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J.R.R. Tolkien The Hobbit

Chapter 1: An Unexpected Party

Bilbo Baggins is a peaceful and domestic hobbit who enjoys living in his cozy hole in The Hill. His life is quite wonderful by hobbits' standards, which is to say, there is no excitement and there are plenty of meals each day. Bilbo is the only son of Belladonna Took and the Tooks are a wealthy family but Belladonna and a few of the others had adventurous streaks and they were not nearly as respectable as the Bagginses. In this story, Bilbo is going to lose his respectability on a rather wild adventure. One of Belladonna's old friends is a wizard by the name of Gandalf and though he has no official business in Hobbiton (the place where Hobbits live), Gandalf makes an appearance at Bilbo's house. The two really don't get on well at the beginning, as Gandalf is a stranger and strangers are adventurous and not very respectable. When Gandalf reveals his identity, Bilbo is politer and goes as far as to invite Gandalf to tea in a few days. Bilbo has a memory of Gandalf setting fireworks and it does seem that his off-handed treatment of the wizard is pardonable. Gandalf is always plotting something and he usually knows more than those around him know. Bilbo plans to have tea with Gandalf on Wednesday but Gandalf transforms the tea into an organizational meeting for an adventure in which Bilbo is to play the central role as a professional thief. Of course, Bilbo is not interested in this and he has no experience, but Gandalf has brought twelve dwarves to the tea and the company disregard's Bilbo's protests. They also do a good job of eating all of the food in the hobbit's house. The adventure surrounds an old dwarf-map that depicts a mountain, in which a dragon named Smaug lives. Smaug has stolen hordes of treasure and these hordes must be reclaimed. It is up to Bilbo Baggins to find a way to sneak into the mountain. Of course, there is an incredibly dangerous terrain separating Hobbiton from Smaug's mountain and this is most of the challenge. The head of the assembled dwarves is Thorin and he is eager to reclaim the lost glories of his race. When Bilbo finally heads to bed, he is not at all pleased with the formidable challenge that stands before him. Analysis:

Tolkien does not waste anytime introducing us to the world of his fiction, Middle Earth. Dwarves and hobbits are only a few of the many types of creatures that are encountered.

Gandalf, the wizard, is a major character in The Hobbit as well as in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. His intentions are rarely manifest though this secretive aspect does not really make him a negative character. Instead, his characterization is positive; he is a guardian and symbol of wisdom. Bilbo is a wonderful contrast to Gandalf and Thorin, the more extroverted of the dwarves. Well before the end of the novel, Bilbo Baggins will prove himself to be an able adventurer but in this chapter Bilbo's joys are all images of domesticity and peace. There will be no tea, little food and hardly a good night's rest on the road and while Bilbo isn't in any danger yet, his discomfort is certainly foreshadowed here. The characterization of Bilbo Baggins is more complex than the others, as Bilbo is the main character of the novel. The most important thing to notice here is the juxtaposition of Baggins-like Hobbit-style respectability and Took-ish disregard for convention in favor of adventure. Of course, Bilbo will end up more like his mother, Belladonna Took, but even as "belladonna" means beautiful (woman) it is also a name for a poison. Smaug's stolen treasure is another image that commingles beauty and death. Finally, no quest is complete without a destination and treasure in mind and this story borrows on the old motif of the treasure-map and the lost-and-found key. Maps and keys are guides, sources of direction and very convenient. On a thematic level, we will find that discussions of maps and keys bring the ideas of wisdom, natural and acquired talent to the table. Bilbo and Thorin will give us ample data to test hypotheses on whether heroes are born, self-made or both. Finally, we can expect fate to loom as consistently as foreshadowing, which is to say‹all the time. This voyage is the fulfillment of ancient prophecy but that does not mean it is destined for complete success. Chapter 2: Roast Mutton

When Bilbo wakes up late in the morning, his guests have already departed. He thinks that he has escaped the adventure, but Gandalf enters the scene and explains the dwarves have left a note for Bilbo and they are waiting for him at the Green Dragon Inn. Bilbo is forced to rush to the Green Dragon and he arrives at exactly 11 AM, the appointed hour. He has not had time to collect the things he would bring with him, but there is no time for him to turn around. The company travels into a region called the Lone-lands and it is not long before Bilbo has traveled far beyond his previous limits.

He already wishes that he was at home, warming himself by the fire and drinking tea and the torrential downpour is not helping his mood. The group is not as organized as they should be; they only notice Gandalf's absence well after he has departed and they cannot start a fire to cook dinner‹on account of the rain and wet. The two youngest dwarves, Fili and Kili, are nearly drowned when one of the ponies is frightened and nearly loses himself in the river. They spot a light in the distance and since Bilbo is the burglar of the group it is his job to go and investigate the scene. Arriving at the fire, Bilbo discovers three trolls who are roasting mutton on spits. They are, of course, significantly larger than Bilbo and summoning his nerves, Bilbo decides to live up to his profession by pick-pocketing. Bilbo reaches for the troll's purse but the bag squeaks: "Ere, oo are you?" and of course, the troll seizes Bilbo. The three trolls, Bert, William and Tom are discussing exactly what a hobbit is and whether Bilbo is worth eating‹and if so, how should he be prepared?
The trolls argue over Bilbo's fate and when they are physically engaged with one another, Bilbo escapes though not without bruises. Unfortunately, the scene does not end here because the dwarves grew impatient while waiting for Bilbo and, hearing the trolls' noises, decided to approach the fire. Trolls hate the sight of dwarves and the appearance of Balin sets Tom and the other trolls on a rampage. It is not long before all twelve of the dwarves are held in sacks and the trolls are contemplating another dinner. Gandalf rescues the dwarves with an invisible appearance. He periodically interrupts the trolls' conversation, saying false statements in voices that resemble the trolls' voices. Bert, William and Tom each conclude that the other two are lying and/or mad and of course, they engage in more physical brutality, whacking each other in the head and arguing until dawn is suddenly upon them and they turn into rocks. Gandalf is pleased with his performance and he releases the dwarves. Bilbo had stolen a key that fell from one of the troll's pockets and the group is able to find the trolls' lair and make good use of their provisions. Analysis:

In terms of narrative structure, this chapter provides a comic interlude as the trolls' ignorance really prevents them from becoming formidable. Still, the chapter shows the steady evolution of Bilbo into a hero; this germination is already in progress. The key motif is reiterated here as the object and symbol of Bilbo's success.

Like Gandalf, Bilbo relies upon his intelligence and stealth and as the story continues, expect to see Bilbo stealing all sorts of things from strangers and from his enemies. The characterization of Bert, Tom and William is poignant because these trolls are rather like humans at their worst. One does have to wonder how trolls get named William in a story that has dwarves named Bomfur.. A recurring motif that is certainly connected to the key and map is that of the cave/lair of the villain. Bilbo and the group do some very good work here, enjoying the spoliation of their defeated enemy. Several of the novel's scenes, involving caves and lairs, are allusions to one of two classical scenes. Here, we find references to the Homeric epic, The Odyssey. Bilbo, like Ulysses becomes known for his excessive craft and trickery. Here, the deaf trolls are like the blinded Cyclops in the classic. The "mutton" image is also a bit of poignant residue from the Homeric tale and in archetypal fashion, the "dawn" is a symbol of victory over the night, survival and hope for a new day. The "Cyclops" allusion is not intense but should be identified, as it recurs in alternation with references to the Anglo-Saxon epic, Beowulf. Finally, the stone trolls are symbols of the ignorance of the trolls who were alive but stone-deaf. In regards to the central themes: heroism, wisdom and nobility we can add the complexities of a noble thief: is this an oxymoron? And in terms of heroes it is ironic that the dwarves were sacked after rather timidly relegating the dirty-work to Bilbo. Do not expect this to change. As far as character-development goes, Bilbo is the central focus. He is growing into Gandalf's glowing pronouncement and the dwarves are‹for now, at least‹being themselves. Even as he sheds respectability, Bilbo seems so hyper-civilized, proto-human and (dare we say) British. "Tea" and the forgotten "handkerchief" might make Bilbo seem like a reference to Lewis Carroll's White Rabbit, jumping in and out of hiding holes. Both fantasy writers (Carroll and Tolkien) were drawing upon well-established traditions of British domesticity and this adds a little weight and a bit of a real-world perspective to Bilbo's reveries of the hearth and forgotten articles. From this point until the end of Chapter 17, one of the most important words that we can associate with Bilbo is "nostalgia;" thematically, this is all-important. It is part of Tolkien's personal life and a necessary component of stories that are in this genre, literary epic quests.

