Life Lessons from The Hobbit Essay Example
Life Lessons from The Hobbit Essay Example

Life Lessons from The Hobbit Essay Example

Available Only on StudyHippo
  • Pages: 14 (3704 words)
  • Published: January 18, 2022
View Entire Sample
Text preview

The book The Hobbit tells the story of Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit who departs on a long adventurous journey with thirteen dwarves and a wizard to reclaim the dwarves’ motherland. A hobbit is a small creature, half the size of a grown man, without beards and with hairy feet. Bilbo leads the ideal life of a hobbit, in a hole in the ground that is well furnished to give the aura of a real home, and enjoys smoking his pipe, simple foods in plenty and the serenity of his chosen life. He is adamant to go on this journey because it is a deviation from his comfort zone over which he is protective. He, however, does have the blood of the Took, a family renowned for its adventurous nature, from his mother’s side. There thus exists an internal psychological conflict for Bilbo,


who is accustomed to a serene way of life, but who has a part of him that would have an affinity for adventure. He eventually agrees to join the dwarves in their quest, though only for pride because they exhibit skepticism that he would survive the journey and the challenges that it would present. What follows is an adventure filled with self-discovery and change for Bilbo and his compatriots.

This journey has been represented in the film The Hobbit, which is an adaptation of the book for film and theater. Both the book and the film represent Bilbo Baggins, the main character in similar yet differing ways depending on the situations and the filming needs of the movie. This essay examines then representation of Bilbo in both the movies and the film, considering th

View entire sample
Join StudyHippo to see entire essay

changes that he undergoes in the course of the journey and how this relates to the present generations.

The book starts by introducing Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit who resembles an adult male human being except that he is half the size of a normal man, without a beard and with curly hair on his feet. He is a good natured creature who enjoys the comfort of his hobbit-hole, a good meal and smoking his pipe. It is his good and kind nature that leads to him welcoming the old wizard, Gandalf into his hoe for a tea, despite not recognizing him at first. He, however, declines Gandalf’s offer to join him on an adventure, even after the old wizard has identified himself as a great friend of the Took family on Bilbo’s mother’s side. Gandalf, however, marks leaves a mark on his door as he departs, which is later revealed to indicate that Bilbo is a great burglar, who would be useful to the dwarves in their quest, which leads to the appearance of the thirteen dwarves in Bilbo’s home the following day.

The dwarves inform Bilbo of their mission to reclaim their long lost treasure, which sits beneath a mountain guarded by a dragon, a long distance away. This would mean embarking on a long difficult journey and Bilbo leaving the comfort and serenity of his home on a mission that did not concern him. This prospect is so unappealing to him that he falls into a fit. The fact that Thorin, the leader of the dwarves, alliterates to the possibility that they all may never return from the journey only serves to frighten Bilbo more

and strengthen is resolve not to join them on their mission. They, however, take jibes and him and insinuate that he would never survive such an adventure, which appeals to his pride and forms part of the reason why he decided to join them. The main reason, however, is because he is naturally adventurous, coming from the Took family, best known for its adventurous nature. And thus the story and the great adventure of the hobbit, the thirteen dwarves and a wizard begins.

This chapter shows how opportunities find us on normal days and open doors for growth and self-discovery. However, many a time people miss on these opportunities due to their fear of exploration and an affinity to remain in the comfort zone. The hobbit Bilbo was so accustomed to the serenity and comfort of his home that he decided to pass on an opportunity to explore new worlds beyond his simple world out in the village, and make new friends with whom he would create a lifelong relationship. Thorin, the leader of the dwarves described a journey so demanding, an adventure so dangerous that it was likely that none of them would ever return to their homes and old lives at the end. Despite these odds, the dwarves were committed to reclaiming what they believed was rightly theirs, unjustly taken from them by a creature whose only claim to the treasure was being mightier than them. This shows a great sense of and belief in justice, where one has a right to fight for and protect what is rightfully theirs. Bilbo joins in the mission eventually, albeit for somewhat wrong reasons.

