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Literary criticism of the literacy elements in "the Hobbit" by J.R.R Tolkien

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Introduction

Literary criticism of the literacy elements in "the Hobbit" by J.R.R Tolkien (author of book) By Jimmy Jackson In classical children's novel, the main characters are usually unimposing individuals who are easily overlooked, but manage to have great and successful journeys. Such is the case in Bilbo Baggins from J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit. Mr. Baggins is a simple hobbit that is swept away into a dangerous but exciting journey. In the trip, he becomes a heroic symbol of the common man or child making a name for himself. In the children's classic, The Hobbit, Tolkien uses an unusual point of view, fantasy world setting, archetypal characters and symbols, and vivid characterization to show to children and adults that a seemingly petty individual can fulfill his potential to become a leader. In the novel, Tolkien clearly speaks to two separate audiences. His first and most obvious is of course the younger crowd. To help the kids through the book he demonstrates an obtrusive narrator. It is a friendly and sociable point of view that is uncommon in the traditional classic novel. Also, the fairy tale land setting and archetypal characters keep the children interested. The other group the novel associates with is older men. Its characterization helps them relate to the fifty year old hobbit. The moral is also at two different levels. ...read more.

Middle

Tolkien hints at this side in chapter two," Then something Tookish woke up inside him, and he wished to go and see the great mountains, and hear the pine-trees and the waterfalls... and wear a sword instead of a walking stick" (28). His grandfather was a rare explorer not revered where Bilbo lived. The dominant Baggins side he gained from his father depicted the typical hobbit. This side would rather "keep a tidy house, cook a tempting meal, and keep himself in pocket handkerchiefs" than hear of the explorations of others (Matthews 64). By the end of the book, though, the balance has shifted. Gandalf expresses this when he said, "My dear Bilbo! Something is the matter with you! You are not the hobbit that you were" (Tolkien 284). As for his post adventure status in the Shire, he was viewed as queer and strange. The Shire represents his former outlook and it disapproves (Tolkien 285). As for how the theme relates to children, the obtrusive narrator is used. It is the "instrument of emotional sensitivity, moral perception, and playfulness" (Kuznets 34-35). An obtrusive narrator creates is a way of making a story easy to read for children. It is when the narrator breaks in at various intervals and speaks directly to the reader (Kuznets 32). It creates a "daddy at bedtime" feel where it is easy to read the story aloud to a kid (Helms 578). ...read more.

Conclusion

At various instances, Tolkien lashes out against contemporary life that adults will notice but children won't (Kocher 46). He expresses his hatred of wars and machines by depicting the vile goblins as the creatures who love machines and weapons. He implies that they "invented some of the machines that have since troubled the world" (Kocher 49-50). The Hobbit also speaks of the trivialities of greed and the legal complications of reclaiming a lost prize (Kuznets 37). A child would not fully understand either. As for Bilbo's age, he is in his fifties (Tolkien 15). That closely relates to a seniors age that may be thought of as over the hill (O'Neill 71). The novel relates to adults in these major ways. By the end of the novel, Tolkien has given distinct messages to both children and seniors. It is that anyone, no matter how unimportant they may seem, can rise to a position of respect and leadership. Older people appreciate Tolkien's purpose because they may feel that others view them as over the hill and thus, not a capable person. The children like the story because of the impact of a simple hobbit with many of the same attributes as themselves. It is a pleasing thought for them to think that Bilbo Baggins, a kid in behavior and stature, can rise to be noticed in a world where he is not suppose to. The clear goal of Tolkien is to point out that everyone is capable of exceeding his or her expectations. ...read more.

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