As a literary device, nostalgia certainly helps to shore up and establish Tolkien's Middle Earth while it is new and susceptible to easy disbelief. Finally, nostalgia dominates Bilbo's thoughts and Bilbo's thoughts‹as you will find, if you read carefully‹sustain the somber mood that balances the comic burlesque of the clownish trolls. Who'd have expected gravitas from the hobbit?
Chapter 3: A Short Rest

The dwarves are not singing; they are glad to be alive and also, the respite from the rain is an improvement on the previous situation. Still, they are not singing because danger seems (and is) omnipresent in these parts. Bilbo and the dwarves ford a river and take their ponies onto a path from which they can see mountains in the distance. Gandalf leads the way and warns strict adherence to the road. They are heading for the residence of Elrond which is called the "Last Homely House" in the "fair valley of Rivendell." This House is the last one west of the Mountains. There is a good deal of traveling over ravines and through bogs before the travelers make their way into the "secret valley of Rivendell" and their spirits immediately begin to rise. Bilbo smells elves and it is not long before the sounds of the elves' songs are emanating through the scene. The tired journeyers are only too happy to get some rest, though there is a history of unpleasantness between the dwarves and the elves that must be intentionally disregarded. Inside Elrond's house, Bilbo is able to fatten himself on cakes and as long as the group stayed, Bilbo would have been happy to remain a little longer. Elrond is an old soul who has elves and "heroes of the North" as ancestors and he offers a good amount of insight regarding the quest. The group is to leave with "the early sun on midsummer morning" and when they are to leave, Elrond offers them swords of protection. One is called Orcrist, the Goblin-cleaver and another is called Glamdring, Foehammer. They are presented to Thorin and Gandalf, respectively. Looking at the map in the moonlight, Elrond is able to read moon-letters, distinct from the runes printed on the map. These words specify that the secret entrance to the Mountain can be unlocked on Durin's Day, which is the first day of the dwarves' New Year at the crux between Autumn and Winter. The travelers are well-rested when they leave but they fear that their timing, by the calendar, is horribly unlucky. Analysis:

In "A Short Rest" we get a host of archetypal images all in a jumble, most of them dreary and threatening.

Mountains are symbols of stability and strength when they are under you, but when they loom over you they become the visual images of your obstacles. And of course, the mountains are obstacles, but they provoke psychological effects well before they are navigationally relevant. Nature can get animated in Tolkien's literature and the fear that "danger was not far away on either side" is strengthened by the possibility of natural elements becoming characters that play the villains' roles. Just as a map reveals the future by charting a course to a destination, the names of these locales foreshadow the misery ahead. The "Misty Mountains" are softened by the alliteration (there are worse mountains) but "misty" suggests blindness and this is not desirable. Names and sounds are important in The Hobbit and Tolkien put great care into the phonics of Middle Earth (He was, after all, a master linguist, classicist and philologist). The dragon, "Smaug," pre-dates our word "smog" but considering the visual similarity between the two (smoke and smoky pollution) it seems likely that Tolkien has extracted his name from the same source as our word. It is important that the elves' song erupts towards the end of the chapter because it produces a positive literary tone by making a euphonious and harmonic musical tone. Finally, we can look at the clear contrast between the mood of Rivendell and the foreshadowed despondency in the chapter's final lines. It is worth noting that Elrond and Rivendell re-appear in the Lord of the Rings trilogy but here, they seem to occupy a sort of static Paradise, not unlike the Elysian fields of Greek mythology. As a way-station, the house offers temporary rest but the very fact of midsummer, in archetypal terms, offers us as much life and light as the earth will bear. Midsummer in Rivendell is as strong a symbolic heaven/Paradise as we will find in Tolkien's work. The foul names of the swords, if they foreshadow anything, assure us that battles and goblins are forthcoming. Chapter 4: Over Hill and Under Hill

Elrond and Gandalf help Bilbo and the dwarves navigate their way into the mountains and this is difficult because there are many deceitful routes and paths that only end in destruction. Especially during the cold nights when there is pitch-black silence, Bilbo remembers his hobbit-hole and he thinks about the activities that are in progress. The "high hope of a midsummer morning" drops and sinks as the group travels on the incline, higher and higher. Eventually the younger members of the group are sent to find a cave where the group can sleep for the evening.

As everyone is sleeping inside of the cave, Bilbo is unable to sleep because of a nightmare that becomes reality: the cave is occupied by goblins and Bilbo's yell is able to alert Gandalf, who disappears. Bilbo and the dwarves are captured, though, They are carried "down, down to Goblin-town" and the sounds are unpleasant. They are taken to a big fire-lit cavern and the Great Goblin demands to know their business. The dwarves are suspected as spies and allies of the elves. Great Goblin wants to know what brought the dwarves to his territory and Thorin explains that they are going to see relatives on the East side of the mountains. Other goblins say that a bolt of lightning struck some of their comrades and Thorin's sword is also indicative of his anti-Goblin intentions. The sword is called Orcrist, Goblin-cleaver, but the Goblins call it Biter. Great Goblin rushes towards Thorin but the lights go out and white sparks begin to burst, burning holes in the goblins. A sword flashes and kills the Great Goblin, and then a voice says "follow me quick." Bilbo and the others follow Gandalf but he Goblins are in close pursuit and Dori is grabbed from behind. Bilbo falls into blackness, bumps his head on a hard rock and remembers nothing more. Analysis:

This short chapter is important in developing several themes and motifs that recur in Tolkien's work. First, there is the image of the "cave," considered in terms of the theme of shelter. As the final destination of the travelers is a cave that is inhabited by the dragon Smaug, it does seem foolish for the young dwarf to select any cave as a safe resting place. Caves aren't safe. The old myth of Ulysses and Polyphemus offers images of caves, the hope for shelter and the reality of capitvity. This is an allusion that often appears in the novel. The caves harbor all sorts of things that are unknown because of the cave's darkness. This is explicated in the metaphors that liken the cave-dwelling goblins to weasels and bats. Also, the swords that are called Biter and Beater are archetypal lights that destroy the archetypal darkness of evil. In terms of characterization, we see Thorin's gallantry and leadership and also Gandalf's shrewd manipulation and navigation in the darkness. He relies upon a sort of invisibility that becomes powerful. Readers should look to the next chapters to see Bilbo's own emergence as a hero, foreshadowed by the gift received by Thorin and the invisibility used by Gandalf. By now, we can see that there are several motifs in the word that can be considered as juxtapositions, in that they are pairs of contrasts, and this is not always the case.

