Identity In The Hobbit

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J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit is commonly seen only as a novel about a hobbit who aids in the recovery of 13 dwarves’ stolen treasure. The group adventures to the Lonely Mountain to battle a dragon and restore the dwarves to their kingdom. But, when analyzed in a deeper sense, The Hobbit is classified as a bildungsroman where the protagonist, Bilbo Baggins, undergoes a journey of self discovery within his physical journey to the dragon’s treasure (Arslan 137). “The moral elements of The Hobbit are relatively simple” (Helms 578). Tolkien illustrates the theme of identity in an unsuspecting hero and the rewards of leaving one’s comfort zone by telling the tale of a stay-at-home hobbit and his quest for adventure. Tolkien tells of the journey…show more content…
He is, after all, the protagonist of the story and the one who has journeyed so far from his safe hole in the Shire. The answer lies within the responsibilities of Bilbo on this quest. He was never meant to be the hero. His purpose was to aid the dwarves in the restoration of their people to their rightful place in the palace beneath the Lonely Mountain. Tolkien tells this quest to show how a normal hobbit can transform into an adventurer, and to disprove the common thought of the cultural hero. While “killing the dragon is a deed that a cultural hero can do such as The Red Cross Knight or Beowulf” (Arslan 142), Bilbo is a different kind of hero. Bilbo is meant to represent the common man who is capable of stepping outside of his comfort zone to accomplish goals he never would think he could achieve.
Through the long journey of an unsuspecting hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien displays a dramatic change thought impossible by even Bilbo Baggins himself. Bilbo discovers his true potential, seen only at first by Gandalf, through his adventures under the Misty Mountains, in the forest of Mirkwood, and inside the Lonely Mountain. On his long return back home, he realizes that his “inner conflict comes to a wholeness and harmony” (Arslan 142). The adventure, told through the eyes of Bilbo Baggins, is written in the form of a bildungsroman, and is a wonderful tale of personal transformation and self

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