The Hobbit. Teacher Guide: ... Protagonist · Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit (See detailed
information throughout guide). Major Conflict · Bilbo's ..... Why didn't Bilbo find the
note which the dwarves had left for him until Gandalf appeared? 3. Give an ...
The Hobbit Teacher Guide:
Key Facts Full Title · The Hobbit, or There and Back Again Author · J. R. R. Tolkien Genre · Fantasy, heroic quest, satire, comic epic, children’s story Time and Place Written · Roughly between 1929 and 1936 in Oxford, England; since the story was first told orally to Tolkien’s children, there is some doubt as to the exact dates of its composition. Date of First Publication · 1937 Publisher · Houghton Mifflin Narrator · The anonymous narrator is playful and humorous. He tends to speak in a comic voice with frequent asides and humorous descriptions of the characters. Bilbo, for instance, is often called Mr. Baggins or “the poor little fellow.” Point of View · The novel is narrated in the third person, almost exclusively from Bilbo’s point of view. The narration is omniscient, which means that the narrator not only relates Bilbo’s thoughts and feelings but also comments on them. Tone · The narrator’s tone is light and casual, and he encourages his readers not to take his story too seriously by making frequent jokes at his characters’ expense. The narrator’s tone periodically becomes darker when the company faces great danger or defeat (as in the chapters taking place in Mirkwood), but for the most part, the story is brightly and warmly narrated. Tense · Past Setting (time) · The Third Age of Middle-Earth, 2941–2942 Settings (place) · Various locales in the imaginary world of Middle-Earth Protagonist · Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit (See detailed information throughout guide) Major Conflict · Bilbo’s timidity, complacency, and uncertainty work against his inner strength and heroism. As he travels and embarks on adventures, he must gradually learn to rely on his own abilities and to take the initiative to do what he feels is right. Rising Action · Gandalf visits Bilbo and orders him to act as the burglar for the dwarves’ expedition to regain Thorin’s treasure from Smaug. Bilbo reluctantly departs, and with each increasingly difficult adventure, he accepts more responsibility for the welfare of the group.
Climax · After Bilbo kills a spider in Chapter 8, he finally has enough confidence in his own abilities as a leader and hero. The Battle of the Five Armies in Chapter 17 is the climax of the expedition. Falling Action · Bilbo and Gandalf begin the journey home after regaining the treasure, resolving the differences between the dwarves, elves, and men, and defeating the Wargs and goblins. They first spend time with Beorn, then sojourn in Rivendell before returning to Hobbiton. Bilbo has a newfound appreciation for the comforts of his dwelling, but he recognizes that his view of society and his surroundings has undergone profound change. Themes · Bilbo’s heroism; race, lineage, and character Motifs · Contrasting worldviews, the nature and geography of Middle-Earth Foreshadowing · The description of Bilbo’s Took blood; Gandalf’s insistence that there is more to Bilbo than meets the eye; Gollum’s addresses to his mysterious “precious”; Beorn’s warnings not to leave the path in Mirkwood; the thrush’s interest in Bilbo’s description of Smaug’s weakness
Plot Overview/Summary Bilbo Baggins lives a quiet, peaceful life in his comfortable hole at Bag End. Bilbo lives in a hole because he is a hobbit—one of a race of small, plump people about half the size of humans, with furry toes and a great love of good food and drink. Bilbo is quite content at Bag End, near the bustling hobbit village of Hobbiton, but one day his comfort is shattered by the arrival of the old wizard Gandalf, who persuades Bilbo to set out on an adventure with a group of thirteen militant dwarves. The dwarves are embarking on a great quest to reclaim their treasure from the marauding dragon Smaug, and Bilbo is to act as their “burglar.” The dwarves are very skeptical about Gandalf’s choice for a burglar, and Bilbo is terrified to leave his comfortable life to seek adventure. But Gandalf assures both Bilbo and the dwarves that there is more to the little hobbit than meets the eye. Shortly after the group sets out, three hungry trolls capture all of them except for Gandalf. Gandalf tricks the trolls into remaining outside when the sun comes up, and the sunlight turns the nocturnal trolls to stone. The group finds a great cache of weapons in the trolls’ camp. Gandalf and the dwarf lord Thorin take magic swords, and Bilbo takes a small sword of his own. The group rests at the elfish stronghold of Rivendell, where they receive advice from the great elf lord Elrond, then sets out to cross the Misty Mountains. When they find shelter in a cave during a snowstorm, a group of goblins who live in the caverns beneath the mountain take them prisoner. Gandalf leads the dwarves to a passage out of the mountain, but they accidentally leave behind Bilbo. Wandering through the tunnels, Bilbo finds a strange golden ring lying on the ground. He takes the ring and puts it in his pocket. Soon he encounters Gollum, a hissing, whining creature who
lives in a pool in the caverns and hunts fish and goblins. Gollum wants to eat Bilbo, and the two have a contest of riddles to determine Bilbo’s fate. Bilbo wins by asking the dubious riddle, “What have I got in my pocket?” Gollum wants to eat Bilbo anyway, and he disappears to fetch his magic ring, which turns its wearer invisible. The ring, however, is the same one Bilbo has already found, and Bilbo uses it to escape from Gollum and flee the goblins. He finds a tunnel leading up out of the mountain and discovers that the dwarves and Gandalf have already escaped. Evil wolves known as Wargs pursue them, but Bilbo and his comrades are helped to safety by a group of great eagles and by Beorn, a creature who can change shape from a man into a bear. The company enters the dark forest of Mirkwood, and, making matters worse, Gandalf abandons them to see to some other urgent business. In the forest, the dwarves are caught in the webs of some giant spiders, and Bilbo must rescue them with his sword and magic ring. After slaying his first spider, Bilbo names his sword Sting. Shortly after escaping the spiders, the unlucky dwarves are captured by a group of wood elves who live near the river that runs through Mirkwood. Bilbo uses his ring to help the company escape and slips the dwarves away from the elves by hiding them inside barrels, which he then floats down the river. The dwarves arrive at Lake Town, a human settlement near the Lonely Mountain, under which the great dragon sleeps with Thorin’s treasure. After sneaking into the mountain, Bilbo talks to the sly dragon Smaug, who unwittingly reveals that his armorlike scales have a weak spot near his heart. When Bilbo steals a golden cup from the dragon’s hoard, Smaug is furious and flies out of the mountain to burn Lake Town in his rage. Bard, a heroic archer, has learned the secret about Smaug’s weakness from a thrush, and he fires an arrow into the dragon’s heart, killing him. Before Smaug dies, however, he burns Lake Town to the ground. The humans of Lake Town and the elves of Mirkwood march to the Lonely Mountain to seek a share of the treasure as compensation for their losses and aid, but Thorin greedily refuses, and the humans and elves besiege the mountain, trapping the dwarves and the hobbit inside. Bilbo sneaks out to join the humans in an attempt to bring peace. When Thorin learns what Bilbo has done, he is livid, but Gandalf suddenly reappears and saves Bilbo from the dwarf lord’s wrath. At this moment, an army of goblins and Wargs marches on the mountain, and the humans, elves, and dwarves are forced to band together to defeat them. The goblins nearly win, but the arrival of Beorn and the eagles helps the good armies win the battle. After the battle, Bilbo and Gandalf return to Hobbiton, where Bilbo continues to live. He is no longer accepted by respectable hobbit society, but he does not care. Bilbo now prefers to talk to elves and wizards, and he is deeply content to be back among the familiar comforts of home after his grand and harrowing adventures.
Themes to Address: Major Themes The Hobbit is notable in that it possesses three main Themes that parallel each other. The most easily observed theme is the age-old battle between good and evil. This theme is highlighted in the episodes where Gandalf, the dwarves, and Bilbo fight against the trolls, goblins, and other enemies. The conflict comes to a finale with the Battle of Five Armies, where good wins and evil is defeated.
Secondary Themes A secondary theme is that of the effects of greed and the corrupting power of wealth. This is seen in the reactions of various characters in the book to treasure, especially the dwarves, whose goldlust almost destroys them.