We see consciousness/unconsciousness, light/dark, invisibility/surveillance. Bilbo's waking nightmares are actual herald's of doom and Biblo hits his head on a rock at the chapter's cliffhanger end. This narrative structure is so precise and Chapter 5 (entitled "Riddles in the Dark") should be read with close attention to consciousness/unconsciousness, invisibility/surveillance, and riddles/knowledge. Another motif is a parallel to consciousness/unconsciousness, which is light/dark. It is more than the archetypal good/evil dichotomy in this chapter and it is an integral part of the plot-action. Light and dark are active in terms of knowledge, the hidden unknown, invisibility and surveillance (we might consider them as good and evil forces or perhaps, characters even). The darkness of the caves makes both capture and escape possible. Invisibility will become permanently important in The Hobbit and in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Light, a symbol of goof, becomes festive "sparks" that are deadly, and a flash of light is a blade that illuminates and kills the Great Goblin‹all the while, Gandalf, the killer, remains hidden. Light and dark can be used for good and evil purposes, and in constructive and destructive means. The interrelationships of light and dark are not so simple, then. The swords are historical and usable, treasured artifacts and hated weapons, illuminating and murderous, forged yet magical‹multi-named , as it were. So we should not be surprised to see the sword as a symbol of unity (it is the heart of the juxtaposition between light and dark: murderous sparks). Keep in mind that the motif of ancestral and legacy gifts often includes swords, jewels and rings. We will find plenty of this in The Hobbit, further binding it to the genre of old Norse and Anglo-Saxon epic mythology (consider King Arthur and his sword "Excalibur" as a most common example). Finally, we shift our focus from swords to caves. Looking ahead to Chapters 5, what we have foreshadowed should lead us to think about these places as actual spaces: with or without a Biter or a Beater, the dark and circuitous (winding and twisting) attributes of the enclosing space are all-important.

How useful are the swords in broad daylight? Why doesn't Gandalf's "magic wand" of light prevent Bilbo from trailing, banging his head and getting knocked out? The importance of the terrain is precisely what will allow Bilbo, armed with a relatively puny sword and stock of bravery, to emerge as a hero: he will be able to navigate the full terrain of rivers, lakes, mountains, bridges, castles, wombs and tombs that are encompassed within the system of caves. Chapter Five: Riddles in the Dark

Bilbo is alone and on all fours, groping along "till suddenly his hand met what felt like a tiny ring of cold metal lying on the floor of the tunnel. It was a turning point in his career, but he did not know it. He put the ring in his pocket almost without thinking..." He looks for his pipe and tobacco, finds them, but cannot find matches. Bilbo remembers that he has the "elvish dagger" from the trolls and its pale dim light tells him that he is well removed from the goblins' presence though not comfortably removed. The tunnel seems endlessly descending and the hobbit continues until he splashes a foot into an underground lake. He recedes to the shore and waits. A creature named Gollum hisses, announcing his presence, and Gollum begins a conversation with Bilbo. Soon, they are both in a riddle contest where Bilbo's loss makes Gollum's dinner and Bilbo's victory procures Gollum's assistance in navigation and exit. Gollum has trouble with the riddles that require knowledge of the outside world, for he has lived in this low, dark, dank recess within a cave for quite some time. Though he is losing the game, Gollum's confidence reveals itself in the fact of his boiling a pot to cook Bilbo‹whatever Bilbo is exactly. In the end, Gollum correctly answers a very tough riddle and he assumes this to be his victory-in-hand. Bilbo wins in the end, however. Gollum becomes belligerent and refuses to keep his promise. Instead, Gollum goes to his trunk and begins searching for something that he soon realizes is lost. He has lost the "ring" (a birthday-present) and quickly concludes that Bilbo has it. Gollum moves to block Bilbo's departure, but Bilbo has learned‹from Gollum's wails‹that the ring makes its bearer invisible. Bilbo eventually (though narrowly) escapes Gollum and exits the Goblins' cave, invisible to the end. Analysis:

There are two similes that unite the pale light of Gollum's eyes with the standard images of light and vision: "lamp-like" and "telescopes [for] distance." Gollum uses the invisibility of the ring and the light of his eyes to capture those who are helplessly undefended: blind fish and small goblins. Without his ring, Gollum concludes that his enviable balance of power has been disrupted. The themes of knowledge and surveillance are entwined in many ways.

It is dark, as the game of riddles is played among strangers (Bilbo, Gollum) and whoever else is present (?)‹all the while, Gollum tries to spy on visible Bilbo‹all the while, Gollum's ring is unseen because it is inside of Bilbo's pocket and hidden‹while Gollum searches for the hidden ring inside of his trunk‹while Bilbo realizes that his hidden ring will make him invisible. In terms of narrative structure, we should consider the riddle-game as a decoy that is less significant (morally and plot-wise) than the "foil" story concerning the loss and ownership of the ring. With the ring, Bilbo is immune to surveillance, though his shadows are troublesome. More important, the ring does not turn Bilbo into a wretched Gollum. Gollum's ring is a foil to Bilbo's riddle-game, but there is no simple equation of parallelism, foils or contrasts when we look at the two characters, Bilbo and Gollum. Both are thieves, tricksters and clever; both are armed and offer the truth sparingly. Still, Bilbo has compassion for Gollum, genuinely suffers when he hears the creature wailing and most important: Bilbo refuses to use an imbalance of power against Gollum. Gollum's greatest fault is his willingness to invisibly stalk blind things. This produces an awkward amalgam of pride and hubris in Gollum ('I'm a big fish in a small pond') but it also provokes our sympathy (he is in a pond, newly acquainted with his fear of the goblins). It seems that every detail of the chapter foreshadows Tolkien's later work‹the Trilogy more so than this novel. Suffice to say, this ring is very important. Gollum will reappear in the LOTR trilogy and Bilbo is very different now. In terms of theme, we might begin considering how heavy doses of foreshadowing (on the literary plane) and theft/heirlooms within the story itself, chip away at ideas of "free-will" and "self-knowledge" and turn the ring into a symbol of fate and destiny. Let the tobacco-pipe stand in opposition to the ring,as a symbol of nostalgia, domesticity and the hearth‹forces that would will Bilbo back to his hobbit-hole. Chapter Six: Out of the Frying-Pan into the Fire

Bilbo has escaped the goblins but he is still lost and has no clue where he is. He sees that he is on the east side of the mountains, at the edge of the Land Beyond. Bilbo fears that his friends are lost and he thinks of returning to find them. Fortunately, he finds the group and surprises them with his presence‹he is able to sneak upon them wearing the ring. He tells the story of Gollum though he neglects mentioning the ring. Inside of the Goblin tunnels, the group has lost track of several days and though they are disoriented, they must continue forward. After all, the goblins are intent upon avenging the death of Great Goblin. Gandalf urges the group ahead and they encounter a pack of wolves.

