FIRST RESEARCH :
The Hobbit is one of the better books that I have read. I was impressed with this novel and enjoyed reading about the adventures of Bilbo Baggins and his company. The book was both intricate and appealing, and the writings held my attention well. Though the novel is fairly short, it is filled with action. I also treasured the adventure and fantasy genre of this novel, and I find it similar to that of the Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist. Because The Hobbit is a superior book, I have found things about the writing that I both like and dislike.
I enjoyed many aspects of The Hobbit. The characters were intriguing, for each had his own eccentricities. I do not believe I will ever forget Bilbo, the hobbit who merely wanted to rest at home and blow smoke rings, or the mysterious Gandalf, always ready with some trick up his sleeve. Additionally, the dialogue in the story was meaningful and interesting, and not simply chit-chat. The dialogue proved to move the plot along well. The conflicts are also worth commending, for they are creative and memorable.
There were some things about The Hobbit that I did not admire. I found the descriptive paragraphs to be inadequate, for some images were left incomplete in my mind. As the description fell short, I discovered that this was also hindering the impact of the mood upon me. I felt indifferent in times of both danger and celebration. Some of the character's names were childish, and these names annoyed me. Whenever I came upon the names like Fili and Kili I cringed and felt the crazy names were holding back the storyline. Also, the simple style of narration, although easy to read, failed to stimulate me to the extent that I prefer.
I would recommend The Hobbit to anyone who loves to daydream or at least has an active imagination. Those who would appreciate these writings the most would be people that like adventure and fantasy books, particularly novels with settings similar to the Middle Ages. The type of person who would not enjoy this novel would be a realist or a person that possesses an inactive imagination. Also, a person that likes explicit descriptions would probably dislike The Hobbit. I would also not read this book again because I have already read it twice, and I do not like the adventure and fantasy books as much as I used to like them. If The Hobbit were to be made into a movie, then I believe it would be necessary to have many special effects and extraordinary costumes, due to the mythical creatures involved, such as dragons and hobbits.
I have enjoyed reading The Hobbit very much, for it is an excellent story full of adventure and fun. The book is good to be familiar with, for there are often allusions to the numerous scenes and characters within the story. Some of the scenes and characters are particularly memorable, including Bilbo's riddle contest with Gollum, the mysterious and seemingly omnipotent Gandalf, and the evil selfish dragon, Smaug. The Hobbit is an excellent novel, wonderfully portraying the unique adventures of a small hobbit and his friends.
Review by Soren M. Johnson (4-96)
SECOND RESEARCH :
As a lover of fantasy and adventure books, I was captivated by the epic story of The Hobbit. I thought this book was very good, and I liked it tremendously. This novel ranks right up with Richard Adams's Watership Down and far exceeds Brian Jacques's Redwall series. The Hobbit is full of exciting events and action, making it difficult to put down.
I enjoyed many attributes of this book, specifically the characters and the setting. Each and every character Tolkien created in The Hobbit is a separate and unique individual. Bilbo Baggins, the leading hobbit in the story, is very laid back and hesitant to venture out with the dwarves on their journey. Tolkien does a superb job of making Bilbo the most lovable character in the novel. One cannot help feeling sympathy for Mr. Baggins. The great unpredictable wizard Gandalf is also a high point in The Hobbit. Coming and leaving at odd times and at his own will makes Gandalf realistically human. Each dwarf also has his own unique points and personality. The setting of The Hobbit also adds to its splendidness. Tolkien's elaborate descriptions of all the places in the story are wonderful. Most scenes in The Hobbit are dark and mysterious, which I thought added to the grave mood of the story. The story of Bilbo's adventures is so perilous that the many settings of the novel had to be dismal enough to compensate for the danger. There are many outstanding characteristics in this fine story.
With so many excellent attributes in The Hobbit, I found it difficult to find many things that were not good. Tolkien's choice of a conflict was not very creative. The plot of this novel is based upon the traditional "going out and taking back what is yours" story. The many kinks and side adventures made The Hobbit interesting, but the main plot of the story is still the dwarves attempting to reclaim their lost treasure from the dragon Smaug.