Final Theme A final theme is that of the quest. This theme has two strands. The first is the rather straightforward, though still problematic, quest of the dwarves to regain their stolen treasure. The second is the quest of Bilbo Baggins to discover himself and grow into a heroic figure. His journey of self-discovery and growth makes The Hobbit far more than a mere adventure story.
Other Themes to address: Fairy Tales, Vivid Setting Description, Riddles, Quests, Character Development (Changing Character Traits throughout the Novel), Heroism, Struggle between Good and Evil, Courage
Setting Detailed Explanantion The Hobbit is set in "Middle-earth," a fantasyland created by Tolkien. Within Middle-earth, The Hobbit is restricted to settings in the Western lands. It starts and ends in Hobbiton, a town in the Shire, a peaceful region usually untouched 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. The culture and climate of Middle-earth is akin to that of Europe in the Middle Ages, but presupposes a time much older, when magic was still a powerful force, and elves, dwarves, and other races shared the world with humans. The geography of Middle-earth, however, is not that of earth as it is now known, and regions and landmarks in The Hobbit have no familiar parallels. (Tolkien said elsewhere that it may be that the shape of the land has since changed.) Middle-earth is, therefore, a world both vaguely familiar and altogether strange.
LIST OF CHARACTERS Major Characters Bilbo Baggins An ordinary hobbit. Hobbits are small, human-like creatures, fond of food and comfort, and not normally inclined to adventures; therefore, Bilbo is an unlikely and unusual protagonist. His quiet existence changes one day when he sets out on an adventure, hired by a party of dwarves to act as a burglar and help them recover a treasure. Through a series of unexpected and sometimes unpleasant encounters, Bilbo learns much about himself; he discovers, for example, that he is capable of being brave and resourceful in a crisis. Much of The Hobbit focuses on Bilbo's development into a hero. Gandalf A good wizard. He is not as central a character in The Hobbit as in The Lord of the Rings, to which The Hobbit serves as a prequel. Still, Gandalf plays a major role in the book. He organizes the expedition of the dwarves and Bilbo and accompanies them in the initial stages of the book. Later, he helps in bringing the adventure to an end. Though wise and powerful, Gandalf uses his powers only when necessary, preferring to let Bilbo and the dwarves accomplish and learn as much as possible on their own. Thorin Oakenshield The chief of the dwarves in Bilbo's party. His grandfather was the last King under the Mountain, before the kingdom was devastated by Smaug the dragon. Thorin's hope to regain some of the vast treasure stolen by Smaug is the impetus for the adventure. Upon gaining possession of the mountain, Thorin becomes obsessed with the vast wealth in his possession, and his greed and lust for power nearly leads to disaster.
Minor Characters The Good Characters The Group of Dwarves The twelve dwarves who accompany Thorin and Bilbo. Their names are Fili, Kili, Dwalin, Balin, Oin, Gloin, Ori, Dori, Nori, Bifur, Bofur, and Bombur. Fili and Kili are the youngest and Bombur the fattest, but for the most part the individual characteristics of the various dwarves are not drawn out. In general, however, dwarves are short and stocky, expert miners and craftsmen, and very fond of gold. Though good and inclined to be fair, they can succumb to greed; Thorin's dwarves are no exception.
Elrond of Rivendel An elf-lord. He lives in the Last Homely House, west of the Misty Mountains, and hosts the dwarves and Bilbo near the start of their adventure. Beorn, the skin-changer A huge man who can change himself into a bear. He lives with cattle and horses that are his friends. He hosts the party near the start of their adventure and helps win the Battle of Five Armies. The Wood-elves Though not as wise as other elves and quite mischievous, as all elves are, the wood-elves are essentially good. They are led by the Elvenking, who is greedy and mistrustful of strangers, but helpful to his friends. The Wood-elves imprison the dwarves, but later fight by their side in the Battle of Five Armies. Bard Captain of the archers in Lake-town and a descendant of the last ruler of Dale. Bard kills Smaug and becomes the leader of those who resettle the old town of Dale after Smaug's death. The Eagles Enemies of the goblins and the wild wolves. They rescue Bilbo and his companions and also participate in the final battle. Dain Thorin's kinsman and leader of the dwarves of the Iron Hills. Dain comes to the aid of Thorin with a vast army of dwarves. After Thorin's death, he is crowned King under the Mountain and rules wisely.
The Evil Characters The Trolls Large, ugly, violent, not-too-bright creatures. In their first adventure, Bilbo and the dwarves run into three of them. The trolls try to eat the company but are outwitted by Gandalf, who sets them to arguing until dawn, when they are turned to stone. The Spiders of Mirkwood Enormous, carnivorous spiders with the power of speech. These spiders catch Bilbo and the dwarves, hoping to make a meal of them, but are defeated through Bilbo's cleverness and bravery. The Goblins Nasty creatures who live underground and though skilled in the mechanical arts, have no appreciation for beauty. The dwarves and Bilbo are caught by the goblins under the Misty Mountains and manage a narrow escape, in which the Great Goblin is killed. Another faction of the goblins comes to wage war against them towards the end of the book. The Wolves Wild wolves called Wargs. They are in league with the goblins. They help in capturing Bilbo and his companions. They, too, take part in the final battle. Gollum A half-blind, slimy creature of unknown origin. Gollum lives by a lake in a cave in the Misty Mountains, near the goblins' stronghold. Bilbo finds a magic ring that he owns, plays a riddle game with him, and cleverly escapes from him with the aid of the ring. Smaug A dragon. Smaug destroyed both the kingdom of Thorin's ancestors under the Lonely Mountain and the nearby, human town of Dale. Having taken over the Lonely Mountain, Smaug jealously guards his stolen treasure. Smaug casts his shadow over the tale right from the very beginning, when the quest is arranged, until the end, when the treasure is distributed amongst the various claimants after his death. Though powerful and intelligent, Smaug is corrupted by greed. The Master of Lake-town While not wholly evil, he is a corrupt and duplicitous leader, concerned more with power than with justice. Under public pressure, he assists Bilbo and the dwarves. He eventually runs off with money meant for the rebuilding of the town and dies in the wilderness.
Introduction Questions / Activities
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.
Examine the map at the beginning of the book and discuss with your classmates. What are runes? Decipher the rune characters on the top of the first page. Decipher the message on the map located under the pointing hand. Explain the difference between a goblin and a hobgoblin. Construct a chart with the rune characters and the English translations. Translate the last message found in the introduction.
Enrichment: Research how messages are encrypted and deciphered. Invent your own code for sending secret messages and see if any of your classmates can break the code.
Chapter Summaries, Discussion Questions, Vocabulary, and Extension Activities Chapter 1: An Unexpected Party (Description of the “Hill” - focus on Setting) Bilbo Baggins is a peaceful and domestic hobbit who enjoys living in his cozy hole in The Hill. His life is quite wonderful by hobbits' standards, which is to say, there is no excitement and there are plenty of meals each day. Bilbo is the only son of Belladonna Took and the Tooks are a wealthy family but Belladonna and a few of the others had adventurous streaks and they were not nearly as respectable as the Bagginses. In this story, Bilbo is going to lose his respectability on a rather wild adventure. One of Belladonna's old friends is a wizard by the name of Gandalf and though he has no official business in Hobbiton (the place where Hobbits live), Gandalf makes an appearance at Bilbo's house. The two really don't get on well at the beginning, as Gandalf is a stranger and strangers are adventurous and not very respectable. When Gandalf reveals his identity, Bilbo is politer and goes as far as to invite Gandalf to tea in a few days. Bilbo has a memory of Gandalf setting fireworks and it does seem that his off-handed treatment of the wizard is pardonable. Gandalf is always plotting something and he usually knows more than those around him know. Bilbo plans to have tea with Gandalf on Wednesday but Gandalf transforms the tea into an organizational meeting for an adventure in which Bilbo is to play the central role as a professional thief. Of course, Bilbo is not interested in this and he has no experience, but Gandalf has brought twelve dwarves to the tea and the company disregard's Bilbo's protests. They also do a good job of eating all of the food in the hobbit's house. The adventure surrounds an old dwarf-map that depicts a mountain, in which a dragon named Smaug lives. Smaug has stolen hordes of treasure and these hordes must be reclaimed. It is up to Bilbo Baggins to find a way to sneak into the mountain. Of course, there is an incredibly dangerous terrain separating Hobbiton from Smaug's mountain and this is most of the challenge. The head of the assembled dwarves is Thorin and he is eager to reclaim the lost glories of his race. When Bilbo finally heads to bed, he is not at all pleased with the formidable challenge that stands before him.