They can climb up a few nearby trees but they are surrounded. The wolves and goblins are allies and as it turns out, the wolves are waiting in this forest-glade because they have planned a joint-attack with the goblins. Of course, the wolves cannot carry out their attack on the town because the goblins have not shown up at the appointed hour‹and this is because they are mourning their leader and looking for the dwarves. Gandalf knows that he must do something and so he starts a fire in the midst of the wolves, attracting the attention of the Lord of the Eagles. Goblins arrive on the scene to mock the pained wolves and in a clever move, they burn fires around the trees in order to trap the dwarves. The Lord of the Eagles arrives and carries Gandalf away, just in time, and other birds come and save the dwarves and Bilbo. And so, the chapter ends with Bilbo lodged in a safe place, sleeping soundly. Analysis:

In terms of character development, Gandalf's conversation is interesting because it puts his limited powers within focus. His knowledge of the future‹of what is fated‹is implied by phrases like "If we can only find him [Bilbo] again, you will thank me before all is over." Permitting suspense, but only for a time, Gandalf knows that Bilbo is able to save himself when Gandalf no longer can save the hobbit. The introduction of the "Lord of the Eagles" initiates Biblical allusions, but more important, the relationships between various species are gaining some clarity. The eagle is a symbol representing keen-sight, strength and endurance. And after the descent into the caves, the ascension with the eagles is a welcome contrast. While sleep brings rest, it does not bring unconsciousness for Bilbo. As these themes develop, we find that Bilbo's nostalgia overpowers his need for immediate shelter. Instead of enjoying his present shelter, he longs for his old home. His sleeps "on the hard rock more soundly than ever he had done on his feather-bed" and in physical terms, we can understand the juxtaposed images (hard rock, feather-bed). But what we find is that, in Bilbo's dream, the feather-bed is a metonym that stands for his entire house and the comforts of being at home. As much as his body needs sleep, his spirit needs home: "all night he dreamed of his own house and wandered in his sleep into all his different rooms looking for something that he could not find nor remember what it looked like." This is certainly a contrast to the rambling through the caves and it strengthens the search and "quest" motif of The Hobbit.

As a finer, more precise detail, the reader should now consider Bilbo as a foil of Gollum and eventually, Smaug. In his dream, Bilbo has lost something and the irony of the dream goes beyond the thematic issues of interpretation and knowledge. Embarking upon his career as a thief, Bilbo has left his house; now, he dreams that he lost a piece of his property, he mimics his travels inside of the house that is mow very far away, and above all, he cannot remember what the lost thing looks like‹does he know what it is, then? The theme of nostalgia, one-third of the way through the novel, now poses Bilbo's risk of forgetting home even as he longs for it. This is an emptying of emotions, followed by a chapter entitled: "Queer Lodgings."
Chapter Seven: Queer Lodgings

Bilbo wakes early and the group soon departs, riding the eagles' backs to the other side of the Misty Mountains. Bilbo is a little uncomfortable, especially when the eagles begin to spiral in downward sweeps. Though he does not know where he is headed, Bilbo is glad to be deposited somewhere. Gandalf reestablishes his friendship with the Lord of the Eagles and the birds depart. A friend of Gandalf lives nearby and Gandalf intends to procure his assistance. Since this character is a recluse though, he cannot bring all of his company in at once. A ruse is designed to assure their slow but steady entrance into the great wooden house. With a bit of truth-bending and a good amount of suspense, Gandalf is able to keep his friend, a giant/bear named Beorn, amused enough to admit the company of all of the dwarves. His wooden house is very comfortable and safe, and the travelers spend a few days in Beorn's protection. Later in the night, the dwarves are in raised spirits‹to such an extent, that they are able to sing. During the day, Beorn leaves the house and verifies Gandalf's story in regards to the wolves and goblins. He is now, of course, more eager to assist them. He adds to their diminished store of supplies and helps them along the road, warning them not to stray off of the path. Soon after his departure, Gandalf returns to his own business, leaving the group with another admonition "DON'T LEAVE THE PATH!" Bilbo and the dwarves are back inside the forest.


We can definitely sense the varying tones of the story, as the action ranges from rescue, dining, singing, desertion, departure and those final ominous words of the chapter, foreshadowing doom with perfect clarity as the group "turned from the light that lay on the lands outside and plunged into the forest." We have images of the forest and the fears of a plunge, or fall. And we know that there are so many awful archetypes attached to plunges and falls: hell: the bottomless pit, the "fall" of man in the garden/forest, Icarus' plunge into the sea, etc. The most important thing to identify in "Queer Lodgings" is the role that Beorn's house plays in Tolkien's merging of Christian and Anglo-Saxon literary tradition. The company of travelers can be considered as an Anglo-Saxon troop of warriors who have arrived at a great mead-hall, akin to Heorot in Beowulf. Certainly, this allusion is evidenced by the descriptions of the interior and the martial aspect of the proprietor, Beorn. The Christian symbolism, oddly enough, does not come in the supper scene, but first, in the equation of Beorn's house as a way-station for pilgrims united against a common evil; second, in Beorn's role as a larger-than-life protector who offers a safe and restricted space; and finally, in the departures of the two saviors, Beorn and Gandalf, leaving their followers with blessings and warnings. Beorn's house is the image of heaven but the restrictions he establishes and the warnings regarding the forest, aptly illustrate the parallel between Eden and destruction. So, to sum up Tolkien's Christianized Eden/Forest/Path motif: we can see Beorn as a God who lives in a secure heaven-like lodging, setting the individuals into the forest with the promise that they may always return. As an intermediary between Beorn and the others, Gandalf travels a little further than Beorn, and though it is obvious and foreshadowed that the group will stray off of the path, Gandalf plays Messiah by warning them not to stray. In terms of Tolkien's own system of symbols, note that Gandalf heads for the West and this is where good souls spend their eternity, and in sync with the alluded ascension of Christ, Gandalf went "away and was soon lost to sight," leaving his disciples behind. In a very literal way, these novices need to stay on the path and because they don't, the upcoming chapter "Flies and Spiders" is not very pleasant. Chapter Eight: Flies and Spiders

Bilbo and the dwarves begin marching in single file and the forest becomes a gloomy tunnel because the tops of the trees meet and make a sun-shielding canopy. It is hard to sleep because there are myriad animals on both sides of the road. The provisions of food are diminishing and eventually this is what sparks the move to stray from the prescribed road.

There is a small brook to be forded and Bilbo proves efficient here. Unfortunately, Bombur, one of the awkward dwarves falls into the water and this water is poisoned. Bombur is recovered but he remains in a stupor for the duration of the chapter. It seems that there is a fire not far off the side of the road‹maybe there is food there? Alas, this is a mirage that occurs several times until finally, the group is separated and lost. It seems to be some magic at work. Bilbo is alone in the dark and after trying to find his friends, he gives up and goes to sleep. He is arrested in his sleep, attacked by a giant spider that was trying to poison him. Bilbo kills it with his sword and then he, himself, falls down and passes out. When he wakes up he finds his friends swaddled in spider net, suspended from tree branches and guarded by a troop of spiders. Bilbo's invisibility and sword help to get some of the dwarves free. Things improve when Gandalf returns to offer assistance, but in the end, Thorin is missing and he must be rescued from the king of the wood-elves. Analysis:

This chapter celebrates the forest as a site of magic, combining the archetypes of non-fantasy literature and the characters and activities that we expect in the genres of children's literature or perhaps, fables. We do want to draw distinctions between fantasy and mythology, here. The troop of giant spiders is much like an instance of fantasy. It does not resemble the Greek spiders (the myth of Arachne) and though the spider is a symbol of evil and subterfuge, the symbolic content of the spider-web is only an image here‹it is not developed. On the other hand, the magical "dinner-dreams" of the elves are well within the genres of literary fiction and mythology. We might compare this chapter to Christina Rossetti's famous poem "Goblin Market," because of the successful injection of magic on the sidelines of our real and contemporary society. And the didactic (educational, instructional, warning) tone of Gandalf in the previous chapter, is present in Rossetti's poem and this chapter as well. The idea of dreams is connected to the themes of consciousness and unconsciousness. We are glad that Bilbo is a light sleeper and he is a hero for it‹and this is not the first time. Isn't this a little unexpected though, a bit of a contrast to Bilbo's groggy complaints for more sleep-time and late-starts in the morning? His character is developing and deepening.

