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The Hobbit: Analysis of a Hero's Journey

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Zachary Serra

on 24 November 2015

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Transcript of The Hobbit: Analysis of a Hero's Journey

The Hobbit: Analysis of a Hero's Journey
Zachary Serra l Chris Barb l Tyler Damasiewicz l Hugh O'Donnell l Evan McGough l Ben Hutchison l Kyle Perez

The Call
The Challenges
There are 3 different places where challenges occur:

Threshold and Threshold Guardians
Threshold: There are two main thresholds in "The Hobbit".
1) When Gandalf forces Bilbo to come out of his hobbit hole and out of the shire to begin the journey.
Bilbo leaves his known comfortable world and begins the adventure.
2) Bilbo's first attempt to steal treasure from the trolls.
At this point Bilbo accepted his role as thief and crosses from Hobbit to burglar.
Threshold Guardians: There are five threshold guardians in The Hobbit.
1) The Trolls- Bilbo fails to steal the treasure, gets his dwarf companions caught, and Gandalf has to rescue the group.
2) Goblins- Bilbo handles this situation better. He warns Gandalf of the attack.
Gandalf is able to later free them and get them out of the caves.
3) Gollum- Bilbo wins the "riddles in the dark" and is rewarded with the ring.
4) Spiders of Mirkwood- Bilbo is able to defeat them with the ring and "Sting", the sword he found in the troll's cave.
5) Woodelves- After learning from the previous tests, Bilbo is able to rescue the dwarves from the Elf King's prison.
The Return
After Bilbo's long journey, he returns to his home in the Shire. When he arrives, he notices that most of his possessions are being sold since he was presumed dead by the other Hobbits. Although he puts a stop to the auction and is able to collect most of his things back, he is not able to recover his reputation. Ever since he left, the other Hobbits lost respect for Bilbo, but he does not seem to mind because he "remained an elf-friend, and had the honor of dwarves, wizards, and all such folk that ever passed the way" (Tolkien 303-304). In addition, Bilbo was able to recover a small amount of the treasure after his long journey and learned a valuable lesson. He learned that his friends are more important than any object is the world, and he is not willing to sacrifice his friends for anything.


Abyss
The Atonement
The Misty Mountains
Mirkwood
The Lonely Mountain
The Herald
One day Gandalf arrives at Bilbo's home and asks him to come on a journey with him. At first Bilbo refuses and forgets about the encounter. A few days pass and Thorin, a leader among the Dwarves, recruits Bilbo against his will. Before Bilbo sets out on his journey, he is perfectly content with his life as a hobbit. At the time, he was not looking for any adventure and just wanted to live happily and privately in The Shire. All of this is about to change. "'Of course there is a mark,' said Gandalf. 'I put it there myself. For very good reasons. You asked me to find the fourteenth man for your expedition, and I chose Mr. Baggins...'" (Tolkin 19).
Works Cited
In the Misty Mountains, Gandalf and the thirteen dwarves encounter hordes of goblins. In the mayhem of the fight, Bilbo is knocked unconscious and awakes to find the one ring of power and Gollum, its previous owner. Gollum proposes a challenge to Bilbo by stating "'Praps we sits here and chats with it a bitsy, my preciousss. It likes riddles, praps it does, does it?'" (Tolkien 73). Striving not to be Gollum's next meal, Bilbo outwits the creature and leaves with the one ring in his pocket.
Tolkien, J. R. R. The Hobbit, Or, There and Back Again.
Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1966. Print.

"The Hobbit - Thug Notes Summary and Analysis." YouTube.
YouTube, n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2015.

Tolkien, J.R.R. Picture of the cover of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit.
Digital image. Goodreads. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Nov. 2015.