Questions/Extension Activities 1. Describe what is discovered about Bilbo Baggins. Discuss the appearance of the hobbits and what you learned about the hobbit homes. 2. Make an analysis of the character Gandalf? 3. Why do the dwarves gather at Bilbo Baggins' house? Explain how the dwarves lose their treasure and kingdom. 4. Describe Bilbo Baggins reaction to the plan of the dwarves. Infer as to why Bilbo reacts in this manner. Provide textual evidence to support your answer. 5. What changed Bilbo's mind about the adventure? 6. Explain the dwarfs’ apprehension in Gandalf's choice.
Vocabulary scuttled, throng, depredation, haughty, flummoxed, audacious, remuneration, necromancer conspirator, obstinately, reverence
Enrichment Characterization--Characters are developed by their traits, what they say, think, and do, and how others in the novel react to them. In this chapter, what do we learn about Bilbo Baggins? Begin an attribute web for him. Setting –Describe the appearance (how they look) of hobbits and their homes in general. Then specifically, describe Bilbo Baggins' home. Who built it and why is it and he special? Characterization–Describe the kind of character Gandalf is? What do we learn about him in chapter 1? Characterization-- What did you learn about Bilbo Baggins' character specifically when the dwarves entered his home? Make a complete list of the characters introduced in chapter one including their personalities when possible. Working in small groups write the names on chart paper and then discuss with the class.
Chapter 2: Roast Mutton When Bilbo wakes up late in the morning, his guests have already departed. He thinks that he has escaped the adventure, but Gandalf enters the scene and explains the dwarves have left a note for Bilbo and they are waiting for him at the Green Dragon Inn. Bilbo is forced to rush to the Green Dragon and he arrives at exactly 11 AM, the appointed hour. He has not had time to collect the things he would bring with him, but there is no time for him to turn around. The company travels into a region called the Lone-lands and it is not long before Bilbo has traveled far beyond his previous limits. He already wishes that he was at home, warming himself by the fire and drinking tea and the torrential downpour is not helping his mood. The group is not as organized as they should be; they only notice Gandalf's absence well after he has departed and they cannot start a fire to cook dinner on account of the rain and wet. The two youngest dwarves, Fili and Kili, are nearly drowned when one of the ponies is frightened and nearly loses himself in the river. They spot a light in the distance and since Bilbo is the burglar of the group it is his job to go and investigate the scene. Arriving at the fire, Bilbo discovers three trolls who are roasting mutton on spits. They are, of course, significantly larger than Bilbo and summoning his nerves, Bilbo decides to live up to his profession by pick-pocketing. Bilbo reaches for the troll's purse but the bag squeaks: "Ere, oo are you?" and of course, the troll seizes Bilbo. The three trolls, Bert, William and Tom are discussing exactly what a hobbit is and whether Bilbo is worth eating and if so, how should he be prepared? The trolls argue over Bilbo's fate and when they are physically engaged with one another, Bilbo escapes though not without bruises. Unfortunately, the scene does not end here because the dwarves grew impatient while waiting for Bilbo and, hearing the trolls' noises, decided to approach the fire. Trolls hate the sight of dwarves and the appearance of Balin sets Tom and the other trolls on a rampage. It is not long before all twelve of the dwarves are held in sacks and the trolls are contemplating another dinner. Gandalf rescues the dwarves with an invisible appearance. He periodically interrupts the trolls' conversation, saying false statements in voices that resemble the trolls' voices. Bert, William and Tom each conclude that the other two are lying and/or mad and of course, they engage in more physical brutality, whacking each other in the head and arguing until dawn is suddenly upon them and they turn into rocks. Gandalf is pleased with his performance and he releases the dwarves. Bilbo had stolen a key that fell from one of the troll's pockets and the group is able to find the trolls' lair and make good use of their provisions.
Questions/Extension Activities 1. Explain how Bilbo’s feeling about the adventure was a contrast to the day before. 2. Why didn't Bilbo find the note which the dwarves had left for him until Gandalf appeared? 3. Give an explanation as to why the wizard disappeared. 4. Discuss the troubles of the first night and the adventure with the trolls.
5. Determine and explain if Bilbo proved to be a good burglar in his attempt to pick the pocket of the troll. Provide evidence from the text that supports your answer. 6. What kind of characters are the trolls? Explain how Bilbo knew they were trolls. 7. Describe the fight and wizard's reappearance.
Vocabulary trifle, fluster, defrayed, repose, purloined, incantations, scabbard, waylaid
Enrichment “Fantasy” is a work of fiction, which does not represent the known world. List two characteristics of the world Tolkien creates in The Hobbit that qualify this novel as a fantasy. Do some research on trolls, dwarves, and wizards. Pretend you are either a dwarf or a troll and write a letter to J.R.R. Tolkien commenting on his novel, The Hobbit.
Chapter 3: A Short Rest The dwarves are not singing; they are glad to be alive and also, the respite from the rain is an improvement on the previous situation. Still, they are not singing because danger seems (and is) omnipresent in these parts. Bilbo and the dwarves ford a river and take their ponies onto a path from which they can see mountains in the distance. Gandalf leads the way and warns strict adherence to the road. They are heading for the residence of Elrond which is called the "Last Homely House" in the "fair valley of Rivendell." This House is the last one west of the Mountains. There is a good deal of traveling over ravines and through bogs before the travelers make their way into the "secret valley of Rivendell" and their spirits immediately begin to rise. Bilbo smells elves and it is not long before the sounds of the elves' songs are emanating through the scene. The tired journeyers are only too happy to get some rest, though there is a history of unpleasantness between the dwarves and the elves that must be intentionally disregarded. Inside Elrond's house, Bilbo is able to fatten himself on cakes and as long as the group stayed, Bilbo would have been happy to remain a little longer. Elrond is an old soul who has elves and "heroes of the North" as ancestors and he offers a good amount of insight regarding the quest. The group is to leave with "the early sun on midsummer morning" and when they are to leave, Elrond offers them swords of protection. One is called Orcrist, the Goblin-cleaver and another is called Glamdring, Foehammer. They are presented to Thorin and Gandalf, respectively. Looking at the map in the moonlight, Elrond is able to read moon-letters, distinct from the runes printed on the map. These words specify that the secret entrance to the Mountain can be unlocked on Durin's Day, which is the first day of the dwarves' New Year at the crux between Autumn and Winter. The travelers are well-rested when they leave but they fear that their timing, by the calendar, is horribly unlucky.
Questions/Extension Activities 1. Explain why Rivendell was so difficult to locate. 2. Analyze the character of Elrond and his importance to the story. What did Bilbo and the dwarves learn? 4. Describe the moon-letters. What significance do they hold? 5. Elrond read the map for Gandalf and Thorin. Do you feel the message will be of any value?
Vocabulary forded, reeking, bannocks, parapet, palpitating, venerable, vexed, cunning
Enrichment Find an example of personification and an example of foreshadowing in this chapter.