Bombur's fall into the water is not strong enough to be a neat and clean, very precise mythological allusion but it does resemble several scenes and motifs (a few of which are worth noting). Politically incorrect? Certainly. But Bombur's sleep, sluggishness and gluttony are not merely coincidental; Bombur is becoming a comic‹a specific type of character who plays a buffoon: he is overweight, he sleeps, he must be carried and he is semi-conscious yet quite hungry. In terms of character development, Bombur maybe "round" physically, but in literary terms he is still "flat." Realize though, that the food- and sleep-loving Hobbit is even more of a hero, when Bombur can take his place as the burdensome, lethargic, hungry character. Especially, when we consider that there are fourteen dwarves and not all of them have personalities, it seems we are not taking excessive license here; rather, we are drawing an insightful conclusion: the dwarves are plot-devices and the story is really about Bilbo and the ring. If Thorin were the hero, he would have proven it by now‹and not by getting himself lost. Tolkien's groups may travel in packs of fourteen and fifteen‹even the LOTR Trilogy begins with an awkwardly large pack of travelers‹but the heroes are only able to locate and develop their heroism, an inborn thing, when they are alone. The parallel between the lost hero, Thorin, and the lost hobbit, Bilbo, becomes interesting now. The alliteration of swords: "Beater," "Biter" may toss add a certain gleam to these blades, alternately called cleavers and hammers. And to their credit, these swords have slain many foes in battle. But Tolkien's presentation departs from the outmoded medieval fields of battle (so unfortunately resuscitated in WWI trench-style fighting), and quite rationally understands good vs. evil to be a war composed of skirmishes, nighttime ambushes, one-on-one fights and internal (personal) struggles. Bilbo is a hero who does not fight armies, yet he wins battles without seeking them. Bilbo does not fit the archetype of the epic hero on a quest, because even the medieval Christianized revisions produce questing hero who are more martial than Bilbo is. It is significant that Bilbo names his sword and that he names it: "Sting." And unlike Beater and Biter, Sting is treated as a metonym: it is only associated with Bilbo, but because Bilbo is invisible it is considered to be his body because this body part is all that can be seen. Here, the part becomes the whole (body).

This new development in the sword imagery is treated in more depth within the discussion of the theme: "Heroism."
Suspense and foreshadowing are not quite the same thing, but we will find plenty of both at the end of each chapter (and it is useful to keep track of the chapter names well before you actually get to the chapter). There is suspense regarding Thorin's whereabouts but the tone is not ominous. Instead of death, the difficulty of the inevitable heroic act is what is foreshadowed. Look to Bilbo for heroics and look at individual dwarves (namely Bombur, Thorin, and the duo: Fili & Kili) as "types" of characters that are made available precisely so that you can compare them to Bilbo and understand Bilbo's emergence into heroism. Chapter Nine: Barrels Out of Bond

Bilbo and the dwarves are still near starving, though they are happy to be alive. They search for food but they are apprehended by a large group of wood-elves. Bilbo slips away and makes himself invisible but the dwarves are blindfolded and led towards the fort of the Elvenking. Bilbo follows behind them as best he can and when the dwarves are made prisoners by the suspicious king, Bilbo realizes that he must do something. The dwarves have separate cells and they are able to eat but Bilbo is still alone, invisible and hungry. He learns a bit about the region by sneaking in and out with differing cargo but as much as he wants to get a message to Gandalf, he knows he will have to save the group on his own. Bilbo visits Thorin and raises his spirits‹of course, Thorin is shocked to hear Bilbo's voice. Bilbo is able to send messages from Thorin to the other dwarves and they agree not to mention their original mission to the Elvenking, as he will want a hefty share of the treasure. During a night of festivity, Bilbo saves his group by stealing the keys of the drunk jailer, unlocking the cells of the dwarves and helping them fit in a flotilla of empty wine barrels that are being floated downstream. Bilbo has some difficulties but he manages to stay afloat, clinging to the side of a barrel. In the meantime, he hopes that his friends are not drowning in their heavy casks. But at least they are out of the castle-fort and will soon drift onto the banks of Lake-Town. Analysis:

This chapter focuses on the theme of captivity, and we can clearly see the contrast between our two heroes: Thorin is shackled and imprisoned while Bilbo is maneuvering and invisible. As negative as a prison might be, it is certainly better than a cave and we should note that the shelter motif is further complicated here. They have suffered in goblins' caves, but the dwarves are able to feed and sleep inside of the elves' prison. Ironically, Bilbo is free and free to go hungry.

We see fate at work, in regards to Bilbo's character development for he is becoming more of a thief‹and this is essential to his ability to succeed as a hero. Bilbo's devices are the last major point of analysis that we should focus upon. First, we can see his successful theft of a key as a symbolic grasp for knowledge and opportunity; we should also see this as foreshadowing the same lock-and-key burglary that will be required of Bilbo at Smaug's cave. Second, Bilbo is able to maintain clear thinking while the dwarves are depressed and the jailers are drunk. The combination of wine imagery and the method of escape that is employed are allusions to Ulysses's escape from Polyphemus' cave. Liquor was used to lull the captor into a deep sleep and Ulysses had his men escape within the outflow of cargo. Bilbo's sympathy is evidence that he is not the simple archetypal hero: while Ulysses taunted his tormentor, Bilbo returns the set of keys after he has finished using them. This way, the jailer will not be seriously punished. Though he is willing to use an imbalance of power to his advantage, his Trojan Horse style of battle never becomes offensive and within a broader literary context, we can see Bilbo's ability to remain "moral" while using deceit as a revision of the Ulysses story that began in Dante's Inferno. Chapter Ten: A Warm Welcome

Bilbo is still separated from his compatriots and he has the task of separating their barrels from the rest of the group. As they approach Laketown, Bilbo is sure to listen to the different wood-elves and lake-men that he remains hidden from. But for a long while, all Bilbo can do is wait for the seemingly endless river to take its course and bring him and his cargo to a place where he might safely bring them to shore. When Bilbo is able to do this, he finds the barreled dwarves in poor condition‹but at least they are alive, and very grateful to Bilbo for his services. The Master of this region is familiar with the prophecy that foretells the reclamation of Smaug's horde of stolen treasure. Accordingly, Thorin is heralded and celebrated as a hero, for he is the descendant of Thror, King under the Mountain. The Master permits several days of celebration, offers aid and is happy when the group leaves ‹ he is rather sure that they are going to fail on their mission: Smaug is dangerous. When they leave, the dwarves and Bilbo now take the watery course, replenished and more confident than before. Bilbo is "the only person thoroughly unhappy."

In the region called Mirkwood, we learn of the murky nature of politics in the Middle Earth.

