Tuesday, November 12, 2019
The Unsuspecting Hero of J. R. R. Tolkiens The Hobbit Essay -- Tolkie
The Unsuspecting Hero of The Hobbit Our tendency to romanticize it notwithstanding, childhood is tough. It is not, primarily, the time of nonstop games and fun that we would all like to remember. Childhood is marked by fun and games, to be sure, but it is also marked by a feeling of powerlessness in the face of larger and older adults. These adults are in full control of nearly every aspect of children's lives. From when they go to bed to what they eat, children are allowed to make very few choices of any significance. Because they are smaller, younger, weaker, and less trusted to be able to make wise decisions than are adults, children can easily feel powerless or even unimportant in comparison with these adults. The Hobbit, J. R. R. Tolkien's classic of children's literature, features a protagonist who has to deal with the sense of powerlessness and inferiority that children can easily feel. Bilbo Baggins, the novel's diminutive hero, is dramatically smaller and several years younger than the thirteen dwarves whose adventure he shares. Indeed, the dwarves initially see him as a sort of a child who cannot possibly help them in their quest for treasure. Bilbo proves himself to be a true hero throughout the course of the novel, however, saving the dwarves' lives more than once and providing the secret to killing the dragon Smaug. Tolkien obviously meant for children to identify with Bilbo Baggins, and his heroics were clearly intended to bring pleasure on a far more personal level than the exploits of a superhuman hero such as Sir Lancelot. Indeed, it can be argued that by choosing to make Bilbo the smallest and youngest member of the party, Tolkien allows his child readers the pleasure of iden tifying directly with his her... ...t children are far more inspired by the triumphs of other children than they are by the triumphs of adults or even adolescents, and so he wrote about a character who does vindicate himself and mature, but who remains, for all of that, a child. Children who read this novel will still undoubtedly be treated as though they are incapable of fending for themselves, and they will still undoubtedly be terrified of things around them, but they will feel a sense of vindication whenever they think of Bilbo Baggins. After all, Bilbo proves that one can be brave, wise, and heroic despite the fact that one is a "mere" child. Works Cited Carter, Lin. Tolkien: A Look Behind "The Lord of the Rings." New York: Ballantine Books, 1969. Crabbe, Katharyn. J. R. R. Tolkien. New York: F. Ungar Pub. Co., 1981. Tolkien, J. R. R. The Hobbit. New York: Ballantine Books, 1965.