Chapter 4: Over Hill and Under Hill Elrond and Gandalf help Bilbo and the dwarves navigate their way into the mountains and this is difficult because there are many deceitful routes and paths that only end in destruction. Especially during the cold nights when there is pitch-black silence, Bilbo remembers his hobbithole and he thinks about the activities that are in progress. The "high hope of a midsummer morning" drops and sinks as the group travels on the incline, higher and higher. Eventually the younger members of the group are sent to find a cave where the group can sleep for the evening. As everyone is sleeping inside of the cave, Bilbo is unable to sleep because of a nightmare that becomes reality: the cave is occupied by goblins and Bilbo's yell is able to alert Gandalf, who disappears. Bilbo and the dwarves are captured, though, They are carried "down, down to Goblin-town" and the sounds are unpleasant. They are taken to a big fire-lit cavern and the Great Goblin demands to know their business. The dwarves are suspected as spies and allies of the elves. Great Goblin wants to know what brought the dwarves to his territory and Thorin explains that they are going to see relatives on the East side of the mountains. Other goblins say that a bolt of lightning struck some of their comrades and Thorin's sword is also indicative of his antiGoblin intentions. The sword is called Orcrist, Goblin-cleaver, but the Goblins call it Biter. Great Goblin rushes towards Thorin but the lights go out and white sparks begin to burst, burning holes in the goblins. A sword flashes and kills the Great Goblin, and then a voice says "follow me quick." Bilbo and the others follow Gandalf but he Goblins are in close pursuit and Dori is grabbed from behind. Bilbo falls into blackness, bumps his head on a hard rock and remembers nothing more.
Questions/Extension Activities 1. Describe how this part of the journey was apt to be very dangerous. 2. How was the storm different from storms you may have been in? 3. Explain why Fili and Kili go to look for better shelter. Why did the wizard ask them if they had thoroughly searched the cave? 4. Determine why it was a good thing that Bilbo was with the adventurers the night of the storm. 5. The goblins captured Bilbo and the dwarves but Gandalf escaped. Explain, why wasn't he captured? 6. Describe the ways the goblins treat their captives. Explain what you have learned about the goblins. 7. Explain the Great Goblins reaction when he discovered the sword. 8. Describe what you think happened to make Bilbo and the dwarves' escape possible. Explain what part "Biter and Beater" played in the escape. 9. Explain what made it possible for the goblins to sneak up on the dwarves again. Describe what happened to the hobbit this time.
Vocabulary astray, guffaw(ing), yammer(ing), ingenious, hordes, scurrying, shirk
Enrichment Tolkien has the trolls speaking with a Cockney accent. Research Cockney Rhyming Slang and give some examples. Discuss why rhyming slang was used and invent some of your own rhyming slang.
Chapter Five: Riddles in the Dark Bilbo is alone and on all fours, groping along "till suddenly his hand met what felt like a tiny ring of cold metal lying on the floor of the tunnel. It was a turning point in his career, but he did not know it. He put the ring in his pocket almost without thinking..." He looks for his pipe and tobacco, finds them, but cannot find matches. Bilbo remembers that he has the "elvish dagger" from the trolls and its pale dim light tells him that he is well removed from the goblins' presence though not comfortably removed. The tunnel seems endlessly descending and the hobbit continues until he splashes a foot into an underground lake. He recedes to the shore and waits. A creature named Gollum hisses, announcing his presence, and Gollum begins a conversation with Bilbo. Soon, they are both in a riddle contest where Bilbo's loss makes Gollum's dinner and Bilbo's victory procures Gollum's assistance in navigation and exit. Gollum has trouble with the riddles that require knowledge of the outside world, for he has lived in this low, dark, dank recess within a cave for quite some time. Though he is losing the game, Gollum's confidence reveals itself in the fact of his boiling a pot to cook Bilbo whatever Bilbo is exactly. In the end, Gollum correctly answers a very tough riddle and he assumes this to be his victory-in-hand. Bilbo wins in the end, however. Gollum becomes belligerent and refuses to keep his promise. Instead, Gollum goes to his trunk and begins searching for something that he soon realizes is lost. He has lost the "ring" (a birthday-present) and quickly concludes that Bilbo has it. Gollum moves to block Bilbo's departure, but Bilbo has learned from Gollum's wails that the ring makes its bearer invisible. Bilbo eventually (though narrowly) escapes Gollum and exits the Goblins' cave, invisible to the end.
Questions/Extension Activities 1. Analyze the author's view, "I should not have liked to have been in Mr. Baggins' place." Explain what he meant. How would you have felt in the hobbit's place -- lost in the dark, and trotting into ice cold water? 2. Explain how Bilbo knew his sword was made by elves. 3. Evaluate why it was good that Bilbo lost his matches. Provide textual evidence. 4. Based on the text, what inference can be made about the character of Gollum? Compare and contrast the characters of Gollum and Bilbo. 5. Make an evaluation if you believe the riddles are difficult. Are they good riddles? Why or why not? 6. After losing the riddle game, explain how Gollum paid his debt. What skills does Bilbo demonstrate in dealing with Gollum? 7. Describe how Gollum reacts when he couldn't find the ring. What was he afraid of? How did Gollum guess that Bilbo had the ring? 8. Explain how Bilbo discovers his way out of the cave. 9. Why do you believe Bilbo did not kill Gollum when he had the chance?
Vocabulary groped, subterranean, throttled, wits, antiquity, smote, ventured, scrumptious
Enrichment Research Riddles, try to find a simple riddle that could stump your classmates or teacher.
Chapter Six: Out of the Frying-Pan into the Fire Bilbo has escaped the goblins but he is still lost and has no clue where he is. He sees that he is on the east side of the mountains, at the edge of the Land Beyond. Bilbo fears that his friends are lost and he thinks of returning to find them. Fortunately, he finds the group and surprises them with his presence he is able to sneak upon them wearing the ring. He tells the story of Gollum though he neglects mentioning the ring. Inside of the Goblin tunnels, the group has lost track of several days and though they are disoriented, they must continue forward. After all, the goblins are intent upon avenging the death of Great Goblin. Gandalf urges the group ahead and they encounter a pack of wolves. They can climb up a few nearby trees but they are surrounded. The wolves and goblins are allies and as it turns out, the wolves are waiting in this forest-glade because they have planned a joint-attack with the goblins. Of course, the wolves cannot carry out their attack on the town because the goblins have not shown up at the appointed hour and this is because they are mourning their leader and looking for the dwarves. Gandalf knows that he must do something and so he starts a fire in the midst of the wolves, attracting the attention of the Lord of the Eagles. Goblins arrive on the scene to mock the pained wolves and in a clever move, they burn fires around the trees in order to trap the dwarves. The Lord of the Eagles arrives and carries Gandalf away, just in time, and other birds come and save the dwarves and Bilbo. And so, the chapter ends with Bilbo lodged in a safe place, sleeping soundly.
Questions/Extension Activities 1. Bilbo overhears his friends talking; explain how the wizard feels about Bilbo. 3. Determine why you think Bilbo did not tell his friends about the magic ring. 4. Explain why the dwarves, having a wizard with them get into trouble with the goblins. Didn't the wizard know about the goblins? 5. Evaluate what the wizard thought about the rock slide that carried them down the mountain. 6. "Escaping goblins to be caught by wolves," said the hobbit. How does this explain the chapter title? 7. Provide a detailed explanation as to how the party managed to escape the Wargs, the evil wolves. Explain how Bilbo felt about Gandalf's rescue?
Vocabulary abominable, benighted, trudged, glade, clambered, uncanny, tumult, precipice
Enrichment Create your own character for The Hobbit and discuss how you would introduce them to the novel.
Chapter Seven: Queer Lodgings Bilbo wakes early and the group soon departs, riding the eagles' backs to the other side of the Misty Mountains. Bilbo is a little uncomfortable, especially when the eagles begin to spiral in downward sweeps. Though he does not know where he is headed, Bilbo is glad to be deposited somewhere. Gandalf reestablishes his friendship with the Lord of the Eagles and the birds depart. A friend of Gandalf lives nearby and Gandalf intends to procure his assistance. Since this character is a recluse though, he cannot bring all of his company in at once. A ruse is designed to assure their slow but steady entrance into the great wooden house. With a bit of truth-bending and a good amount of suspense, Gandalf is able to keep his friend, a giant/bear named Beorn, amused enough to admit the company of all of the dwarves. His wooden house is very comfortable and safe, and the travelers spend a few days in Beorn's protection. Later in the night, the dwarves are in raised spirits to such an extent, that they are able to sing. During the day, Beorn leaves the house and verifies Gandalf's story in regards to the wolves and goblins. He is now, of course, more eager to assist them. He adds to their diminished store of supplies and helps them along the road, warning them not to stray off of the path. Soon after his departure, Gandalf returns to his own business, leaving the group with another admonition "DON'T LEAVE THE PATH!" Bilbo and the dwarves are back inside the forest.