Gollum/Smèagol. Digital image. Wikia. Wiki, n.d. Web. 22 Nov.
2015.
The herald of "The Hobbit" is Gandalf. Gandalf is constantly doing things to make Bilbo go on the journey. When Bilbo refuses to go, he scratches a symbol on Bilbo's door, which calls all of the dwarves to Bilbo's home. Gandalf eventually persuades Bilbo into going on the quest, and Bilbo is offered one-fourteenth of the treasure. Gandalf acts as the guide at points and as a source of wisdom for Bilbo and the group.
The abyss in "The Hobbit" is Bilbo finally resolving the conflict between the various races; the different races feel they deserve a portion of the treasure aquired from Smaug's den. The elves believe they deserve a share after their trouble wth the dwarves, who had escaped from them. The humans believe that they own the treasure fully, for they defeated Smaug in the first place. However, Thorin's greed reaches a climax due to his willingness to risk everyone’s life to protect what he sees as his treasure. He believes 14 can defeat thousands. Bilbo is facing death by being involved in the very dangerous battle of five armies. He conquers the abyss by banding all the armies together against the goblins who are the real threat. Bilbo takes matters into his own hands, and steals the Arkenstone, Thorin’s most prized possession, and offers it to the other armies so they may bargain with Thorin, and have peace. After they bring the Arkenstone to the meeting Thorin has no choice but to make peace, and give everyone a fair share of the gold. Because of this when the goblins arrive the armies all band to together to vanquish them.
In the enchanted forest, Bilbos first tests the ring when he discovers that "... there were giant spiders huge and horrible sitting in the branches above him, and ring or no ring he trembled with fear lest they should discover him," (Tolkien 157). Again, Bilbo must act before the villians enjoy a full meal of dwarf, except this time, with the power of the ring, his approach is much more aggressive. After luring the spiders away from his friends, he returns, invisible, and chops them out of their webbed cocoons.
After escaping the spiders, the group's next challenge is escaping the prison cells of the woodland elves. The stubbornness of the dwarves and their desire to keep all of the treasure for themselves prevented them from telling the elves why they were in the forest and resulted in their imprisonment. Bilbo, with the ring, evades capture and works to save his fellow comrades. After being pulled from their cells, they escape through a barrel recycling system and float downstream to Lake Town, which lies at the foot of the Lonely Mountain.
Here, the original target of the journey appears in the form of Smaug the Great, a greedy dragon who lives in the Lonely Mountain with an endless amount of meticulously kept treasure. After finding the secret entrance into the heart of the mountain, Bilbo volunteered to explore the elaborate cave, and stumbled upon the great beast: "Smaug certainly looked fast asleep, almost dead and dark, with scarcely a snore more that a whiff of unseen steam, when Bilbo peeped once more from the entrance... He was only pretending to sleep! He was watching the tunnel entrance!" (Tolkien 222). From this point, the dragon attacks Laketown, a poor village sitting in the middle of the Long Lake, where he is slain by Bard, the fisherman. The last of the challenges was not completed by the group, expressing how dysfunctional and greed-driven it had become.
The Shadow
Smaug plays the role of the shadow in this hero's journey. This is due to his villain-like characteristics and also in the way he influences Bilbo's actions toward the end of he story. Eventually Smaug is dealt with which brings out further development from Bilbo.
The idea of greed can also be considered the shadow in "The Hobbit". Greed plays a huge role in the plot line of the story and it is what drives the group's actions. Greed backfires on the group at various points and puts them in very dangerous situations throughout the entire book.
Bilbo's atonement comes when he wakes up after The Battle of The Five Armies and reconciles with Thorin. Bilbo was ultimately responsible for making the adventure successful, and Thorin realizes that when he is dying He then forgives Bilbo for going against his wishes. Bilbo also realizes that there is more to life than sitting quietly and comfortably in a hobbit hole, eating and smoking.
Symbols
Bilbo's Sword
