fact, if it wasn’t for him, they may not have gotten that far at all. Perhaps Gandalf would have come to save the day, perhaps not. We know he was off on a far more important adventure anyhow at the time.

But at the same time, Bilbo doesn’t know his confidence is short lived. As long as it took him to get that far, it doesn’t take long at all for him to turn right around again and realize just how small of a part he is in a rather large war. And thus will end his usefulness.

HOWEVER. The point of this journey, for Bilbo at least, is all about Bilbo. This is not a story on the whole about the Battle of the Five Armies. It is hardly about the war at all, although that provided for a somewhat fitting conclusion. This story is about Bilbo and his growth. His personal journey and his realization of what he was capable of doing. He is such a different hobbit by the end of the book and that made all the difference in his life, in his world. He could no longer see things the same way again, and even though it cost him his friends and social standing (at least in the Shire), he was a happier and better hobbit. For someone who has gone on an adventure is far different from someone who has not. It matters not whether the adventurer is successful, but it is the experience. Bilbo saw many great things on his journey there and back again. He saw injustice, cruelty, war and death, but he also saw kindness, true friendship and brotherhood, and power used for good. He wielded power for good, and that is something that stays deep inside you far longer than a comfortable life full of merriment and parties and far more mealtimes than any stomach should allow. It is true that the other hobbits may have been happier and better off not knowing the harsh world outside the Shire, and it is possible to live a fulfilled life in comfort and security, but some people and hobbits cannot rest until they have lived the full experience and realized just how much more meaning there is to life. Just how much more meaning can be found if one is brave enough to go looking for it.

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