Questions/Extension Activities 1. Summarize 4 major details that you learned about Beorn. 2. Explain where Beorn went the night that the adventurers were with him. Why? 3. Make a summarization of Beorn’s advice for the journey. 4. Determine the most important advice that Beorn and Gandalf gave the adventurers about Mirkwood. Explain why you feel this is the most important. Provide evidence from the text. 5. Make an analysis of the reason why Gandalf left the adventurers. Make an inference if it was of much comfort to the dwarves to have the hobbit help them instead of having the wizard with them. Provide evidence from the text.
Vocabulary droning, pinnacles, plight, thatched, glowered, perils, gnarled, veranda
Enrichment Give examples as to how Gandalf is able to manipulate various characters in the novel.
Chapter Eight: Flies and Spiders Bilbo and the dwarves begin marching in single file and the forest becomes a gloomy tunnel because the tops of the trees meet and make a sun-shielding canopy. It is hard to sleep because there are myriad animals on both sides of the road. The provisions of food are diminishing and eventually this is what sparks the move to stray from the prescribed road. There is a small brook to be forded and Bilbo proves efficient here. Unfortunately, Bombur, one of the awkward dwarves falls into the water and this water is poisoned. Bombur is recovered but he remains in a stupor for the duration of the chapter. It seems that there is a fire not far off the side of the road maybe there is food there? Alas, this is a mirage that occurs several times until finally, the group is separated and lost. It seems to be some magic at work. Bilbo is alone in the dark and after trying to find his friends, he gives up and goes to sleep. He is arrested in his sleep, attacked by a giant spider that was trying to poison him. Bilbo kills it with his sword and then he, himself, falls down and passes out. When he wakes up he finds his friends swaddled in spider net, suspended from tree branches and guarded by a troop of spiders. Bilbo's invisibility and sword help to get some of the dwarves free. Things improve when Gandalf returns to offer assistance, but in the end, Thorin is missing and he must be rescued from the king of the wood-elves.
Questions/Extension Activities 1. Describe
what there was about the forest to fear. 2. After reading the Chapter, in your opinion, was the Mirkwood evil? Interpret what is meant by “evil." 3. Describe 4 dangers of the enchanted river. Summarize how the hobbit was helpful in crossing the river. 4. Make an analysis as to why the dwarves and Bilbo disregard Beorn’s warning and strayed from the path. 5. After Gandalf left, who became the leader of the expedition? Infer if this was a positive or negative for the group. 6. As the adventurers ran into the camp, explain why the elvish-looking fold disappeared. 7. Give an explanation as to how Bilbo became separated from the dwarves. Describe how Bilbo managed to escape the giant spiders. Was Bilbo of any help to the dwarves? 8. Give a description of each heroic act Bilbo performed. 9. After keeping the ring a secret from the rest, explain why Bilbo finally decides to divulge to the dwarves about the magic ring. Why do you think he hesitated to tell the dwarves about the ring? 10. Why was Thorin captured by the Wood-elves?
Vocabulary lichen, bulbous, taut, blundering, lamented, stealthily
Enrichment Pretend you are one of the characters in the novel and allow yourself to be interviewed by your classmates.
Chapter Nine: Barrels Out of Bond Bilbo and the dwarves are still near starving, though they are happy to be alive. They search for food but they are apprehended by a large group of wood-elves. Bilbo slips away and makes himself invisible but the dwarves are blindfolded and led towards the fort of the Elvenking. Bilbo follows behind them as best he can and when the dwarves are made prisoners by the suspicious king, Bilbo realizes that he must do something. The dwarves have separate cells and they are able to eat but Bilbo is still alone, invisible and hungry. He learns a bit about the region by sneaking in and out with differing cargo but as much as he wants to get a message to Gandalf, he knows he will have to save the group on his own. Bilbo visits Thorin and raises his spirits of course, Thorin is shocked to hear Bilbo's voice. Bilbo is able to send messages from Thorin to the other dwarves and they agree not to mention their original mission to the Elvenking, as he will want a hefty share of the treasure. During a night of festivity, Bilbo saves his group by stealing the keys of the drunk jailer, unlocking the cells of the dwarves and helping them fit in a flotilla of empty wine barrels that are being floated downstream. Bilbo has some difficulties but he manages to stay afloat, clinging to the side of a barrel. In the meantime, he hopes that his friends are not drowning in their heavy casks. But at least they are out of the castle-fort and will soon drift onto the banks of Lake-Town.
Questions/Extension Activities 1. Explain why the Wood-elves captured the dwarves, but failed to capture Bilbo. 2. Describe how Mr. Baggins got in and out of the closely guarded palace. 3. Provide an explanation for the necessity for Bilbo to continue burgling. 4. Make an analysis as to why Thorin and the dwarves did not tell the king why they were in the wood. 5. Give a detailed description of how Bilbo planned to help his friends escape. How did Bilbo escape? 6. Make an analysis of the importance of magic ring to Bilbo in this part of his adventure?
Vocabulary haste, surly, nimble, plight, portcullis, flagons, adjoining
Enrichment Write a short script of a conversation between two of the main characters; for example, Bilbo and Thorin and act it out in front of your classmates.
Chapter Ten: A Warm Welcome Bilbo is still separated from his compatriots and he has the task of separating their barrels from the rest of the group. As they approach Laketown, Bilbo is sure to listen to the different woodelves and lake-men that he remains hidden from. But for a long while, all Bilbo can do is wait for the seemingly endless river to take its course and bring him and his cargo to a place where he might safely bring them to shore. When Bilbo is able to do this, he finds the barreled dwarves in poor condition but at least they are alive, and very grateful to Bilbo for his services. The Master of this region is familiar with the prophecy that foretells the reclamation of Smaug's horde of stolen treasure. Accordingly, Thorin is heralded and celebrated as a hero, for he is the descendant of Thror, King under the Mountain. The Master permits several days of celebration, offers aid and is happy when the group leaves he is rather sure that they are going to fail on their mission: Smaug is dangerous. When they leave, the dwarves and Bilbo now take the watery course, replenished and more confident than before. Bilbo is "the only person thoroughly unhappy."
Questions/Extension Activities 1. Give a description of how the dwarves survived the escape and the trip in the barrels. Explain why it was so important that Bilbo not be in a barrel. 2. When the dwarves reached Lake-town, describe how they were received by the Lake People. 3. Analyze the attitude of the dwarves toward Bilbo. Be sure to cite specific information from the text. 4. Explain Bilbo’s unhappiness at this point of the journey. 5. Make an analysis of how you believe the elf-king learned the reason for the dwarves’ adventure. Provide textual evidence to support your answer. 6. Why do you think the Master believed Thorin was a fraud? Explain what changed his mind. 7. Why was the Master not sorry to see them go?
Vocabulary alluding, ominous, moored, buffeted, vagabond, solemnities, enmity, circuitous
Enrichment Pretend you are Bilbo and begin to keep a diary of your adventures. Make an entry at the end of each chapter. You may wish to add maps and illustrations.
Chapter Eleven: On the Doorstep The group makes steady progress down Long Lake, the River Running and towards the Lonely Mountain. The surrounding land is desolate and the travelers have low spirits because there is a long road ahead and it does not seem that they are going to reach the cave if they reach at the prescribed time (midsummer). They persist through the area called the "Desolation of Smaug" and see the remains of a town called "Dale." Balin remembers the stories of this forefathers' narrow escape from the dragon's destruction and this only re-kindles the dwarves desire to reclaim their stolen jewels and wealth. When they reach the mountain it is clear that Smaug is still alive, for his smoke is all about the place. Again, Bilbo is the hero and he manages to lead them up the mountain and successfully decipher the runes of Thorin's map. But after this, Bilbo has to find the correct path; and after this, Bilbo has to find the doorstep. The dwarves may be excited about the treasure inside but they are not excited enough to enter the cave on their own, and so Bilbo must enter alone.
