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"The Transformation Of Bilbo Baggins" Thoroughly Describe Bilbo's Growth As A Leader,Tolkien's Methods Of Characterization Throughout The Thematic Journney.

1463 words - 6 pages

Fantasy novels, such as The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, are at times difficult for a reader to follow and understand; by definition a fantasy will incorporate many concepts that are unbelievable. Talking animals, mythical creatures, and the used of magic are the norm of fantasy realms. Due to the fact that these aspects are so obviously unrealistic, authors will oft times include some aspect of the story that is anchored firmly in reality. This reality-link is present in characters of The Hobbit, especially the protagonist, Bilbo Baggins. Tolkien used many methods of characterization to create his characters, namely physical description, mental process, and the description of characters' actions. Of the three, the link between reality and fantasy is strongest in the description of Bilbo's mentality and actions. The journey Bilbo and the company of Dwarves embark on is at once adventurous and very much thematic; Tolkien's theme of self-transformation with retention of one's personal morals and values is obvious throughout their expedition. As the company travels in search of material treasure, Bilbo travels to discover the treasures within himself: those of courage, bravery, and wisdom.Tolkien disguises his theme as the transformation Bilbo experiences, during which he becomes more heroic and less of a homebody. First, however, the reader must be able to picture Bilbo in his mind, and so the most necessary form of characterization is a physical description. This is specifically appropriate when reading The Hobbit, because Bilbo (and most of the supporting characters) isn't even human. Tolkien, however, does not disappoint. Right form the beginning, it becomes clear that Bilbo is a hobbit: a small, humanoid creature. Tolkien thoroughly describes Bilbo, from his size, to his clothes, to the hair on his feet (and head). The reader learns of the particular Hobbit in question's customs, his ability to move quietly, and his generous girth."They [hobbits] are (or were) a little people, about one-half our height ... Hobbits have no beards. The are inclined to be fat in the stomach; they dress in bright colors ... wear no shoes, because their feet grow natural leathery soles and thick warm brown hair like the stuff on their heads (which is curly) ..." (Tolkien, 1937, p. 16).From this description, an image begins to form, and then, the reader can picture Bilbo in his mind. So Tolkien begins his magic, establishing Bilbo as if he were a stranger one saw on the street.Once Tolkien has given the reader a tangible picture of Bilbo, he moves on to the most important form of characterization; what, and how, Bilbo thinks. This, however, is not accomplished as quickly as a physical description. The human mind, which for all intensive purposes is what hobbits have, is a complex thing, ruled by many emotions. As the story develops, Bilbo's character becomes more defined and his transformation progresses. At the beginning of the novel, Bilbo - like most Hobbits - is...

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