The chapter's title "A Warm Welcome" is a combination of understatement and irony‹indeed, this is a celebration of heroes and not an imprisonment, but the ruler's warmth is disingenuous. Nonetheless, the river and the waterways are archetypal representations of life's course and we can see that Bilbo has successfully navigated water-logged barrels to safety. Let us take this as an obvious parallel to the more traditional travel-by-ship that the company, led by Thorin, takes at the end of the chapter. We might look at the narrative structure of this short chapter and find a transition of leadership from Bilbo to Thorin and this is a foreshadowing of Thorin's increasingly dominant role in the politics of the group's maneuvers. As another case of foreshadowing: a similar scene appears between Bilbo's nephew, Frodo, and a Thorin-like compatriot in the first novel of the LOTR trilogy. In light of the dominant Ulysses allusions that are attached to Bilbo, the transition from barrels to ships is an interesting development of the shelter theme. Until now, "shelter" has been a condition sought when the group was not in transit. Much like Ulysses' Trojan Horse scheme or his scheme to escape the cave of Polyphemus, Bilbo has successfully offered shelter en route. This is important because Bilbo wants true shelter‹his home‹and this chapter's warm welcome represents a celebration of heroism that pleases Bilbo's company, but leaves him in the symbolic role of shelter-provider (yet nostalgic. Like the archetypal Ulysses (for this hero has appeared in so many distillations), Bilbo never enjoys the warm welcome of home, the upcoming motifs involving "doorsteps," and "keys" are highly ironic, and he is permanently separated from his group in a way that makes him unable to take pleasures in the temporary bright spots of the journey. Chapter Eleven: On the Doorstep

The group makes steady progress down Long Lake, the River Running and towards the Lonely Mountain. The surrounding land is desolate and the travelers have low spirits because there is a long road ahead and it does not seem that they are going to reach the cave‹if they reach‹at the prescribed time (midsummer). They persist through the area called the "Desolation of Smaug" and see the remains of a town called "Dale." Balin remembers the stories of this forefathers' narrow escape from the dragon's destruction and this only re-kindles the dwarves desire to reclaim their stolen jewels and wealth. When they reach the mountain it is clear that Smaug is still alive, for his smoke is all about the place.

Again, Bilbo is the hero and he manages to lead them up the mountain and successfully decipher the runes of Thorin's map. But after this, Bilbo has to find the correct path; and after this, Bilbo has to find the doorstep. The dwarves may be excited about the treasure inside but they are not excited enough to enter the cave on their own, and so Bilbo must enter alone. Analysis:

With the genre of quests and tales of heroism, we find that place names like "Long Lake" and "Lonely Mountain" are examples of what John Ruskin referred to as the pathetic fallacy. The landscape is described in terms of the emotions that are inspired in the actual creatures. The Lonely Mountain, described as "towering grim and tall" towers in the imagination and that is what makes it a symbol of evil and, to a certain degree, a metonym of Smaug, the dragon. We should maintain our focus on the themes of shelter, home and nostalgia when we think about Smaug's cave, Gollum's grotto and Bilbo's Hobbit-hole. Just because you're beastly doesn't mean you can't have a home. But if you are a monster and your doorway is hidden, only to be revealed as a "yawning mouth leading in and down" your cave is a stacked symbol of a mouth (for eating), of an expanse of underworld (yawning, down), and treachery (leading). In the end, this is an image of hell‹the fire and devil character of Smaug, makes this a pretty deliberate‹albeit subconscious‹structure. Archetypes, as used in this chapter, only make the scene depressing. The dark birds seem to be symbols of doom, though this is not the case in the end. The mountain is a negative archetype, signifying obstacles and in this case it is also a tomb or crypt. This motif of cave/tombs recurs throughout Tolkien's work. The town of Dale, a name that means 'green pasture' is the desolation of an archetype. Smaug is destroying life, greenery and pastures. And the idea that time is not on the travelers' side is confirmed in a sentence like: "Only in June they had been guests in the fair house of Elrond, and though autumn was now crawling towards winter that pleasant time now seemed years ago." The confusingly swift pace of seasons is a metaphor for approaching death. The unity of the key and map (both must be used at the right time), strengthen the motif and foreshadow Bilbo's heroics in the next chapter. In a scene that parallels Chapter Five's scene with Gollum, closely follow the themes of knowledge and surveillance when Bilbo meets Smaug in Chapter Twelve.

Chapter Twelve: Inside Information

The dwarves argue about who will enter Smaug's cave and since Bilbo is the burglar, Bilbo must go ahead and face the challenge. He follows the treacherous course into the heart of the cave and though he is sure he is in danger, he is attracted by a red glow that compels him to approach. This is the glow of Smaug. Bilbo manages to steal a cup and hurriedly exits but Smaug awakens and begins to rage. The cowardly dwarves decide that Bilbo must re-enter the cave and somehow alleviate the situation as Smaug is now set upon destroying the countryside and has already prevented the company from escaping because he has destroyed their ponies. Bilbo has returned to the cave and though he is on his guard, he riddles and discusses various topics with Smaug. He escapes with his life and as Smaug begins a rampage on the countryside, Thorin sees his imminent kingdom approaching. For once, Smaug is gone, the prophesied reclamation of old dwarf treasure will come to pass. Analysis:

What we find in "Inside Information," is an array of images that are based upon various Greek and Anglo-Saxon representations of the mythological underworld, dragons and wealth. First, we should notice that Smaug is a "red-golden dragon" whose "fires were low in slumber." In the Greek god of the underworld, Hades, was also the god of wealth (mines and metals are his domain) and so the juxtaposition of fire and gold may seem atypical, but the fusion of these images makes perfect sense within a literary project that is seeking to combine as many different motifs as it can. The strongest and most important thing to gather from this chapter is the power of allusion. When reading this chapter, any number of scenes may come to mind (David and Goliath, Indiana Jones, "Jack and the Bean-stalk, etc.) because this scene is not a very unique one. It can't quite be labeled as an archetype because dragons and monsters and miniature heroes and theft appear separately more often than they do as a unit. We can use allusion as a means of understanding how Bilbo is a traditional hero. The Anglo-Saxon epic, Beowulf, is Tolkien's major source for this scene‹the villains are dragon-like creatures whose hoards of jewels and treasure must be reclaimed by heroes who are often young but always stand in contrast to the other characters who reveal themselves to be cowards. The simile that describes Smaug as a "worm" is not an accidental reference to the word "wyrm," used in the Anglo-Saxon epics to describe dragon-like monsters.

Finally, there is an interesting parallel between Smaug's pretending to be asleep after Bilbo's first visit was heralded in Smaug's contemporaneous dream. Remember Bilbo has also done well in feigning sleep or at least escaping sleep's grip, so that he might defend himself. Power over sleep is a mark of more than a few heroes, and in spite of Smaug's faults, he is a tragic hero. For a dwarf like Bombur, the dream is a symbol of decadence and worthlessness (he's no hero). For Smaug, the dream is fatalism at work, exposing the "weak spot" in his armor. Within an English literary context we can recall the dreams of Caesar's wife in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar as an example that might help to connect some of the larger themes of this chapter. The heroic Smaug exercises his free will but the fact that he must sometimes sleep means that he cannot always guard his treasure, and it is precisely within his dreams that the portent of his doom (not the mere loss of one cup) is delivered. When we find ourselves thinking something along the lines of "....If only Smaug hadn't ever slept, he might've...," then we know Tolkien has finally nailed down the Greek mythology recipes for fated doom (...If only he hadn't ever flown..., ...If only he hadn't ever married..., ...If only he hadn't ever touched anything). Smaug will fall, because Icarus and Oedipus and Midas and all of the others have fallen. But as a final note, Smaug is a villain because the prophecy established at the beginning of the novel mandates this. The other villains and malcontents we find in Tolkien's work are not presented as historic and malingering evils. Our dragon Smaug‹smoky, fiery and mountain-dwelling‹is a metaphorical volcano who has been awakened. The other "evils" are not sought out by maps, so we may want to map Smaug as a destructive force of nature, a symbolic evil perhaps, but not a symbol of evil. Chapter Thirteen: Not at Home

Bilbo and the dwarves cannot simply wait forever on the side of the mountain, waiting for Smaug to find them. What they do, eventually, is decide to enter the cave. Not only is this their end goal, but Bilbo is leading the way. Of course, when they find that Smaug is not there, they enjoy the sight of his treasure and Thorin is quick to reclaim the mountain as his palace. Bilbo has really become an expert burglar by this point and he has claimed for himself the one artifact that Thorin finds most valuable‹the Arkenstone, the Heart of the Mountain.