Questions/Extension Activities 1. Describe the feelings of the party as they near the end of their journey. 2. Explain what had happened to the village near the Mountain. 3. What was the danger in searching for the secret door to the dragon’s den? 4. Describe how the secret door was discovered and by whom.
Vocabulary laden, waning, cavernous, marauding, toiled, mishap, trill
Enrichment Pretend you are a journalist. Write a news story about the band of adventurers journey and what you anticipate will happen in the days ahead.
Chapter Twelve: Inside Information The dwarves argue about who will enter Smaug's cave and since Bilbo is the burglar, Bilbo must go ahead and face the challenge. He follows the treacherous course into the heart of the cave and though he is sure he is in danger, he is attracted by a red glow that compels him to approach. This is the glow of Smaug. Bilbo manages to steal a cup and hurriedly exits but Smaug awakens and begins to rage. The cowardly dwarves decide that Bilbo must re-enter the cave and somehow alleviate the situation as Smaug is now set upon destroying the countryside and has already prevented the company from escaping because he has destroyed their ponies. Bilbo has returned to the cave and though he is on his guard, he riddles and discusses various topics with Smaug. He escapes with his life and as Smaug begins a rampage on the countryside, Thorin sees his imminent kingdom approaching. For once, Smaug is gone, the prophesied reclamation of old dwarf treasure will come to pass.
Questions/Extension Activities 1. Bilbo believed that, “dwarves are not heroes, but calculating fold with a great idea of the value of money; some are tricky and treacherous and pretty bad lots; some are not, but are decent enough people like Thorin and Company, if you don’t expect too much.” Interpret the meaning in what Bilbo said and give some examples to support Bilbo’s point of view. What help did Bilbo ask of the dwarves? 2. On page 212, the narrator says that”…he was a very different hobbit from the one that had run out without a pocket-handkerchief from Bag-End long ago.” Describe how the little hobbit changed. 3. Make an inference as to why Bilbo Baggins was taking such risks when he had absolutely no use for the dragon-guarded treasures. Was Bilbo courageous? What does it take to be courageous? 4. Explain why Bilbo stole the cup. Do you think it was a wise thing to do? Should he have waited and not stirred up the dragon? Could the story have been quite different if he had had a plan to conquer the dragon? 5. How would you interpret Bilbo’s father’s proverb, “Every worm has his weak spot”? What is a proverb? 6. What techniques did Bilbo use on Smaug when he said, “O Smaug the Tremendous!…Smaug the Chiefest and Greatest of Calamities?” 7. Describe how Bilbo was able to talk to Smaug without getting hurt. Explain what Bilbo meant when he said, “I am the clue-finder, the web-cutter, the stinging fly. I was chosen for the lucky number…I am the friend of bears and the guest of eagles. I am Ringwinner and Luckwinner; and I am Barrel-rider.” 8. Why is it wise to use riddles with dragons? 9. What did you learn about dragons? Describe what character traits you would give to Smaug. 10. How was the dragon very much on target when he said, “…I will give you one piece of advice for you good: don’t have more to do with dwarves than you can help…your job is to do all the dangerous work…And you will get a fair share? Don’t you believe it…If you get off alive, you will be lucky”?
Vocabulary inevitable, perplexed, skulking, dubious, stratagems, foreboding, smithereens
Enrichment Compose your own poem about the novel and illustrate it.
Chapter Thirteen: Not at Home Bilbo and the dwarves cannot simply wait forever on the side of the mountain, waiting for Smaug to find them. What they do, eventually, is decide to enter the cave. Not only is this their end goal, but Bilbo is leading the way. Of course, when they find that Smaug is not there, they enjoy the sight of his treasure and Thorin is quick to reclaim the mountain as his palace. Bilbo has really become an expert burglar by this point and he has claimed for himself the one artifact that Thorin finds most valuable the Arkenstone, the Heart of the Mountain. Bilbo also wears a coat, forged by elves of a material called mithril and he admits that he fills "magnificent." After Bilbo's heroic leadership has brought the dwarves to the treasure, Thorin announces himself as King and calls an end to the days of Smaug's dominion.
Questions/Extension Activities 1. Describe the character traits the treasure brought out in the dwarves. Make an inference as to why this occurred. 2. Make an inference as to Bilbo’s motives for slipping the Arkenstone into his pocket. What was his justification for doing this and was he correct in what he did? 3. Make an analysis of how you believe “Mr. Baggins kept his head more clear of the bewitchment of the hoard than the dwarves did.”
Vocabulary tinged, pallid, confound, fleeting, adornments, furtive, sustaining, dominion
Enrichment Explain the significance of the title of this chapter. Compare and contrast The Hobbit with other works of fantasy.
Chapter Fourteen: Fire and Water The lake-town of Esgaroth is the victim of Smaug's terror, for the information that he learns from Bilbo gives him reason to believe that they are involved in the theft of his cup. Watchmen see fire in the distance but their warnings go unheeded. Perhaps the lights are a sign of the King under the Mountain, who is again forging gold, according to the songs and legends. Smaug approaches and the people are in a state of combined worship and terror. Smaug breathes fire down upon their city but those who listened to the grim-voiced man had time to collect water to mitigate the damage. They also destroy the bridge that links the island city to the mainland and in this, they are able to halt Smaug's advance. His fire is quenched by the water but that little harms him, nor do the arrows shot from the city garrison. The Master of the city seeks to save himself and his fortune but there is a hero on the scene. Bard, the grim-voiced, grim-faced man, is willing to challenge Smaug and he has help from a messenger bird, called a thrush. The thrush relays information that Bilbo discovered while in Smaug's lair: the hollow of Smaug's left breast is not plated with his red-gold armor. When Bard strikes this spot, Smaug falls dead, his massive body crushing the city of Esgaroth. The survivors seek Bard as their new king but Bard provisionally declines the offer, though he intends to establish his own city. As the news of Smaug's death spreads, various groups advance towards the mountain for there is treasure to be had.
Questions/Extension Activities 1. Explain why Smaug went off to the lake-town of Esgaroth. 2. Describe what kind of a leader was the master of Esgaroth. 4. Explain how the thrush knew about the dragon’s most vulnerable spot. 5. Explain the argument the Master presented to the people that he remain the town leader rather than King Bard. In your opinion, and provide textual evidence to support your opinion, was he correct or not? 6. Describe Bard’s reaction after the defeat of the dragon and the destruction of the town. Compare this to that of the Master’s actions? 7. What purpose did Bard have going to the elves for help?
Vocabulary gilded, waxing, eminent, benefactors, depose, recompense
Enrichment Using the various leadership traits discussed in the brainstorming session, compare and contrast their leadership abilities. Characters might include: the Elvenking, the Hobbit, Thorin, Gandalf, and the Master Use the information given about Smaug in The Hobbit to create an encyclopedia entry about dragons: their habitat, appearance, behavior, diet and so forth. Don't forget to include a picture!
Chapter Fifteen: The Gathering of the Clouds The final four chapters of the novel bring a rapid conclusion to what has happened previously. The thrush comes with news that Smaug is dead. Thorin intends to secure his kingdom, but he moves with little wisdom. With several armies approaching for their share of Smaug's treasure, the mountain is in danger and Thorin makes the situation worse by calling upon his relatives to come from various lands and claim what is rightfully theirs. Bard petitions Thorin, reminding him that not all of Smaug's treasure has come from Thorin's people. Furthermore, the recent destruction of Esgaroth has come at the provocation of Thorin and his group. Thorin remains stubborn and war seems inevitable, though Bard's requests are not unreasonable and the supply of food within the fort (a bread-like paste called "cram") is dwindling.
