The Hobbit was originally published in September of 1937. When the book was first published, as a children’s novel, hopes for the book were not very high. The first print was only 1500 copies however, the novel has sold 100 million since. It brings up a very important question, what is the underlying reason the story has endured over generations of readers? Some people would argue it is the quest, or the journey. Other people argue that the idea of overcoming obstacles, loyalty, friendship, and courage are what has made it endure. There is no right or wrong answer however, I think the idea of having a common man as the hero is what has been captivating readers for generations.
“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit”. Bilbo Baggins was a small hobbit who lived in a hole and had absolutely no heroic characteristics whatsoever. His character was meant to appeal to children yet somehow his character appeals to adults as an epic hero. In some ways Bilbo could be considered an epic hero. He accepted the adventure however, in most traditional stories with an epic hero, the hero is super strong and well known, and their actions are somewhat severe. Bilbo isn’t even the one that kills the dragon, in this story it is someone else.
What makes the hobbit a children’s tale is the content. Throughout the story, the narrator addresses readers and seems to seek a certain complicity with a young audience. “Large stupid folk like you and me” was meant to be a sense of comic relief for young readers. Bilbo’s physical characteristics features him closer to a child than to an adult. Like most hobbits, he is little, has no beard, likes bright colors, and laughing. Most children can relate to this, and therefore feel involved in his adventures.
“We are plain folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can’t think what anybody sees in them…We don’t want any adventures here, thank you!” When Gandalf first asks...
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