THE HOBBIT

Topics: The Hobbit, Middle-earth, Smaug Pages: 5 (1521 words) Published: November 11, 2013
Summer Reading Essay

The Hobbit: A Discussion on Setting

In J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, readers are introduced to an imaginary world of dwarves, elves, hobbits and wizards who battle dragons, orcs, and other dark entities. There are two kinds of settings that Tolkien expresses in his masterpiece: the physical setting of Middle Earth that changes as the travellers trek from one region to the next, and the interior setting happening in the protagonist Bilbo Baggins’s mind as he ventures out of his comfort zone and realizes his true potential.

The Hobbit is set in "Middle-earth”, a fantasyland created by Tolkien. The book starts and ends in Hobbiton, a town in Middle Earth, a peaceful region usually unharmed by troubles elsewhere in the world. During the course of the book, the setting changes, moving east across the Misty Mountains and through the great forest of Mirkwood to the area around the Lonely Mountain, which includes the Desolation of Smaug, Lake-town, and the ruins of the town of Dale to face the devastating dragon. As the protagonist and his dwarf companions and Gandalf travel into lands "where people spoke strangely, and sung songs Bilbo had never heard before". And as they go farther and farther away from Bilbo's home, they find "dreary hills, rising higher and higher, dark with trees". The farther Bilbo goes into the unknown, the more the landscape reflects his discomfort, particularly the "old castles with an evil look". In addition, they meet new friends and enemies that either help or challenge their ultimate goal: to defeat Smaug.

Another setting is the interior setting happening in Bilbo’s mind as he challenges himself through various surroundings. Before Gandalf visits Bilbo and invites him on an adventure, Bilbo is a content hobbit who sees no need for change. However, going on the journey ignites an inner need of adventure in Bilbo. For example, when Bilbo reaches the Lonely Mountain, it is a sign of the end of the quest. It stands "grim and tall" and feels "danger in every rock". The purpose of this setting is to contrast the calm and peaceful terrain the group passes through with the desolation that they face before them. In other words, the Lonely Mountain is the opposite of Hobbiton, where they begin their journey; the tunnels of the Lonely Mountain are grim, dark, disgusting, and reeking of dragon, while Bilbo's home is "a hobbit hole, and that means comfort" .

These changes in setting also reflect changes in Bilbo who returns to Hobbiton a different hobbit. Having seen all the things that he has seen, suddenly Bilbo’s own home under the hill has changed. His home now holds a sword over the mantelpiece and chainmail in the hallway. The changes to Bilbo's home can only mean his internal development as a character has advanced. Any changes to the setting would have produced a different story. Thus, Tolkien’s imaginary Middle Earth should remain as it is, a mythical paradise where dragons roam and hobbits become heroes.

Summer Reading Essay

The Hobbit: A Discussion on Setting

In J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, readers are introduced to an imaginary world of dwarves, elves, hobbits and wizards who battle dragons, orcs, and other dark entities. There are two kinds of settings that Tolkien expresses in his masterpiece: the physical setting of Middle Earth that changes as the travellers trek from one region to the next, and the interior setting happening in the protagonist Bilbo Baggins’s mind as he ventures out of his comfort zone and realizes his true potential.

The Hobbit is set in "Middle-earth”, a fantasyland created by Tolkien. The book starts and ends in Hobbiton, a town in Middle Earth, a peaceful region usually unharmed by troubles elsewhere in the world. During the course of the book, the setting changes, moving east across the Misty Mountains and through the great forest of Mirkwood to the area around the Lonely Mountain, which includes the Desolation of Smaug,...
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • The Hobbit Essay
  • Essay about The Hobbit Book Review
  • The Hobbit
  • Character List: The Hobbit Research Paper
  • The Hobbit Essay
  • The Hobbit Essay
  • The Hobbit Review Essay
  • Outline of the Hobbit Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free