The Protagonist’s Quest In The Hobbit And The Last Unicorn

1411 words - 6 pages

When you look at various genres of literature, the one binding theme that they all have is the sense of a journey or quest. The protagonist goes through a mental and emotional journey where they rediscover themselves, or an epic quest filled with adventure and high-paced action. Often times, we see both attributes used by the author. The quest is highly significant throughout the story as it creates change in the main character. Through reading both “The Hobbit” by JRR Tolkien and “The Last Unicorn” by Peter S Beagle, I discovered that while both had very different plotlines, the journey that the Unicorn and Bilbo shared were vastly similar in many ways. The Unicorn’s journey was one that was fuelled because she wanted to feel a sense of friendship and longing. Bilbo’s journey was quite different, as it involved much more action and was fuelled by the Dwarves’ revenge and hunger to get their gold back. Despite this, they both go through an emotional journey in which they see themselves change immensely, they both have to go through a lot of physical hardships in order to complete their quest and they both changed after their respective quests and had a hard time adapting to life. As David Mitchell once stated “there ain't no journey what don't change you some.”
Throughout the two stories, both protagonists go through an emotional journey. For Bilbo, his idea of a utopia at the beginning of the story was that home is the best place and that there is no reason to leave home unless you have to. As his experiences with the dwarves get him into dangerous situations, he discovers his Tookish side and uncovers his hidden love for adventure. In the first couple of pages in the book, Bilbo asks Gandalf if he is sure that he will come back safe (The Hobbit chapter 1). Gandalf responds by stating that he does not know, but that if Bilbo was to come back, he would never be the same hobbit again. Bilbo is very annoyed at having the dwarves at his house, yet later on in the story he grows to love the dwarves and develops a strong bond with them. He is constantly heard saying that he would like to get back to his warm hobbit hole when they first embark on the adventure, and later on he can’t remember what it looks like, and frankly doesn’t care about going back. As for the Unicorn, she starts off contemplating her decision to go find the other unicorns and thinks it might just be best to stay in her forest. As a Unicorn, she is supposed to be innocent and be clueless when it comes to knowing about feelings. However after becoming human, she feels a sense of love towards Prince Lir and carries those feelings even after returning to her original form. The Unicorn’s journey can be summed up by a quote in the novel, “We are not always what we seem and hardly ever what we dream” (Schmendrick the Magician, The Last Unicorn chapter 2). At the end of the story, she finds that she can never truly be a unicorn again because she has felt love and regret, something...

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