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Biography of john ronald reuel tolkien and the great deals of symbolism in his books

The Hobbit (Movie Tie-in Edition) Teacher’s Guide

What can you infer about the character traits and values of elves from their song? What does Bilbo gain from his adventure? What is the difference in the way his home is dear to him now compared to the way it was dear to him at the beginning of the book? Is it necessary to leave a place before you can truly appreciate it?

At the end of the book, Gandalf makes the following comment: Do you agree with Bilbo or with Gandalf? Why is this a comforting perspective? How does viewing oneself as a small part of a larger whole impact the way a person interacts with the world around him? During the course of the expedition, Gandalf remarks several times that Bilbo is extraordinarily lucky.

Similarly, after escaping from the spiders, the expedition needs the luck of being captured by the elves, especially since it turns out that their straying from the path was necessary, because the east end of the road was abandoned.


Four events in particular should be considered. The proof of this providential pattern lies outside The Hobbit. Yet the basic principle can be seen quite clearly within The Hobbit.

Although on the surface it is stronger than good, evil always provides the means of its own defeat: Triumphing over evil requires not prowess but fortitude, humility, hope, and unshakable virtue.

But Bilbo and Bard, tutored by Gandalf, the Elvenking, and their own hearts, learn the true value of treasure and hatred, and joining together against evil, they destroy it. Choose one of these creatures and research its appearance in world myths, legends, and folktales. Create a multimedia presentation that answers the following questions: What specific tales do you think inspired Tolkien when he created his creatures?

In what ways did he transform the source material of the traditional stories and legends? What characteristics of the creatures did Tolkien emphasize and what did he omit? What do his changes reveal about his values and his purpose in creating Middle-earth? Explore the significance of birds in The Hobbit.

  • Uncomfortable with this status, he and his wife lived quietly in Bournemouth for several years, until Edith's death in 1971;
  • Which story is more satisfying?
  • Devotees of the book may not agree, but it does illustrate the profound importance he attached to the use of language;
  • What does Bilbo gain from his adventure?

What specific types of birds play a role in the story? Specific birds for example, the Eagles have heavy symbolic significance in world legends and mythology. Research the source materials that Tolkien may have used to create this story. Why do you think he chose these specific birds to play the roles that they did?

  • The hobbits' attempt to destroy the ring, thereby denying Sauron unlimited power, is the focal point of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which consists of the novels The Fellowship of the Ring 1954 , The Two Towers 1954 , and The Return of the King 1955;
  • A Biography, Houghton, 1978.

Analyze the role of Gandalf in The Hobbit. Pay particular attention to his presence in terms of the way the book is structured.

What is particularly significant about his presence at the beginning and end of the story? At what points does he leave? At what points does he reappear? How powerful is Gandalf?

J. R. R. Tolkien

Research the source materials especially Norse mythology and Western theology that Tolkien may have used to create Gandalf. How does reading The Hobbit enrich your understanding and experience of the trilogy? Which story is more satisfying? In what ways does Bilbo Baggins experience the steps of an archetypal hero journey? Does Bilbo fit the description of an archetypal hero? Compare this story to another classical or modern quest narrative.

How is Bilbo similar to other heroes in literature? How is he different? Examine the treatment of race in The Hobbit. Is it fair to suggest that all members of a certain group dwarves, trolls, goblins, elves, etc. How does this treatment of ethnic groups reflect the cultural perspective of the first half of the twentieth century? How might the book be different if it were written today?

How do the film adaptations compare to the book? What do each of the directors choose to emphasize? What do they omit?

How do their directorial decisions impact the story? Which version did you enjoy more? A list of standards used to create this guide are listed below: The Silmarillion Ballantine Books presents the creation of the world and the early history of the Middle-earth. Unfinished Tales Ballantine Books contains posthumous fragments. Ruth Noel, The Mythology of Middle-Earth Houghton Mifflin is a convenient summary of the characteristics of key themes, races, places, and things in Middle-earth, suggesting their relation to and origins in European mythology.

Bruno Bettelheim, The Uses of Enchantment Vintage is a profound and compassionate testimonial to the value of fairy tales for child development. Books by and about Tolkien published by Random House, Inc.: