Analyzing Style: J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit

1486 words - 6 pages

Perhaps one of the greatest fantasy novels of all time, The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien not only demonstrates stylistic principles of 20th century writing but also includes an enthralling plot, endearing characters and enough exciting dangerous scenes to contain the attention of the average teenage reader. The follows the adventures of a hobbit, name Bilbo Baggins as he explores the realms of Middle Earth with a wizard and a band of dwarves to slay the dragon known as Smaug and reclaim the treasure of the dwarven mines of old. Along the way, the merry band encounters many obstacles, which include a trio of trolls, goblin hordes within the Misty Mountains, the creature Gollum, giant spiders, dark elves, and finally the dragon Smaug. Ensuing the slaying of the dragon, war threatens to break out between the humans and the elves against the dwarves and Bilbo. Peace is achieved just before an army of goblins and wargs marches on the elves, humans and dwarves. The eagles, whom Bilbo had befriended previously in the story, arrive just in time to save them from a goblin victory. Bilbo then returns home with "Sting," his sword, his elfish chain mail, and magic ring to his home in the Shire, preferring not to go on any more adventures for quite some time. Of course, as with any story, the plot is irrelevant if the tale is not told in an organized fashion, with vivid imagery and with exemplary word choice. These elements of style, as used in Tolkien's novel, takes Bilbo adventures to the next level so to speak, placing this book onto the catalog of the greatest literary works of the 20th century. Organization and arrangement of ideas is one of the most critical points to any expression, especially in literary works. Since the orations of the ancient Greeks and Romans, organization of points has been a focal point in determining the validity of an argument and the worth of an author. Exposure to those works that exemplify the correct use of this technique are ideal for inclusion on an English class syllabus, and J.R.R. Tolkien clearly demonstrates his abilities in this area. He begins the story first describing Bilbo's home, which serves as the primary setting, continues to give a little information on Bilbo and his family's background, and then goes into somewhat of a history and description of hobbits in general. He finally loops back around to the beginning of the plot and begins to tell the story. This organization is effective because it first lets the reader know where they are, whom they are dealing with, and then enough background information to begin the story and flow undisturbed through the beginning of the plot. If Tolkien did not write in this way, he would begin the story, have to pause to describe Bilbo, pause again to describe what a hobbit is, and pause a third time to describe the setting before he could continue on with the tale, by which time the reader would be so bombarded with information that he would not remember what had...

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