By Abhi Menon
Essay Question: Write an essay in which you show how, through the use of evidence from the novel, a major character is used to bring across a theme and shape your response to it.
By definition, a hero is a person of great strength, valor and swordsmanship who fights evil even in the face of insurmountable odds to defend the lives of the innocent, and those who cannot protect themselves. In J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic fantasy tale ‘The Hobbit’, highlights the heroic transformation in a furry-footed, complacent, hole dwelling hobbit named Bilbo Baggins. Fantasy novels involve mythical creatures and talking animals that are still anchored firmly in reality by the author using specific reality links. Tolkien uses many methods of characterization for the protagonist Bilbo, namely physical description, mental process, and description of the character’s actions; the latter two being the most strongest. The journey of Bilbo and the Dwarves is quite adventurous and also very thematic; Tolkien’s theme of Bilbo’s self-transformation with retention of his personal morals and values is evident throughout their expedition. As the company travels in search of material treasure, Bilbo discovers the treasures within himself: those of courage, bravery, and wisdom.
In order for the reader to conceptualise Bilbo mentally, it is most necessary to have a physical description. This is specifically appropriate when reading ‘The Hobbit’ because Bilbo is not even human. However, Tolkien describes Bilbo right from the beginning as a Hobbit-a small humanoid creature. He goes onto describe Bilbo’s size, his clothes, and the hair on his feet and head. The reader learns of the Hobbit’s customs, his ability to move quietly and his generous girth. All in all he is not an imposing character, which again lends credence to the heroic deeds that he accomplishes during the course of the journey. “They [hobbits] are (or were) a little people, about one-half of our...