J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit: Juxtaposition Between Home and the Outside World

1826 WordsJul 11, 20188 Pages
One of the prevailing themes of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit is the juxtaposition between home and the outside world. Throughout the novel, Tolkien behooves the reader to wonder whether or not adventure is beneficial for Bilbo, as opposed to staying back at his home in The Hill. Tolkien himself does not take a clear position on this himself. Instead, he brilliantly juxtaposes Bilbo’s home with the outside world and leaves it up to the reader whether going on an adventure with Gandalf and the dwarves was the correct course of action. Or in other words, Tolkien conveys both the notion that Bilbo is better off at home, and that he is better off going on the adventure. This paper will examine each side of this conflict; reasons to Bilbo to stay…show more content…
Another way in which Tolkien injects discomfort into Bilbo’s adventure away from home is through the characters. Much like with the setting, he uses robust descriptions to establish a sense of discomfort. Take for example, the way he introduces the goblins in chapter 4: Out jumped the goblins, big goblins, great ugly-looking goblins, lots of goblins, before you could say rocks and blocks. There were six to each dwarf, at least, and two even for Bilbo; and they were all grabbed and carried through the crack, before you could say tinder and flint. (57) It is not just the fact that the band of dwarves encounters enemies in the outside world, but Tolkien’s description of said enemies which really convey a sense of hardship and shatter the reader’s sense of tranquility. These are not just any goblins. These goblins are big, mean, ugly, plentiful, and -perhaps most alarmingly- extremely quick. Tolkien adds a nice touch by using idioms to describe just how quick they are. Frankly, the goblins are scary. These goblins are just the kind of thing one would likely want to hide in a hobbit-hole from. Also, it is worth nothing that much like the weather which interrupts Bilbo’s thoughts of his hobbit-hole, the goblins also interrupt a tranquil scene as Bilbo had been dreaming before they attacked. Another character who Tolkien describes with great mastery is the dragon Smaug. The first time Bilbo sees Smaug is truly a scene to remember. Although the dragon is

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