On the second chapter

the journey begins. Bilbo is left sleeping in the house and when he wakes up he finds a note indicating that the thirteen dwarves were willing to share with him in equal measure the treasures they would acquire from their mission. This is an indication that they see him as an equal partner in their endeavor, taking equal risk and making equal contributions to their course. This is perhaps the reason why he attempts to steal from the three trolls, feeling an obligation to live up to his designated character of a burglar and make the expected contributions to the group’s course. He, however, gets caught and finds himself in a precarious position as the trolls fall into an argument on whether or not they should eat him. Balin enter the trolls’ camp in the course of this argument and capture Bilbo and his dwarf friends and put them in sacks, with the intentions of eating them later, just as the trolls had planned. Gandalf, who had disappeared at earlier point, reappears at this point and tricks the trolls into staying out till dawn, at which point they turn to stone as they are supposed to be underground during the day. He thus saves the dwarves and their hobbit friend in so doing.

At this point, while Bilbo still misses his home and the comforts that it provided, he has adapted to the situation and evolved into a full adventurer. The group has been battered by rain and hunger and this has had an effect on Bilbo’s character, who has grown into a survivor, and not just the meek good-natured hobbit living in a furnished hole.

It is perhaps the reason why he tries to pickpocket the troll, realizing that they are low on supplies, and that his position in the group is that of a burglar. To be worth the fourteenth share in the treasure that they would earn at the end of the journey, he had to make an equal contribution. Despite the trouble that this puts the group in, they eventually find the trolls’ cave and a refill of supplies including gold coins, food, clothes and swords. Thus Bilbo, ultimately, succeeds in his endeavor to seek more supplies for the party.

In chapter three, the travelling party endures rough terrain and weather through the Wild into Rivendell, a village predominantly inhabited by elves. While Bilbo is fond of elves, the dwarves and the elves have an historical enmity that disallows them to interact freely. They turn down an offer of a meal and only settle with Gandalf’s friend Elrond, who accommodates them for two weeks, within which time they are rejuvenated and ready for the journey ahead. Elrond proves helpful by translating the map that Thorin held and exposing to them secrets held within it that prove greatly useful later in their quest. This proves that foes can work in unison towards a common goal and that unnecessary enmity and antagonism often is an impediment to development.

The journeying party is directed by Elrond and Gandalf on the right path to the Misty Mountains and they encounter Goblins. The Goblins capture them and vow to kill them, accusing them of being spies, thieves and murderers. The swords the took from the trolls’ cave only makes their case worse as the

Goblins recognize them as having been used to kill them in large numbers in the past. Thorin’s sword, however, magically illuminates the Goblins’ cave and kills their leader. The dwarves and Bilbo are directed out of the cave by the voice of Gandalf, but the Goblins chase after them. Thorin and Gandalf turn around and kill several of them. Some Goblins sneak up on Dori, one of the dwarves who is carrying Bilbo at the time and cause him to fall, after which Bilbo hits his head on a rock and loses consciousness. This shows how one has to follow the advice of others to reach greater levels in life, as without such advice they would be lost. It also shows that all endeavors present challenges, some expected some unforeseen, and most which threaten to end the journey altogether. Perseverance helps one endure through these challenges, and sometimes some bit of luck.

Upon regaining consciousness, Bilbo finds himself alone in the cave and notices a ring close to where he lies, which he pockets absently. He is accustomed to living underground and so he starts exploring the cave. In the process, he encounters Gollum, an old looking small creature that lives in the cave alone and lives off eating Goblins and fish. Gollum, in trying to assess Bilbo, engages him in riddles, an area where Bilbo proves his equal. He decides to use his ring, which gives him invisibility powers, to be able to sneak on Bilbo better and perhaps eat him. He, however, discovers that his ring is missing and immediately, correctly, suspects Bilbo of having taken it. He asks him about it, and when

Bilbo proves unforthcoming, he charges him trying to struggle the ring from him. Bilbo, unaware of the ring’s power, slips it in his finger, believing that he will be able to protect it better from there. He becomes invisible and Gollum is unable to find him. Afraid that the Goblins will find him and kill him, he attempts to run out of the cave, in the process showing Bilbo his way out. Able to smell Bilbo, Gollum blocks his way but Bilbo escapes nonetheless. Bilbo has an opportunity to kill him as he is both armed and invisible, but he figures that it would be an unfair thing to do, so he spares him.

