Sunday, April 1, 2012

Essay on “Hobbit”

Essay on “Hobbit”

It is known, that the formation of Tolkien’s artistic style was influenced by ancient cultures. We may say that this author is somewhat isolated from other representatives of contemporary literature. We cannot definitely say that he belongs to either a realistic literary trend, or fantasy. In this regard his works are unique and idiosyncratical. The main source of his idiosyncrasy is an unusual genesis of his fantastic imagery.

According to its literary style, “The Hobbit” is considered a fairy tale for children, although it is still read and reread by people of all ages, because its unique style attracts not only children, but adults as well. Of course, much depends on the talent of a writer. “The Hobbit” bristles with wordplay, which gives abundant scope for the author’s imagination.

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A brilliant example of wordplay is Bilbo’s answer to Smaug:
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led. And through the air. I am he that walks unseen.

And later the dragon said to him:
“You are a burgleer, go burgal something!!”

Tolkien’s style attracts readers from the very beginning. His long sentences, enriched with metaphors, hyperboles, epithets and other expressive means absorb readers’ attention and make them read the book till the end. In the first chapter “An Unexpected Party” Gandalf says:

Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?

As for the genre, it should be mentioned that most researches relate it to a fairy-story, but according to Tolkien himself, such works are not intended for children in particular. The basic idea of the story lies in the adventures of a small inexperienced person, who becomes involved in complicated events, and eventually grows out of just a fairy-tale. In the course of time, adventures together with the main hero become more and more serious and complicated. In this story we hear a faint echo of ancient myths. We may find numerous folk sayings and made-up verses in it, let alone tricky riddles. Here are several examples. The first one is a famous song of Bilbo, which accompanied him throughout his adventures:

“Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea…”
And here is an example of a riddle:
“A box without hinges, key or lid.
Yet golden treasure inside is hid!”

In such a way “The Hobbit” represents a completely different style of narration: improvisatory, easy and comprehensible. Its plot is built on magic stories about dragons and treasures, which embody English folklore tradition (Ryan J., 1981). The novelty of this story lies in a range of motives and unusual characters. Here we can see a simplified image of the second world. One of the most important artistic discoveries of the author is the image of the main hero – hobbit. These fantastic humanlike creatures have no literary counterparts, neither in folklore, nor in fairy-tales. However, they have distant likeness with small creatures from Scandinavian mythology: dwarfs (Ryan J., 1981). At the same time hobbits possess traits, peculiar to any typical English dweller. Tolkien describes them as following:

“They are a little people, about half our height, and smaller than the bearded Dwarfs…”

At the end of the story Gandalf underestimates the abilities of small hobbits, saying:
“You are a very fine person, Mr. Baggins, and I am very fond of you; but you are only quite a little fellow in a wide world after all!”

In conclusion, it is important to say, that Tolkien’s style of writing is unique, and it cannot be called either realistic, or fantastic, as it combines peculiarities of several styles. And the abundance of various expressive means helps identify the idiosyncrasy of the author. The storyteller’s voice, different kinds of power (magic and non-magic) and captivating adventures are the most prominent features of the plot, which brought about the success of the book.
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