The Hobbit


Key Facts

Title: The Hobbit, or There and Back Again

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien

Type of Book: Novel

Genre: Fantasy

Original language: English

Written in: Oxford, England, sometime between 1929 and 1936; originally told aloud by Tolkien to his children

First published: 1937

Tense: Past

Time in which novel is set: Fictional time, defined by Tolkien as The Third Age of Middle-Earth (2941–2942 are the fictional years given)

Places in which novel is set: Various imaginary locations throughout the fictional Middle-Earth. The novel describes a journey, so the setting changes frequently.

Protagonist: Bilbo Baggins (the Hobbit)

Narrator: Omniscient and anonymous, the narrator often addresses the reader in a comical tone, commenting directly upon the thoughts and actions of the characters.

Point of View: Third-person, mostly Bilbo’s point of view. Since the narrator is omniscient, he often relates and comments on information which Bilbo does not have.

Conflict: Bilbo’s hero’s journey: the tension between his conventional love of a quiet, comfortable life and his inner adventurousness and heroic nature. As the story evolves, Bilbo becomes braver and more self-confident.

Climax: The climax of Bilbo’s hero’s journey is in Chapter 8, when he kills an enormous spider and realizes that he is capable of great strength and bravery. He begins to feel heroic and self-reliant. The climax of the novel on the whole is in Chapter 17, with the Battle of Five Armies.

Falling action: After the Battle of Five Armies, Bilbo and Gandalf travel back toward the hobbit lands, staying with Beorn and Elrond along the way. Gandalf works to resolve...

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