“There and Back Again” or “The Hobbit” is actually a fantasy novel by J.R.R Tolkien who is an English Author. It is also a children’s book that can be described as a classic hero pursuit story. This novel is an adventure, which is filled with action, wonder, vividly memorable characters, and magic. These are remarkable accomplishments for any piece of writing. Originally, “There and Back Again” was anticipated to be a children’s tale. The novel was initially published in 1937 in Great Britain by Unwin and George Allen. Therefore, it was published prior to WWII outbreak. In addition, it acts as prologue of the sorts for great trilogy that is, “The Lord of the Rings.” This novel takes place in Middle Earth, which is a fictional land. It is set in time between Dominion of Men and Dawn of Faerie.
Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit and the story protagonist. During his adventure, he habitually refers to his home ladder contents and wishes that he had extra food. Until Baggins finds magic ring, he is actually more baggage than aid (Tolkien 26).
Gandalf is an itinerant wizard who introduces Bilbo to company of 13 dwarves. He disappears during the journey and only appears at the key moments in the novel. In addition, he causes the main character Bilbo to forget his reputation for the cautious respectability to go to adventure, which will alter the hobbit forever (Olsen 35).
Thorin Oakenshield leads a group of thirteen dwarves who all wish to get back a treasure horde that was stolen by dragon.
Smaug is the other main character whom we can describe as the antagonist and dragon of the story.
Plot and Storyline
Baggins starts as a conservative and cautious hobbit that is well respected and also considered as a pillar of hobbit community. When this character reluctantly sets out on quest to recover band of dwarves’ stolen treasure, we observe him facing various types of dangers. He faces trials that every time force him to view himself deeply for resourcefulness and strength that he needs to complete his expected task (Hardy 50).
Tolkien successfully brings out various themes in this novel. There are themes of wisdom and knowledge. The novel has numerous keys, maps, and clever riddles games. This essentially helps to balance the story magic. Besides magic and fate, there is wisdom in this novel. This wisdom is necessary for Bilbo to become a hero who is successful.
The other themes that clearly come out are the themes of solitude and nostalgia. Gollum is in fact an exciting piece of puzzle. Just like Caliban, this character possesses a history, which includes a maternal unit, a brief education, more happiness than present, and a life above the ground. Caliban is actually named for the cannibalism and is marked by his failure to speak properly. Additionally, Gollum is named for talking sound that he makes when he is eating.
The other main themes that we find are the themes of sleep and unconscious. In the initial chapters, we observe that sleep is a cherished joy of hobbits. In chapter eight, there is an exciting fusion of sleep, unconsciousness, and lethargy. Bilbo achieves his victory because he is described as a light sleeper (Weta 37).
Heroism is the other theme that we find in the novel. The main theme here is development of Bilbo into a hero. At the start of this exciting story, we observe Bilbo being comfortable, complacent, and timid. He becomes frightened up to the point of fainting after Gandalf talks him into boarding on quest with the Thorin dwarves. However, as the story goes on, he prevails in face of adversity and danger.
The motif of fate in this novel plays a role that is complicated. References to the ancient prophesies about king under a mountain and how Gandalf thinks proposes that there exists a larger and guiding providence or luck that directs actions to a certain extent. In addition, the author presents Bilbo as acting on himself and taking the initiative (Hardy 26). This brings the events in the novel to a conclusion that is successful.
“The Hobbit” or “There and Back Again” is essentially an epitome of fantasy, hero quests, and adventure stories. The author proves himself as a master storyteller. The book’s culminating event that is “Battle of five armies” is actually a constructed event that is wonderfully. However, the criticism in the novel is the author’s tendency to be extremely descriptive.
Tolkien, J R. R. The Hobbit, Or, There and Back Again. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co, 2001.
Olsen, Corey. Exploring J.r.r. Tolkien's the Hobbit. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012.
Hardy, Gene B. Tolkien's the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit: Notes. Lincoln, Neb: Cliff's Notes, 2000.
Weta. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Chronicles: Art & Design. New York: Harper Design, 2007.