Bilbo also wears a coat, forged by elves of a material called mithril and he admits that he fills "magnificent." After Bilbo's heroic leadership has brought the dwarves to the treasure, Thorin announces himself as King and calls an end to the days of Smaug's dominion. Analysis:

The tone may be summed up in the sentence: "The dark hall was filled with a melody that had long been silent." But the melody is the rejoicing of the young dwarves, Fili and Kili. Thorin does not become a villain but his character degenerates into greed and unfortunately, there will be battle at this mountain. There is an awful irony in the title of the chapter "Not at Home" and Thorin's hard rebuke: "Don't call my palace a nasty hole! You wait till it has been cleaned and redecorated." First, we consider the question of whether this is Thorin's palace or Smaug's home. Then, there is the fact of the hobbit's nostalgia for his home in a "hole." Finally, as we will soon see, a palace is a piece of architecture; what Thorin requires is a court. The banquet halls of the epic sagas were established with social contexts that required war. Perhaps the question "where was Smaug"‹a question marked by the "gathering of very many birds" foreshadows the requisite battle to come. Chapter Fourteen: Fire and Water

The lake-town of Esgaroth is the victim of Smaug's terror, for the information that he learns from Bilbo gives him reason to believe that they are involved in the theft of his cup. Watchmen see fire in the distance but their warnings go unheeded. Perhaps the lights are a sign of the King under the Mountain, who is again forging gold, according to the songs and legends. Smaug approaches and the people are in a state of combined worship and terror. Smaug breathes fire down upon their city but those who listened to the grim-voiced man had time to collect water to mitigate the damage. They also destroy the bridge that links the island city to the mainland and in this, they are able to halt Smaug's advance. His fire is quenched by the water but that little harms him, nor do the arrows shot from the city garrison. The Master of the city seeks to save himself and his fortune but there is a hero on the scene. Bard, the grim-voiced, grim-faced man, is willing to challenge Snaug and he has help from a messenger bird, called a thrush. The thrush relays information that Bilbo discovered while in Smaug's lair: the hollow of Smaug's left breast is not plated with his red-gold armor. When Bard strikes this spot, Smaug falls dead, his massive body crushing the city of Esgaroth. The survivors seek Bard as their new king but Bard provisionally declines the offer, though he intends to establish his own city.

As the news of Smaug's death spreads, various groups advance towards the mountain‹for there is treasure to be had. Analysis:

In an allusion to the Biblical story of Noah, one of the doomed citizens scoffs: "You are always foreboding gloomy things...Anything from floods to poisoned fish." Bard can also be compared to the ancient Greek character, Cassandra, who is unheeded in her prophetic warnings to the town of Troy. The name Bard establishes the character as a "story-teller" which may account for the people's disregard of his news and for Tolkien's higher estimation of the character, for Tolkien is a bard, himself. In the end, we also find the theme of knowledge and the motif of the map and key recreated in an interesting parallel. Here we meet Bard, a descendant of the people of Dale, knowledgeable in the language of the thrush-bird. Consequently, he is able to understand the secret that Bilbo discovered in the hidden cave, though in thematic terms, Bard never carried out surveillance. The key of the motif is represented by the "black arrow" that is saved as the last one in the quiver, and the image is definitely a parallel to the key that Bilbo uses because Bard is told to strike when "the moon rose above the eastern shore and silvered his [Smaug's] great wings." This is a revision of the scene of Chapter 11 when the same old thrush cracked against the door of Smaug's cave, exposing it, and allowing Bilbo to unlock the entrance just as "the gleam went out, the sun sank, the moon was gone, and evening sprang into the sky."
Chapter Fifteen: The Gathering of the Clouds

The final four chapters of the novel bring a rapid conclusion to what has happened previously. The thrush comes with news that Smaug is dead. Thorin intends to secure his kingdom, but he moves with little wisdom. With several armies approaching for their share of Smaug's treasure, the mountain is in danger and Thorin makes the situation worse by calling upon his relatives to come from various lands and claim what is rightfully theirs. Bard petitions Thorin, reminding him that not all of Smaug's treasure has come from Thorin's people. Furthermore, the recent destruction of Esgaroth has come at the provocation of Thorin and his group. Thorin remains stubborn and war seems inevitable, though Bard's requests are not unreasonable and the supply of food within the fort (a bread-like paste called "cram") is dwindling. Analysis:

In this chapter, Thorin's character development reveals the dwarf to be expectedly unappealing and disappointing.

We were previously warned that the dwarves were not heroic and that they were greedy. Certainly, the Hobbit's litany of unpleasant tasks was evidence of Thorin's willingness to be a titular leader but not the leader who goes into the unknown cave. Full of historical claims of justice, it is easy for Thorin to find his hubris, and having found his hubris, he will fall. Birds and clouds are symbolic portents of wise advice, fate and prophecy. As the birds have already proven themselves (to us), their speech and warning produces the effect of dramatic irony, for we know precisely what will happen. Thorin may or may not die (cliffhanger) but there will definitely be an altercation. If the reader wants a foreshadowing of the future, it can be found in one of the final images, an inversion of a well-established one: When Thorin shoots his arrow at his enemy, it "smote his shield and stuck their quivering." We have been considering Thorin as the contrast to Bilbo, but here we can see him as a foil of Bard. Bard is fluent where Thorin is not perceptive, and Bard strikes the enemy's spot, while Thorin strikes the shield. Finally, if the arrow is a symbol of a key, a metonym of military power and a phallic symbol of power, virility and potency: we should focus on the fact that Thorin's arrow is stuck in the shield and it is "quivering." In this sense, the triple-pun explains that the arrow is shaking (or is it nervous?), and it does not return to its quiver. We find the exact opposite in "Fire and Water" when Bard blesses his arrow (a form of apostrophe) before shooting it: "Black arrow! I have saved you to the last. You have never failed me and always I have recovered you. I had you from my father and he from of old. If ever you came from the forges of the true king under the Mountain, go now and speed well!!"
Chapter Sixteen: A Thief in the Night

Thorin continues to speak of the Arkenstone because it means so much to him, as it is an heirloom and he threatens to take revenge on whoever has prevented him from getting it. In spite of this warning, Bilbo decides that he will leave the mountain and offer the Arkenstone to Bard; then, Bard can offer the Arkenstone to Thorin in exchange for a fair portion of the treasure. Of course, there is so much suspicion on both sides that Bard has no way of guaranteeing that Thorin would make good on his promise to offer repayment. At any rate, Bilbo establishes himself as a figure of incredible honor‹even though he may be a traitor of sorts.