This book is full of adventure in a fantasy world and should not be read by any kind of realist. Realism would take all fun and enjoyment out of The Hobbit. I think an imaginative person with a taste for action would thoroughly enjoy this book. This is a novel to read many times in a lifetime, with each new reading presenting something new about the wonderful fantasy land. I do not think this book could easily be made into a movie. A movie version of The Hobbit would require many outstanding actors and amazing special effects, which I do not think we are capable of producing right now. A cartoon version of The Hobbit and the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy has been made. I have watched most of The Hobbit with not much admiration for the film.
"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit." This phrase is one of the most famous lines of English literature, and it appears as the opening line of The Hobbit. I found this novel to be full of memorable scenes and characters. One of my favorite scenes of all time is the scene between Bilbo and Gollum. The riddle war is both very amusing and impressive. Bilbo Baggins is a character that will always be in my head and heart. As with many fantasy or adventure books, this story does not bring out many new appreciations or good lessons. But even this cannot take away from the absolute splendidness of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit.
Review by Todd Lion (4-96)
The Hobbit is an action-packed adventure tale which takes place in Middle Earth, a fantasy land greatly resembling our Earth during the Middle Ages. The specific part fo Middle Earth that this story takes place in is called the Wilderland. Most of The Hobbit occurs in the Misty Mountains and Mirkwood, a dark and dangerous forest. The Lonely Mountain and the flatlands around it are also major parts of the story. This story is told in third person limited view. There is no mentioned narrator and Tolkien only delivers insight on the thoughts and feelings of Bilbo Baggins, the hobbit. The Hobbit has a very dark and mysterious mood which is often brightened by the amusing dialogue and actions of the dwarves.
Bilbo Baggins is the main character of this novel. He is backed by a crew of dwarves and the wizard Gandalf most of the time. Bilbo is a very lovable and sentimental character. He is short and fat, as most hobbits are. All hobbits are very hairy and usually walk to their many social gatherings barefoot. Gandalf is an extremely powerful white wizard who accompanies Bilbo through the majority of their quest. The wizard is extremely random and unpredictable, making him very human-like. Thirteen dwarves, among whom the leader is Thorin Oakenshield, travel with Bilbo and Gandalf. These dwarves go by the names of Dori, Nori, Ori, Oin, Gloin, Fili, Kili, Dwalin, Balin, Bifur, Bofur, and Bombur. Thorin, the leader, is very respectable and stubborn in his ways. The group picks up many friends in its journey. Among these are the Great Eagles, the humans, and, the powerful skin-changer, Beorn.
Smaug the dragon is the main evil in The Hobbit. The many obstacles and dangers encountered in the group's travel also make hardships for the dwarves and Bilbo. Smaug is a very greedy and powerful dragon who stole the dwarves' ancestors treasures while killing many of the ancient dwarves. Smaug lived upon his pile of gold and silver in the heart of the Lonely Mountain. He was very egotistical and believed himself to be invincible, despite the small hole in his left breast. On the dwarves' way to the Lonely Mountain, they were presented with many dangers and obstacles. While sleeping in a cave one night, they were attacked by a band of sadistic goblins who led them into the depths of the Misty Mountains. Bilbo managed to escape the goblins after a while, only to find himself faced with two new dangers, the deadly darkness and a creature named Gollum he stumbled across in the darkness. Gollum was a slimy, cold, little monster that lived in an underground lake in the Misty Mountains. Gollum desperately wanted to have Bilbo for dinner that night. After escaping the goblins and the Misty Mountains, the dwarves entered the Mirkwood forest. In Mirkwood, deadly, ten foot wide spiders roamed freely. These creatures were very irritable and not very smart. Mirkwood in itself was a very dangerous place to be. A thin path wound its way through the forest, and anyone who stepped off the path would never find his way back on. Many dangers were faced by Bilbo and the group of dwarves in The Hobbit.