Questions/Extension Activities 1. Explain how Bilbo and the dwarves were warned about the approaching treasure hunters. 2. Make an analysis of the advice Roac gave to the adventurers. 3. Make an inference as to why you think Thorin would not listen to Roac. Provide textual evidence to support your claim. 4. Describe how the Lake-men and Bard approach Thorin and the dwarves. 5. Explain the argument Bard presented to Thorin and the dwarves. Explain, in detail, if his argument was sound. 6. What response did Thorin make? Infer as to how much you believe the Lake-men and elves would have shared if the dwarves and Bilbo had been killed by the dragon? 7. Compare Bilbo’s feelings toward the treasure and the dragon’s den to that of Thorin and the dwarves. What did Bilbo think the adventure was to be?
Vocabulary carrion, coveted, decrepit, caper, parley, succored, alighted
Enrichment Write a song that tells the story from the perspective of one of the characters. Share your song with classmates.
Chapter Sixteen: A Thief in the Night Thorin continues to speak of the Arkenstone because it means so much to him, as it is an heirloom and he threatens to take revenge on whoever has prevented him from getting it. In spite of this warning, Bilbo decides that he will leave the mountain and offer the Arkenstone to Bard; then, Bard can offer the Arkenstone to Thorin in exchange for a fair portion of the treasure. Of course, there is so much suspicion on both sides that Bard has no way of guaranteeing that Thorin would make good on his promise to offer repayment. At any rate, Bilbo establishes himself as a figure of incredible honor even though he may be a traitor of sorts. At the end of the chapter, Gandalf appears and says "Well done, Mr Baggins," adding, "There is always more about you than anyone expects." Gandalf says that there is an unpleasant time just ahead, but after that Bilbo will be in a much better condition.
Questions/Extension Activities 1. Describe Bilbo’s escape from the cave. 2. Explain Bilbo’s purpose in his escape from the cave. 3. What leverage did Bilbo have that made it possible to deal with Bard? 4. Why was Bilbo willing to give up the Arkenstone? Compare this generosity to that of other characters. (Were there others that were or willing to be as generous as Bilbo?) 5. What unexpected friend or acquaintance did Bilbo discover in Bard’s camp? Explain what was said to Bilbo?
Vocabulary avenged, siege, hastening, spluttering, sentinels, thrice
Enrichment Explain the expression, "I may be a burglar. . . but I am an honest one". Explain the phrase, "Honour amongst thieves". Is stealing always wrong? Defend your answer.
Chapter Seventeen: The Clouds Burst Trumpets blare and there is going to be war. Dain, the cousin of Thorin, has arrived with soldiers and supplies. Bard approaches the mountain and offers the Arkenstone in exchange for peace and a fair share of the mountain's treasure. Thorin turns on the hobbit and attacks him, saying "I wish I had Gandalf here! Curse him for his choice of you!" Gandalf appears and defends both himself and Bilbo. Bilbo leaves, relinquishing his share of the treasure, counting it as the Arkenstone. Thorin is thinking of ways to avoid a fair bargain and when battle erupts, it includes men, elves and dwarves. They are ready to attack one another until Gandalf announces the approach of the Goblins, bats, wolves and Wargs. The armies re-align themselves and conduct what became known as the "Battle of Five Armies." The Goblins and Wild Wolves battle against the Elves, Men and Dwarves. Gandalf has expected some sort of assault but it did come swifter than he had expected. The Goblins are initially repelled and ambushed by the Elves, but a reinforcement of Goblin troops tilts the balance of the battle. It is only with the final arrival of the Eagles, that the forces of good are sustained. Unfortunately, Bilbo is "smote" with a "stone hurtling from above...and he fell with a crash and knew no more."
Questions/Extension Activities 1. Explain why Thorin was so angry at Bilbo. Was he justified in his anger? Provide evidence to support your answer. 2. Describe the terms of Thorin and Bard’s agreement. 3. In the Battle of the Five Armies, describe the participants. 4. Explain what stopped Thorin’s advancement. 5. Give a description of what sight made Bilbo’s heart leap. Explain how these characters have helped in the past.
Vocabulary heirloom, astir, plaited, tarry, scimitars, vanguard, hurtling, helm
Enrichment What is the "gleam in the gloom" and how does it turn the tide of the battle?
Chapter Eighteen: The Return Journey When Bilbo regains consciousness, he finds that he is alone and he has to take his ring off so that the individuals who were sent for him can find him. After recovering in the company of Gandalf, Bilbo makes his way back home and their journey though covering the same perilous terrain is far more pleasant and mild than it was the first time. As Bilbo says, "So comes snow after fire, and even dragons have their ending."
Questions/Extension Activities 1. Explain why Bilbo was unable to be found until the day after the battle. 2. Who won the battle? Give an explanation how they were able to gain victory. 3. Make an analysis of the lessons Thorin had learned. Infer as to why you believe Thorin and Bilbo parted as friends. Provide evidence for your response. 4. In your opinion, was it necessary for Thorin to die in this story? If you were the author, what other ending might there have been?
Vocabulary mustering, dislodged, abode, Yule-tide
Enrichment Are the dwarves basically good or basically evil? Write a short essay defending your position.
Chapter Nineteen: The Last Stage Gandalf and Bilbo pass through Rivendell and eventually make their way to Hobbiton. It is summer and Bilbo is disappointed to learn that he is legally dead. Greedy cousins, the SackvilleBagginses are auctioning his property because he is "Presumed Dead." They are more than a little displeased at his arrival and it takes several years for Bilbo to sort out the legalisms. In fact, Bilbo had to buy back a good deal of his own furniture his reputation, for better or worse, was harder to reclaim. But as for Bilbo, son of Belladonna Took, "for ever after he remained an elffriend, and had the honour of dwarves, wizards, and all such folk as ever passed that way. True, he was "held by all the hobbits of the neighbourhood to be 'queer' except by this nephews and nieces on the Took side....[but] he did not mind." It's hard to care about these things when you are happy, you have a magic ring, you are writing poetry, you are visiting the elves and you have plenty of time to discuss "prophecies" and "mere luck" with your good friend Gandalf.
Questions/Extension Activities 1. When Bilbo returned home, he did not receive the response that he had thought. Describe how Bilbo was received when he reached his hobbit-hole. 2. Analyze what Gandalf meant when he said, “You are not the hobbit that you were.” 3. Make an analysis of how Bilbo brought luck to the expedition. 4. What inference can be made about the meaning of when Gandalf said, “Surely you don’t disbelieve the prophecies, because you had a hand in bringing them about yourself? You don’t really suppose, do you, that all your adventures and escapes were managed by mere luck, just for your sole…”
Vocabulary brink, lore, presumed, gloaming, extravagant, sole
Enrichment Write a new ending or add a new chapter to the novel.
Glossary braces suspenders; straps hung over the shoulders to hold up pants. throng a crowd; a large number of people. larder pantry; a place where food is stored. flummoxed confused. runes characters from the alphabets used by the Germanic peoples from the third to the thirteenth centuries. lair den; refuge or hiding place. hoard a supply stored up or hidden away. Goblins grotesque, malicious creatures. plundered/plunderers to take by force; to rob or loot; those who take by force, rob, or loot. cleave to split or pass through by cutting. tinder a flammable substance that can be used as kindling. flint material used for producing a spark. larch a deciduous tree of the pine family. porter a person who carries burdens or baggage. glade an open space surrounded by woods. bracken a large, coarse fern. smote hit (past tense of smite, to hit). eyrie a bird's nest on a cliff or mountaintop. furrier a fur dealer; one who makes, repairs, or cleans fur garments. conies rabbit furs. tippet a fur shoulder cape, often with hanging ends. muff a warm tubular covering for the hands. necromancer a magician, especially one who deals with the spirits of the dead.
baying barking. hart male red deer, usually over five years old. hind female red deer. short commons minimal rations. confusticate flabbergast. mirth joy, playfulness. watercourse any waterway, such as a stream or river. quoits a game in which a ring of iron or rope is thrown at an upright pin; similar to the game of pitching horseshoes. thongs a strip of leather or hide. portcullis an iron grating hung over a gateway and lowered between grooves to prevent passage. sleeping-draught a sleeping potion. turnkey the person in charge of the keys to a prison. toss-pot a drunkard. mere a lake or pool. kine cow. eddying moving in a circular current like a whirlpool. cask a barrel, usually holding wine. shingly overlapping in rows. promontory a high point of land or rock projecting into water or over lowland. graybeards old men. gammers old women. quays docks or landing places on a waterway. fortnight a period of two weeks. staggerment amazement, confusion.
pallid pale and weak. foiled spoiled a plan, prevented a plan from being successfully enacted. parley an exercise in diplomacy; a talk with the goal of resolving conflict. sentinels soldiers charged with guarding. helm a position of control. Yule-tide the Christmas holiday season.