At the end of the chapter, Gandalf appears and says "Well done, Mr Baggins," adding, "There is always more about you than anyone expects." Gandalf says that there is an unpleasant time just ahead, but after that Bilbo will be in a much better condition. Analysis:

The title of the chapter comes from a Biblical parable that describes the transactions of justice and Divine judgment as occurring as quickly and suddenly as a "thief in the night;" accordingly, one should always be on guard. What we find in this brief chapter is the elevation of Bilbo to a pacifist/Christian hero, who receives the paternal blessing "Well done..." as opposed to the more martial, Anglo-Saxon hero. The Arkenstone comes to symbolize a sacrifice on Bilbo's part, and as the heart of the mountain, it is also a symbol of the gifts passed on as legacies and heirlooms. Bilbo's character development and his burglary in particular, represents a re-assignment of blessings and gifts without regards to history, lineage or tradition. This is another contrast between the pagan and Christian traditions that Tolkien seeks to merge in The Hobbit. Chapter Seventeen: The Clouds Burst

Trumpets blare and there is going to be war. Dain, the cousin of Thorin, has arrived with soldiers and supplies. Bard approaches the mountain and offers the Arkenstone in exchange for peace and a fair share of the mountain's treasure. Thorin turns on the hobbit and attacks him, saying "I wish I had Gandalf here! Curse him for his choice of you!" Gandalf appears and defends both himself and Bilbo. Bilbo leaves, relinquishing his share of the treasure, counting it as the Arkenstone. Thorin is thinking of ways to avoid a fair bargain and when battle erupts, it includes men, elves and dwarves. They are ready to attack one another until Gandalf announces the approach of the Goblins, bats, wolves and Wargs. The armies re-align themselves and conduct what became known as the "Battle of Five Armies." The Goblins and Wild Wolves battle against the Elves, Men and Dwarves. Gandalf has expected some sort of assault but it did come swifter than he had expected. The Goblins are initially repelled and ambushed by the Elves, but a reinforcement of Goblin troops tilts the balance of the battle. It is only with the final arrival of the Eagles, that the forces of good are sustained. Unfortunately, Bilbo is "smote" with a "stone hurtling from above...and he fell with a crash and knew no more."

This is the one major battle scene of the novel and while we make numerous comparisons between this war and events of human history, the most important thing to grasp is that this is a polarized struggle between good and evil.

Within the genre of fantasy and mythology, Tolkien is able to establish gradations of good and evil and it is worth noting how quickly enemies became allies. Bilbo's wound at the end of the chapter is a cliffhanger that repeats the same scene that ended Chapter 4. As far as the themes of consciousness and knowledge are concerned, Bilbo needs to avoid rocks and stones, as they tend to knock him out. Still, if we follow the trajectory of Christian allusions attached to Bilbo, his recovery in the next chapter can be considered as a resurrection, much as his return "home" can parallel a final departure/ascension. Most important, Bilbo proves himself as the savior-hero of the scene, not by fighting, but by his knowledge and insight. His "eyes were seldom wrong" and he is the one who sees "the sudden gleam in the gloom"...a sight that made his heart leap." His announcement of the Eagles' approach is what enables the victory. As a final irony, a scene of birds flying overhead or a cry of "The Eagles" or "The Birds" is usually a symbol of doom. Here, Bilbo's cry of "The Eagles" is a herald of something positive‹though it may account for his own unfortunately injury. Chapter Eighteen: The Return Journey

When Bilbo regains consciousness, he finds that he is alone and he has to take his ring off so that the individuals who were sent for him can find him. After recovering in the company of Gandalf, Bilbo makes his way back home and their journey‹though covering the same perilous terrain‹is far more pleasant and mild than it was the first time. As Bilbo says, "So comes snow after fire, and even dragons have their ending."

In terms of narrative structure, this chapter and the next one offer two endings to the story. This chapter gives us a visual panorama of the landscape of Middle Earth and it establishes Bilbo and Gandalf as characters who will reappear in later works. Chapter 17 presented a battle involving five armies and while this has no direct reference to any anterior work, it does seem to be a threat to the peace of the world. The images of Chapter 18 are all muted, pale and subdued. "A new peace came over the edge of the Wild." We can argue about whether or not this is a case of what Ruskin calls the "pathetic fallacy"‹and indeed, we ought to always bear this in mind when reading fantasy work. It is one thing when the terrain or setting is passive and the emotions of the actors are projected upon the scene.

Here, there is no differentiation between human or animal actors, and we have seen that even mountains and caves were so entwined within the plot-structure of the novel that it is hard to determine whether the peace that reigns over the Misty Mountains is at least in part, because the Mountains wish this to be the case. Finally, the archetypal spring and summer that are spent with Beorn, revive the Garden of Eden motif introduced in "Queer Lodgings," except there are no threats, demarcations or limitations. Finally, Bilbo comes "full circle" in terms of character development. Undeniably heroic, Bilbo plays student-disciple to Gandalf even as he dominated much of the novel as a savvy thieving Ulysses type of hero. What makes him a complex and round character (and the only character of this kind in this novel), is that he never becomes a leader and at the end of the journey, his "Tookish part was getting very tired, and the Baggins was daily getting stronger," i.e. he wants to be a domestic hobbit again. The chapter ends with his statement: "I wish now only to be in my own arm-chair!"
There is, however, "The Last Stage," awaiting us ‹ the last stage of Bilbo's travel and his development. So, for the sake of clarity, we will analyze this final exclamation of Chapter 18 when we conclude our analysis with Chapter 19. Chapter Nineteen: The Last Stage

Gandalf and Bilbo pass through Rivendell and eventually make their way to Hobbiton. It is summer and Bilbo is disappointed to learn that he is legally dead. Greedy cousins, the Sackville-Bagginses are auctioning his property because he is "Presumed Dead." They are more than a little displeased at his arrival and it takes several years for Bilbo to sort out the legalisms. In fact, Bilbo had to buy back a good deal of his own furniture‹his reputation, for better or worse, was harder to reclaim. But as for Bilbo, son of Belladonna Took, "for ever after he remained an elf-friend, and had the honour of dwarves, wizards, and all such folk as ever passed that way. True, he was "held by all the hobbits of the neighbourhood to be 'queer'‹except by this nephews and nieces on the Took side....[but] he did not mind."
It's hard to care about these things when you are happy, you have a magic ring, you are writing poetry, you are visiting the elves and you have plenty of time to discuss "prophecies" and "mere luck" with your good friend Gandalf. Analysis:

Bilbo's return to his home isn't quite like what we find in The Wizard of Oz, where Dorothy names her wish and clicks her heels a few times. Here, Bilbo has to play a civilized revision of Ulysses, to the end. He desires his arm-chair, a symbol that parallels the bed that Ulysses longs for.

Like Ulysses, Bilbo is presumed dead, but instead of having to battle the suitors of his un-widowed wife (for Bilbo has no wife nor son to aid him), Bilbo must battle the aptly named Sackville-Bagginses who have "sacked" the "ville" (city, living place). And of course, they are on the respectable side (Baggins) as opposed to Took. We get a bit of social commentary here, which is not so surprising because the Hobbits really are so very British. Tolkien infuses the fantasy/mythology genre with legalism that can take the place of bloodshed, and in addition to remaining with the bounds of the law, there is a certain grace, sacrifice and desire for peace that dominates Bilbo's behavior. On the negative side, this novel has successfully portrayed good and evil without resorting to legal standards and here, as law is introduced, it is a corrupted thing. While Bilbo is a pariah because he does not cater to foolish prejudices (and what is a Hobbit anyway‹that they might look down upon other fictitious and weird-looking creatures), the mention of his similarly inclined Tookish nephew foreshadows Frodo Baggins of the LOTR trilogy. On a final note, it is very ironic that The Hobbit ends with a discussion debating prophecy, fate and free-will‹without the One Ring ever being mentioned!.

http://www.gradesaver.com/ClassicNotes/Titles/hobbit/ - www.gradesaver.com/ClassicNotes/Titles/hobbit/

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