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ENGL389 Study Guide - Mirkwood, Unending, Rivendell

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Chris Gordon- Craig

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The Hobbit Review
J.R.R Tolkien
Born in South Africa in 1892
Bitten by a spider and became very ill (relevance in the chapter with the spiders?)
Father died unexpectedly in 1896
Brought up Roman Catholic
Mom died in 1904
A Roman Catholic Priest was his guardian
He liked to invent language games and puzzles
Scholarship to Oxford
Uses Finnish as a basis for Elvish
Starts writing the Elvish history and the history of Middle Earth
His experiences in World War I are important; he wasn’t there very long due to illness.
But war shaped his view that evil can be defeated but not completely destroyed
o Over Hill and Underhill. P. 59 Tolkien brings us back to the present when he
reminds us of the war
The importance of little people little Bilbo matures into a hero
Published in 1937
1,500 copies sold
Tolkien couldn’t resist making changes in the editions
o Major alterations are in Ch.5 Riddles in the Dark. Rewritten to give more life to
the Ring. Makes Gollum more wretched. (To fit with LOTR)
The LOTR (1955) put The Hobbit on the map
Journey of the Hero & Rites of Passage
Rites of Passage
o Separation
o Transition Bilbo’s descent to the underworld in Ch.5 – Riddles in the Dark. His
first big challenge
2nd descent is to Smaug’s cave
o Aggregation Armed with new clothes in Ch. 13. Recognized as a hero.
Journey of the Hero Pattern:
o Arming of the Hero Bilbo armed with a Coat of Mythral and a Helmet
o Educated by Gandalf He guides Bilbo and the Dwarves, gives advice
o Talisman The magic Ring. His sword ‘Sting’
o Companions Dwarves (Carrying Bilbo when he can’t keep up, etc.) “they took
it in turn to carry him on their backs” (Tolkien pg. 62)
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