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Lecture

The Hobbit

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School
Western University
Department
English
Course
English 2033E
Professor
Gabrielle Ceraldi
Semester
Fall

Description
th Children’s Lit – Nov 26 The Hobbit - Portal Fantasy Stories – often primary world (normal world) and secondary world (fantasy world) – i.e. Wonderland, Narnia, Neverland, etc. - Worlds dreamed up by the child characters – sense of control - The Hobbit takes place entirely in the fantasy world - More risk/seriousness because the dangers are entirely real for him – not a dream he can wake up from and suddenly everything is okay - Real world instead of a dream – more depth to Middle Earth - Fantasy often turns the time back to a distant past - Suggestion that hobbits might still exist in secret in the modern world - Sense that we have forgotten things that people once knew - Modern world not necessarily associated with progress as it usually is - Tolkein fought in the first world war – focus on warfare in his books - Technology seen as bad – weapons designed to kill lots of people at once – Tolkein uses more medieval type combat, hand to hand with swords etc - Bilbo can gain courage through this kind of combat - Appeal of natural environment not dominated by technology – this is the kind of environment which allows for more opportunities for courage and adventure - Bilbo is not the typical child protagonist – grown-up, no living parents, no one telling him not to go - Characterized as childlike in some ways – emotions (fear), curiosity, regarded by dwarves as childlike, inexperienced (spent whole life in the Shire), physical size, childlike ways of succeeding in combat (eavesdropping, throwing rocks, solving riddles), attachment to home (comfort, safety, plenty) - Must gain respect and show he can contribute something, much like Jim Hawkins - Gandalf seen as a parent-like figure to Bilbo – saves the day when Bilbo messes up, offers wisdom and guidance, etc. - Important moment when Gandalf decides to leave – Bilbo needs Gandalf to leave once he’s ready to stand on his own so he can prove himself - Bilbo is an unlikely adventurer who has this adventure in spite of himself – not individualistic or rebellious like other adventure characters - Certain socially imposed obligations at home that you don’t have on an adventure (checking the time, etc.) – Bilbo gets to experience a kind of freedom from this that he never had before - Bag End is an extension of Bilbo himself – description of house is also a description of Bilbo – everything speaks to his love of comfort and predictability, putting on a public display, developing his feminine side (clothes, interior décor, entertaining guests, etc.) - The hobbits are a domestic species, not prone to adventure, not motivated by ambition or greed - Bilbo has an imagination – love of Gandalf’s fairy tales and fireworks – love of beautiful things - The dwarf song sparks Bilbo’s imagination and helps him decide to go on the adventure - Bilbo retains some innocence (bargains the stone, only kills spiders, doesn’t rely on violence) - Remains in touch with his domestic peaceful side and combines it with the imaginative, adventurous, beauty-loving side coming from his mother’s side - The adventure is more psychological, more about self-discovery th Children’s Lit – Nov 28 The Hobbit Songs and Stories - The people of Middle Earth rely on songs, stories, and legends as a source of information - Print is not the primary way people access information - When they arrive in Laketown, their reception depends on songs and stories - The ones who believe the songs and stories greet them with open arms - Two kinds of people in Laketown – the ones who believe the legends
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