Blog entry by Onaopemipo Dara
writing style is very witty, unpretentious and descriptive like a
straightforward favourite story being retold. Tolkien's The Hobbit may have
been a portrayal of his experience of World War I, of a forceful heroism, a relatable
protagonist (himself perhaps) who has been unwittingly lured from his rustic
quiet settlement into an adventure where the stakes are high. This reflection is based on the first 5 chapters of the book.
Chapter 1: An Unexpected Journey
The story is a bildungsroman - a formative education and coming of age story- of Bilbo Baggins the main character and protagonist. This is a bit of an irony as he is 50 years old. Bilbo sounds like a simple, prim and proper hobbit with seemingly great pedigree, especially on his father Bungo Baggins' side. Gandalf is a witty wizard, who probably chose Bilbo for his mother Belladonna Took and his maternal grandfather Old Took's blood runs through him. He put a sign on Bilbo's door saying he was a burglar to lead the dwarves to him.
Chapter 2: Roast Mutton
As the journey began, Bilbo seemed to struggle with his Took-side and Baggins-side: He missed his quiet little hobbit life yet the adventure sparked his curiosity. Bilbo however pushed himself to live up to what was expected of him (despite the fact that the dwarves now knew he wasn't a burglar) which was critical to his personal growth on this episodic quest. This was seen when he bravely and stupidly went to pick William the troll's pocket.
Chapter 3: A Short Rest
The difference in the beings and their settlements explored in each chapter so far, brings to mind, the difference in race and cultures in today's modern world, the hostilities expressed between some like the dwarves and the trolls; and the alliances formed as with the hobbit and dwarves, also the elves and the travellers.
Chapter 4: Over Hill and Under Hill
"There were many paths that led up into those mountains and many passes over them. But most of the paths were cheats and deceptions and led nowhere or to bad ends; and most of the passes were infested by evil things and dreadful dangers.” This brings to mind the way life is, where there are seemingly many means to an end but not all means lead to the desired end or to any end at all. The battle of the stone giants and the resulting thunderstorm uses animism suggesting inanimate object such as stone were living beings with a mind of their own.
Chapter 5: Riddles In The Dark
Bilbo's constant craving for his home and his food is a natural human behaviour of craving comfort and wanting the best for our wellbeing. The riddles Gollum gave were of an ancient historical style while the riddles Bilbo gave were of a similar style to modern nursery rhymes yet they both understood the workings of riddles and the game. This fact points to the contrast and similarity of Antiquity and Modernism in language, tradition, worlds and concepts. This also showcases Tolkien's deep background and research into philology, mythology - study of ancient languages and of ancient fables.