There were many conflicts in The Hobbit, but the one that directly or indirectly affected them all was that between the dwarves and their lust for their lost treasure that Smaug had stolen. In order for the dwarves to win back their gold, they had to first reach the Lonely Mountain, where Smaug was hiding with the treasure. Almost immediately after starting their journey to the eastern lands, the group ran into a small group of moronic trolls. The trolls managed to capture all of the dwarves and Bilbo, but Gandalf's magic allowed them to escape with daggers and swords they had stolen from the trolls. While traveling in the treacherous Misty Mountains, the band was abducted by an army of goblins. With Gandalf's great magic, they managed to kill many goblins but lost Bilbo in the commotion. The dwarves fled to safety on the other side of the Misty Mountains. Bilbo, all alone, found himself in a deadly game of riddles in the dark with a sinister fiend named Gollum. Gollum wanted to eat Bilbo; Bilbo wanted Gollum to show him the way out. If Gollum could fool Bilbo with a riddle, Bilbo was dinner, and if not, Bilbo was free. Bilbo eventually won with the riddle "What have I got in my pocket?" What he had in his pocket was, of course, a ring he had found. Later he discovered that the ring would turn its wearer invisible. The group was faced with even more dangers once inside Mirkwood forest. In this great forest were bands of large, gruesome spiders. The spiders captured all of the dwarves, but Bilbo managed not to get caught by using Gollum's magic ring. The hobbit killed many spiders before freing his friends. When nearing the eastern edge of Mirkwood, the dwarves were again captured, this time by woodland elves. Bilbo, with the help of his ring, freed the dwarves and sent them floating down the Forest River in large barrels to the small human lake-town of Esgaroth. Esgaroth lay in the shadow of the Lonely Mountain, Smaug's lair. Bilbo was sent into the mountain to steal something from Smaug. Bilbo was successful, but Smaug was smart, and he sensed his loss. He went into a total rage. He smashed out the side of the mountain and flew over to Esgaroth, where he burnt the entire town down. Bard the Bowman shot Smaug in the hole on his left breast, sending him crashing down in the middle of Long Lake, thus ending his tyrannical reign. Many conflicts were faced by the dwarves in their journey for their long lost treasure.
The turning point in The Hobbit occurs after the dwarves sight the Lonely Mountain, and when they find the secret door that leads to the heart of the mountain. At this point only do they realize that their quest is at an end and their adventure is just beginning. It took the dwarfs days to find the door, but it was finally located using the moon letters hidden on the map. Moon letters can only be read with the light of the moon shining through them. The passage behind the door wound into the center of the mountain, where Smaug was sleeping. Once the door and the passage were found, the dwarves knew their journey was over.
Even after they found the door, many adventures still faced the dwarves. After Bard killed Smaug, the dwarves thought they could take their treasure and leave, but other races wanted the treasure too. Armies gathered, humans, dwarves, and their allies on one side, goblins, hobgoblins, and their wild wolves on the other. The clouds burst. There were many casualties on both sides. Many goblins met their fate in the magnificent flashes of Gandalf's magic, and even more in the powerful claws of the eagles. Beorn, the skin-changer appeared in the form of a mighty bear. He could smite ten goblins with one blow from his mighty claw. The goblins were eventually driven back but at great expense to the dwarves and humans. Thorin Oakenshield, the King Under the Mountain, was slain. After days of fighting, the dwarves and humans finally defeated the goblin armies and claimed the treasure to be their own. Bilbo was rewarded with heaping mounds of treasure as pay from the dwarves, but Bilbo kindly declined the offer and took only two small trunks of gold and silver home with him. Bilbo's trip home was much less exciting than his journey to the Lonely Mountain, but that was the way he liked it.
Themes are hard to come by in adventure books such as this, but some can be found. The band of dwarves overcame numerous difficult and deadly obstacles in their quest for their hearts' desire. This proves that one can overcome the impossible if his motivation in good. Smaug believed himself to be invincible, but Bilbo was able to find a weakness Smaug's left breast. That weakness was eventually the death of him. As said by Bilbo, "Every worm has its weakness." The Hobbit is a very adventurous book that is full of excitement.
Analysis by Todd Lion and Soren Johnson (4-96)
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