Bilbo has changed from the good natured hobbit and become one capable of and willing to do what he needs to do to survive in a cruel world. He finds himself in fight for survival, where losing to Gollum could prove fatal. When he discovers the powers of that the ring possess, he refuses to relinquish it to its owner, realizing that it may prove helpful later on in the journey. He uses his wit to find his way out of the cave, and although he finds himself at an advantageous position over his opponent, he refuses to use the unfair advantage to achieve an end that would have no direct positive impacts for him. Although stealing the ring from its owner may have been unethical, he refrained from engaging in an unethical act that would not have been beneficial. The journey has taught him, as life teaches every one of us, that at times one has to what’s best for their

interests to survive. He has, however, maintained a level of ethical and moral integrity that escapes most people in the course of life.

After his wanderings in the cave, Bilbo exits on the other side of the Misty Mountain. He joins the rest of the party and explains to them his encounter with the Gollum and how he spared his life but omits the story about the ring. The story gains him the dwarves’ respect. They proceed with the journey and enter into the land of the wolves, known as the Wargs, who desire to form a union with the Goblins to attack nearby villages. The dwarves, Bilbo and Gandalf rush into the forest and climb onto the trees to hide themselves from the Wargs and the Goblins. The two parties unite and set fire on the forest in a bid to flash the travelling party out. At the last minute, however, they are saved by the eagles that stoop down and fly them from their adversaries to safety. This shows how unlikely unions are formed based on a pursuit for common interests. The Wargs and the Goblins unite to attack nearby villages and fight a common enemy represented by the travelling party. However, often help comes from unexpected quarters as it did for the travelling party in the form of the eagles. They safe the party and offer them a place to spend the night. They explain that they cannot fly them further for fear of being shot at by the humans along the way.

Gandalf takes them to Beorn, otherwise known as the skin changer because of his ability to change into a bear. Beorn

seems unfriendly at first, but embraces the group more when he learns that they had killed Goblins on their journey. He has an enmity with the Goblins himself and this endears them to him. As a sign of courtesy and solidarity, he gives the group provisions and sends them on the right way to Mirkwood with clear instructions that they must not drink or bath in the enchanted stream of Mirkwood, to send back his ponies and not to deviate from the path. Gandalf accompanies them to the edge of Mirkwood and reminds them of Beorn’s instructions before leaving them to take care of a different business. Here, again, a common enemy unites the group and the skin changer.

Upon entering the dreadful Mirkwood Forest, they reach the river they had been warned about and acquire a boat which they ride to the other side. One of them, Bombur, falls into the river in the confusion that ensues as they try to kill a deer and falls into deep slumber. They use up all their arrows trying to kill the deer and fail to kill one. They continue their journey in hunger as they eat up the last of their food. Bilbo falls into deep slumber and is captured by a spider, which he ends up killing with his sword. He feels renewed courage and names his sword sting. He then puts on his invisibility ring and goes to look for his friends who he finds captured by the spiders that had captured him earlier. He frees them and tells them the secret of the magic ring. He then lures the spiders into a fight and

kills some and injures other in his new found courage.

Bilbo has developed new courage and become a leader in his own right. At this point of the journey, he no longer harbors thoughts of his serene comfortable life back home, but has fully embraced and committed to the course of the journey. He is now willing to take initiative and bail himself and his compatriots out of trouble. For the first time, he initiates a fight with the spiders and defeats them due to his new found confidence and belief in himself. He has changed from the timid being he was at the beginning of the journey to a more aggressive one willing to challenge opponents and put himself in the forefront in the defense of his friends and compatriots.

The dwarves are then captured by elves who take them to their king, the elven king, who in turn puts them in separate cells below the castle. Bilbo, who remains invisible from the ring, is not captured and he finds Thorin, who sends him with a message to the rest of the dwarves, deterring them from telling the king of their plans. He then devices an escape plan that involves getting the dwarves into barrels that are routinely sent through a river outside the castle. He uses his invisibility to steal keys from the prison guard who has fallen asleep drunk, and gets them into the barrels and perches on top of one outside of the castle. Bilbo has at this point taken it upon himself to ensure the success of the mission and this can be seen from the initiatives that he takes. With the

leader of the pack Thorin in prison, and with the rest of the dwarves also captured, Bilbo could have abandoned the course and went back home. He, however, decided to stay and even devised plans to free his them and ensure that the mission continued. He also exhibits great innovation as he devices a complex way to get himself and his friends out of a complex situation.

