I. Christian symbolism has always been a way for a writer to express his religious belief in his writings. A. Catholicism was very influential in Tolkien’s time period and in writing the Hobbit brought many of his biblical perspectives to light. B. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, through Bilbo’s adventure, symbolically shows the life of Jesus Christ. 1. Thorin travels with 12 dwarves just as Jesus travels with 12 disciples. 2. Gandalf can be seen as an angel or the Holy Spirit since he guides Bilbo’s journey and helps in times of need. 3. Bilbo can be seen as the Christian.
C. Christian symbolism is plainly noticed after barely reading in the book so it becomes very easy to see what Tolkien has placed between the lines. II. In writing the Hobbit, Tolkien claims that the Christian symbolism was at first unintentional and later became the focal point of his book. D. This shows how a writer’s beliefs will leak into his writings whether he may want it to or not. 4. People should be careful and get to know who the author of a book is if they want to be aware of what might be being said. 5. One’s religious belief will be evident if he is loyal to it. E. Tolkien says himself, “The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision.. The religious element is absorbed in the story and the symbolism” (Miller 44). 6. Tolkien’s beliefs spilled into his writings and he noticed this and capitalized on it. 7. Although Tolkien is referring to his Lord of the Rings trilogy, it is unmistakable that it was also the case in The Hobbit. F. In The Hobbit, Bilbo has to face his fears and step out of the comfort of his home, the shire, to overcome the problems in that are in the real world. G. Bilbo is a small reserved hobbit not heroic at all yet is the hero of the story and realizes his strengths and weaknesses along the way. 8. By creating Bilbo with these traits he is saying that it doesn’t take a strong, brawny, and brave champion to save the day. 9. Bilbo can represent a Christian’s walk or Jesus’ life on earth a. Bilbo as a Christian receives help from the Holy Spirit in the form of Gandalf and fellow Christians in the form of dwarves who accompany him on his road to salvation and must defeat his sin in the form of a dragon and reclaim the stolen treasure. b. Bilbo as Jesus is accompanied with his disciples in the form of dwarves and God in the form of Gandalf to defeat Satan in the form of a dragon and reclaim what he stole.
III. Characters in the Hobbit without doubt represent biblical beings such as the goblins being demons and the eagles being angels. H. The goblins are described to be very hideous and evil creatures that fear the eagles and dwell in the mountains to hide from the eagles and do wicked. 10. Demons according to the Bible are like goblins in almost every way since they are both very evil and twisted. 11. Demons, however, do not necessarily dwell in the mountains. I. The eagles are described to be very heroic and honorable and hate the goblins for their schemes and enjoy destroying their evil plots and driving them back in the mountains. 12. Angels according to the Bible are like the eagles in almost every way since they do good and fight against evil. 13. Angels, however, do not necessarily live on peaks or in nests. J. Gollum with his double personality and evil nature is a very good example of a demon possessed person according to the Bible. 14. “And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him?” (KJV, John 10.20) explains how a man possessed with a devil is cast out from society like Gollum. 15. Gollum lingers in the dark in solitude like they are evil. K. The character Beorn is very powerful and somewhat mysterious and allows the company to stay at his place for a time till they are ready to travel again possibly symbolic to a prophet since Gandalf had to manipulate him to show compassion and since his beastly transformation does not seem like a Godly characteristic. L. Tolkien’s emphasis of good and bad in the Hobbit is very clear unlike some books where there seems to be some shades of grey there is only black and white according to Tolkien those who wish to do evil and those who wish to do good and strive for peace. IV. The Bible lines up with the Hobbit in many ways, more ways than noticed at first which Tolkien perhaps meant to be. M. Jesus was tempted by the devil in the desert alone by Satan and Bilbo was tested by Gollum. 16. “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.” (Matthew 4.1) 17. Bilbo was blessed with the ring after his encounter with Gollum which helped him and his companions out of multiple outcomes. N. When Bilbo and the dwarves are caught by spiders in the Mirkwood forest it is a result of falling into temptation of the magical feasts in the forest that Beorn and Gandalf had warned them to stay away from. 18. “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26. 41). c. According to this verse God will allow us to be tempted but we must resist. d. The verse also tells us that our flesh is weak and the will of our spirit must be stronger than the will of our flesh if we wish to pass temptation. 19. The spiders try to eat the dwarves and can be easily portrayed as an evil since many people fear spiders and are common pests. O. The elves in Mirkwood are very untrusting and wary of foreigners especially of dwarves so when they catch Thorin he is almost immediately hurled into their prison. 20. The elves of Mirkwood are unlike the high elves that the company meets earlier in the book. e. The Mirkwood elves are more aloof and stronger than the high elves. f. The high elves are wiser and are willing to trade with outsiders and not isolate themselves as much. 21. The Mirkwood elves and the high elves share displeasure in dwarves. P. The Mirkwood elves do not easily show any Christian symbolism other than providing punishment for Bilbo and the dwarves for falling into temptation. Q. The lake-town Esgaroth in the Hobbit is a city of men who have in the past been driven out by the dragon and will have to fight the dragon yet again this time defeating it. 22. Thorin seemed good and noble as a first impression and not showing signs of mischief but turned out to cause great trouble for the peaceful town that had treated him and his company kindly. 23. The lake-town people receive bountiful treasure flowing through the river from the mountain after defeating the aged dragon, Smaug. V. The Hobbit came out as a children’s book, a harmless fairy tale with elves and dwarves, but actually having strong and significant Christian symbolism intertwined in the plot. R. Hopefully by doing such a thing Tolkien lead many into understanding some of the knowledge the Bible has to offer. S. Christians reading the Hobbit often catch on to the symbolism and grant Tolkien with praise for his actions.