An Unexpected Hero
Hobbits are exceptionally petite people that live for only for the joy of comfort. They do not go on adventures, take part in anything dangerous, and do not really enjoy activities outside the comfort of their homes, other than the occasional walk. In the book The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien, Bilbo Baggins is no exception from the stereotypical hobbit. Bilbo is a fifty year old hobbit, who has turned out to be an exact replica of his father, Bungo Baggins. People considered the Baggins family to be very reputable, not only because they usually had an abundant amount of money, but because “they never had any adventures or did anything unexpected: you could tell what a Baggins would say on any question without the bother of asking him,” (Tolkien 3). Bilbo’s mother’s side, the Took side, was considered to have “something not entirely hobbitlike about them,” (4), and this was the side that came out during Bilbo’s journey. This is not a story of a boring hobbit who sat in his hobbithole all day, eating and enjoying his comfortable life; this is a story about the heroic journey that Bilbo Baggins went on and how he matured from the fifty year old, comfortable hobbit, into the fifty year old hero who went on the adventure of a lifetime and did things that no hobbit could ever imagine doing.
Every hero must pass through various obstacles to grow and mature from the person that he or she was in the beginning of the journey. Joseph Campbell gives an outline of various hurdles that the hero must overcome throughout their heroic journey. Bilbo Baggins receives his call to adventure during the tea party that was surprisingly held at his house by Gandalf. At this meeting Gandalf informs the thirteen dwarves that he has chosen the fourteenth member of their group, and that Bilbo is the burglar that is needed to complete the journey and recover the treasure that they are in search of. During the discussion of the map, all of the treasure that was awaiting them, the danger that awaited them, and the dwarves singing their song, “something Tookish woke up inside of him [Bilbo], and he wished to go and see the great mountains, and hear the pine-trees and that waterfalls, and explore the caves, and wear a sword instead of a walking-stick,” (Tolkien 15). Bilbo has tried so hard for so many years to ignore his Took side, which is his mother’s side, the adventurous side, but the excitement that he is feeling from the thought of going on this journey gives him the courage to finally accept his call to adventure, and embark on the journey.
Bilbo has never been outside of hobbit land, so when he and the others got to the Lone-Lands, he was overwhelmed by the new scenery. This was the point in his journey where he was taken out of his everyday life and comfort, and put into an entirely new situation. When the group finally decided to rest for the night, they saw a light flickering in the distance. They followed the light and encountered three trolls who were burning a fire and eating food, both of which were things the group of fourteen had not had in a very long time and wanted. Bilbo took this opportunity as his chance to prove to the rest of the group that he was a good burglar, and that there was a reason for them to bring him along on their journey. Even though he is trying to assume the identity of someone he is not, a burglar, he is trying something new and doing something brave, “of course Bilbo is reluctant, but Tookish honor compels him, as well as a touch of honest pride,” (Green). As Bilbo quietly sneaks up behind the trolls and tries to steal their purse, he comes to find that the purse can talk and is caught. One by one the other dwarves come in to see what has happened and are caught by the trolls. While the trolls are deciding what to do with their freshly caught meal, Gandalf appears and helps them escape. Instead of using his magical powers and somehow killing the trolls, Bilbo realizes that Gandalf...
Cited: Campbell, Joseph. "The Hero 's Journey : Summary of the Steps." Heros Journey: Summary of Steps. 19 Nov. 1999. 22 Sept. 2008 .
Green, William. The Hobbit : A Journey into Maturity. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 1994.
Matthews, Dorothy. “The Psychological Journey of Bilbo Baggins.” A Tolkien Compass. Ed. Jared Lobdell. Open Court, 1975. 29-42. Discovering Collection. Gale. Cerritos College Lib. 23 Sept. 2008 http://www.galegroup.com/.
Tolkien, J. R. The Hobbit : Or There and Back Again. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company Trade & Reference Division, 1999.
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