The boat that carries the barrels takes them to lake-town, a city inhabited by men. There they present Thorin to the king as the king of the dwarves who has come to reclaim the Silent Mountain from the dragon. The king of lake-town is in cordial terms with the elven king, but he still recognizes the legitimacy of Thorin, so he allows them to stay in the town for a couple of weeks and sends them on their journey with more provisions. They are rowed up the lake by townsmen for three days and are left near the Lonely Mountain. They walk through the Desolation of the Dragon, a wasteland just before the Lonely Mountain on their own and camp near the mountain where they find a secret door.

They try many means to open it and are unable to until Bilbo remembers Elrond’s tale about it only opening on the first Durin’s Day, which is the first day of which is the last day of Autumn. That’s when Thorin opens the door with the key given to him by Gandalf. He then encourages Bilbo to enter into the mountain, who obliges. He puts on his invisibility ring and goes into the mountain, showing great courage and earning the respect

of the dwarves. He encounters Smaug, the dragon, who cannot see him but can smell him. He is sleeping on a huge treasure of gold, gems, weapons and vessels. Bilbo steals a cup from the treasure pile and leaves join the dwarves outside.

The dragon awakens to find the cup missing and emerges from the mountain in rage to go seek the thief. Bilbo has at this point demonstrated his leadership abilities and the dwarves look up to him for guidance. He engages the dragon in a conversation about the treasure cave and the dwarves’ intention of taking it while seeking for his weak point. He discovers his weak point to be near his left breast and emerges to lead the dwarves into the safety of the tunnel as he fears that the dragon may attack long-town in a fit of rage.

As Smaug attacks Lake-town, Bilbo and the dwarves make it to the treasure-trove and make away with some of the treasure and run away in fear that he might come back and harm them. The dragon is however killed in the town and that danger is alleviated. However, a new anger looms as enemy armies form alliances and seem intent on attacking the dwarves for their new found treasure. Bilbo, in an effort to avert a conflict with the people of Lake-town steals the Arkenstone, the most valuable item in the treasure-trove, and takes it to Bard, the new leader of Lake-town who is responsible for killing Smaug. He hopes that this will enable for a parley between Thorin and Bard, as the former had refused to engage the former Bard in a peace process.

This only angers Thorin, however, and eventally the war cannot be evaded. The War of the Five Armies ensues, involving the dwarves, Bain and the 500 hundred dwarves the Goblins and the wolves, the people of Lake-town and the eagles that had rescued the dwarves earlier. Bilbo does not take part in the battle, however, as he is knocked unconscious at the beginning. When he wakes up he finds Thorin on his deathbed, having sustained a fatal wound in the battle. He eventually dies and is buried with his sword and the Arkenstone.

Bilbo has grown into and established his leadership qualities through the journey and the challenges that they encounter. He develops great courage and bravery, taking on challenges and emerging victorious, earning the respect of the dwarves. He also proves to be an upright ethical and moral standing, refusing to do be yond what needed to be done to defeat the enemy and achieve his goals. Towards the end, however, he is forced to take up a peacekeeping role in a bid to avert the imminent battle between the five armies. To achieve this end, he engages in a cunning act that leads to him falling out of favor with Thorin as it angers him. The war eventually happens and Thorin gets injured fatally, and Bilbo is not conscious to witness this. Eventually he returns home after a great adventure with greater wealth. He spends the remaining part of his life living in his hobbit hole, and enjoying the comfort and serenity of his home as he had been doing before the adventure. Occasionally he is visited by his friends.


  • Gale, Cengage Learning. A

Study Guide For J. R. R. Tolkien's ""The Hobbit"". Farmington Hills: Gale, Cengage Learning, 2016.

  • Olsen, Corey. Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012.
  • Tolkien, J. R. R. The Hobbit, Or, There And Back Again. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012.
  • Corey Olsen, Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012).
  • J. R. R Tolkien, The Hobbit, Or, There And Back Again (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012).
  • Tolkien 2012.
  • Olsen 2012
  • Cengage Learning Gale, A Study Guide For J. R. R. Tolkien's ""The Hobbit"" (Farmington Hills: Gale, Cengage Learning, 2016).
  • Get an explanation on any task
    Get unstuck with the help of our AI assistant in seconds