The Hobbit


Discussion Questions

Study Questions

1. Bilbo and the dwarves are all nonhuman creatures invented by Tolkien. They have some features in common, but they also differ in important ways emotionally and psychologically. How is Bilbo similar to the dwarves? How is he different?

2. The Hobbit is an adventurous tale involving danger, evil creatures, battle and death. Yet, the overall tone of the novel is not dark or frightening. What kind of tone does Tolkien establish in the novel, and how does he maintain this tone?

3. When the dwarves first meet Bilbo, they have no confidence in his ability to help them. For the first portion of their journey, Bilbo is often nervous, fearful and inept. By the end of the novel, the dwarves consider Bilbo essentially the leader of their expedition. At what point does Bilbo’s transformation begin? How does he earn the dwarves’ confidence?

Essay Topics

1. The Hobbit describes Bilbo’s personal journey from being a fussy, fastidious homebody to a courageous and resourceful hero. In your opinion, is Bilbo a completely different person at the end of the novel than he was at the beginning, or has he only changed in some respects? Write an essay discussing how, specifically, Bilbo has changed and/or how he has remained the same.

2. Thorin is the official leader of the dwarves, but by the end of the novel even he is looking to Bilbo as a leader. How are Thorin and Bilbo similar? How are they different? Using specific examples from the text, discuss how Thorin acts as a foil to Bilbo.

3. The quest for treasure and riches is central to the plot of The Hobbit, and the novel is filled with references to gold, silver and jewels. In your opinion, what does the novel say about material wealth? Use examples from the text to support your analysis.

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Essays About The Hobbit