After Bilbo defeats the spider and saves the dwarves he decides to name his sword "Sting". This is a turning point in the story and marks Biblo's bravery. At this point, it becomes clear that Bilbo is truly a hero because of his selflessness and courage.
The Ring
The magical and mysterious ring that Bilbo manages to take from Gollum represents greed. Gollum became obsessed with it and never allowed anyone to even see it. Once Bilbo takes it, he becomes more greedy and even refers to it as his precious. Despite this, Bilbo is able to overcome the ring's powerful effects and uses the ring for good such as when he used it to rescue the dwarves from the elves' dungeon.
Arkenstone
Found in the treasure that Smaug holds for himself, this gem is what Thorin desires most. Although he wants to collect even more treasure, this was the most important artifact in Smaug's collection according to Thorin. Like the ring, it represents greed and materialism. Instead of focusing on his friends and allies, Thorin only cares about acquiring this priceless gem. He is even willing to kill in order to have the Arkenstone is his possession. With it, he believes that he will be able to reestablish himself as the King of the Mountain.
Introduction to "The Hobbit"
This story depicts the journey of a group, consisting of thirteen dwarves, a wizard, and a hobbit, whose goal is to cross Middle Earth and take back their homeland as well as their treasure from the dragon, Smaug the Great. Challenges and enemies present themselves along the way, culminating with the restoration of Thorin's power under the mountain. The book concludes with a struggle of five armies for control of the mountain's treasure and strategic location. After, Bilbo returns to the Shire with as much treasure as he can carry.
The Mentor
Bilbo's main source of wisdom is played by Gandalf. Throughout the story, Gandalf's leadership qualities provide the group with guidance and advice on how to defeat various challenges. Thorin also plays the role of mentor but on a lesser scale than Gandalf. Thorin leads the group while Gandalf is away. In a way, Thorin serves as an anti-mentor becasue of the way he endorses greed and selfishness which impacts Bilbo.
Smaug
The Golden Cup
The Shape shifter
The Trickster
Thorin and Bilbo both act as the shape shifter in "The Hobbit". Throughout the story Thorin's behavior often changes and he can sometimes be bad tempered while at other times he can be calm and tranquil. Often, Thorin and Bilbo disagree with each other and the two don't seem to have a sense of trust. Bilbo also takes up the part of shape shifter because at time he literally changes using the power of the ring. This adds dramatic effect to the story and fulfills the literal meaning of shape shifter.
Bilbo represents the trickster archetype in "The Hobbit". He uses clever and unique ways to outsmart and defeat his enemies. Using the ring, Bilbo is able to sneak past Gollum, and escape his cave. Bilbo also uses the ring to turn invisible, and is able to save his friends from the spiders, by cutting them down from their web.
Character Analysis
Bilbo: The protagonist of "The Hobbit" undergoes more change than any other character. With each challenge he overcomes he changes more and more. The change he goes through sticks with him after the journey has ended when he is content with his lack of personal belongings
Gandalf: Throughout the story Gandalf acts as the guide for Bilbo and the thirteen other group members. His contributions to the group allow them to pass all challenges they face. Gandalfs guidance sort of rubs off on Bilbo as we see him develop traits that Gandalf has such as his ability to lead toward the end of the story.
Theme and Central Conflict
The reappearing theme in "The Hobbit" is heroism. Bilbo's heroic attributes drive the plot and keep the group from getting hurt or even killed.
The central conflict of "The Hobbit" is the quest for the treasure in Smaug's lair. The conflict comes to its peak at the Battle of The Five Armies when each species fights over distribution of the treasure after Smaug is killed.
Smaug represents evil and chaos. Throughout the book, it is made clear that the final challenge is facing Smaug in order to claim his treasure. When the dragon is defeated, the dwarves and Bilbo realize that they are going to have to face an even bigger challenge when the five armies arrive.
The Golden Cup is a symbol of Smaug's greed. This is because Bilbo stealing just one item from his horde causes him to go into a rage. He wants everything for himself and is willing to do anything in order to gain more wealth.
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