CONFLICT Protagonists At the most obvious level, the protagonist of the main plot is Bilbo Baggins, who helps the dwarves recover their treasure and kingdom, aids the forces of good, and, in the process, faces his own fears and transforms himself from an ordinary hobbit into a true hero. In the first sub-plot, the group of dwarves, who set out on a quest to the Lonely Mountain, is the protagonist. They are eager to recover the treasures of their ancestors. In the second sub-plot, the protagonist is the force of good, represented by Bilbo, Gandalf, the dwarves, the elves, the Lake- town men, and all the other characters who stand with them.
Antagonists In the main plot, Bilbo's antagonist is his fear and lack of confidence. In the beginning, he screams at the thought of a dragon and is fearful of making the journey with the dwarves. He must go through a series of adventures in order to become courageous and defeat his fear. The antagonist of the dwarves is Smaug, the dragon who has stolen and hoarded the treasure that belonged to the ancestors of the dwarves. He must be defeated in order for the dwarves to regain possession of the gold and jewels that they believe are rightfully theirs. The antagonist of the force of good is the cast of characters that are evil, including Smaug, the goblins, the wolves, and all the forces that battle and thwart those on the side of good.
Climax In the main plot, the story of Bilbo Baggins' growth and maturity into a heroic figure, the climax occurs when the protagonist overcomes his fear. He is in the tunnel leading to the lair of the dragon and convinces himself that he is brave enough to go forward by himself and face Smaug alone. Though he has no idea what to expect, he steels himself and enters the dragon's stronghold, bravely stealing one of the treasures while Smaug sleeps. From this point forward in the novel, Bilbo proves that he has conquered his fear and has reached heroic status, bravely facing all that comes his way. In the sub-plot, the story of the dwarves' quest to recover their ancestral treasure, the climax occurs when Smaug is killed. It then seems that the dwarves can freely claim what they believe is rightfully theirs. Unfortunately, greed sets in on most everyone in the book. Bard asks for a share of the treasure and, though he has a rightful claim, is turned away with harsh words by Thorin. Though Thorin repents his ill deed before he dies, his refusal nearly starts a war amongst the forces of good. This act, therefore, shows the corrupting influence of greed and the depths to
which it can cause an otherwise good character to fall. When the antagonist of the dwarves is defeated, they, in turn, almost defeat themselves. In the second sub-plot, the battle between good and evil, the climax occurs during the Battle of the Five Armies, where the evil goblins and wolves are defeated by the combined forces of good.
Outcome All of the plots in the novel end as a comedy. Bilbo overcomes his fear and becomes a hero. Smaug is killed and the dwarves are able to seize the treasure; then they learn to share if fairly with others. Even Thorin repents his greed and apologizes for his harsh behavior before he dies. Finally, the forces of evil are destroyed by the combined forces of good. At the end of the book, everything has turned out happily and peace and prosperity has returned to the region around the Lonely Mountain.
ANALYSIS Main Character Analysis Bilbo Baggins The hobbit mentioned in the title is also the protagonist of the tale, and as such his character is the one given the most detailed treatment. Bilbo Baggins is introduced at the beginning of the book as an ordinary hobbit. He is fond of a comfortable life with lots of meals and snacks. He is not given to going off on adventures or seeking any excitement whatsoever. His nervous and fearful state is made abundantly clear when he screams in fright at hearing the dwarves discussing their upcoming adventure. Initially, he is preoccupied with neatness and attention to such finicky details as the proper time to eat. By the end of the book, he has become a stouthearted and wise man of action that is able to lead his companions out of danger and plan their activities. Bilbo, as the central character, is a part of each episode and theme of the novel. The quest of the dwarves becomes his quest as well. In fact, the quest for Bilbo is not only a search for the treasure but also for the hidden aspects of his character. In the theme of good versus evil, Bilbo is an unswerving part of the "good" forces. In his character there is no blurring of lines as occurs in the dwarves. He remains an honest hobbit to the end, untainted by an excessive lust for gold or by the need to prove his worth and power. Unlike the dwarves, who are so intent on the treasure that they are carried away by greed and forget ordinary decencies such as gratitude and helping those in dire need, Bilbo constantly remains a decent fellow. Although Bilbo likes food and comfort, he never permits these concerns to take over his life or to influence his behavior, especially in relation to others. Bilbo's growth comes in small increments, with each adventure giving him more courage for the next. He swallows his fear of the trolls to attempt a burglary, and though he is caught and nearly eaten, the process of his transformation begins. The encounter with the spiders gives him his first taste of victory and prepares him for his encounter with Gollum. In his adventure with Gollum, he shows cool-headedness, courage, and wit, and, with the aid of the ring, begins to develop into a heroic figure. He single-handedly orchestrates the rescue of the dwarves from the Wood-elves, and, by the time the company reaches the Lonely Mountain, the dwarves have become dependent on him for guidance. His "bravest" act, of course, is his decision in the tunnel to overcome his fear and face Smaug, regardless of the consequences. Bilbo also shows that he is willing to stand by the choices he makes. He deliberately tries to use the Arkenstone to buy peace, even though he knows that Thorin's displeasure will be extreme. Of course, Bilbo's growth is not without its setbacks. Often, after performing a brave act, he will soon begin worrying and start longing for the comforts of home. But it is clear by the end of the novel that, as Gandalf says, he is no longer the hobbit he once was. Although Tolkien develops Bilbo Baggins into a hero, he also leaves in him such characteristics as to endear him to readers. He remains a simple and affectionate soul until the end, one who
stands by his word. Even though he sometimes descends into despair, he also climbs out of it through his own efforts. Tolkien does not make of Bilbo a heroic figure with whom identification and sympathy are impossible. Instead, he makes Bilbo into a very "human" hero, who, in spite of his frailties, rises to heroic stature.
PLOT STRUCTURE ANALYSIS The plot of The Hobbit starts out in a simple and straightforward fashion, suitable to a children's book. The story is basically a quest, a narrative in which the main characters go in search of an object or person. At the beginning of the novel, the dwarves announce their plan to go to Lonely Mountain to regain the treasure which Smaug, the dragon, has stolen long ago from their ancestors. At first, no questions are raised as to the ethical "rightness" of the quest. It is only as the book progresses that the recovery of the treasure becomes an adventure to regain a kingdom and the dwarves' excessive greed begins to be questioned. As the quest becomes larger, The Hobbit changes from a simple "treasure-hunt" into a tale of greed and possession, with the forces of good and evil blurring. In the beginning, it is clear that the trolls, goblins, and spiders are totally evil, while the dwarves are a picture of goodness. In the confrontation between the elves and the dwarves in Mirkwood, the demarcation between good and evil is not so clear, and it is difficult to decide who is really in the wrong. This ambiguity increases as the dwarves become possessed by greed and refuse to give up even a part of Smaug's treasure. At the same time, the elves and the Lake-town men are not wholly good either, for they rely on arms and force to take their share of the treasure. Even Bilbo's act of secretly pocketing the Arkenstone when he first sees it gives him a touch of evil, making him seem like the burglar he is supposed to be. He shows his true goodness, however, when he later uses the Arkenstone to try and buy peace between the dwarves and the elves. In the end, all of the ambiguously good characters (the elves, the Lake-town men, the dwarves, and Bilbo) join forces in a mutual cause against the forces of evil (the goblins and the wolves). In battling the enemy together, all of the good characters become better, especially Thorin and Bilbo. Though the plot of The Hobbit is sometimes confusing, it really follows a basically straightforward and traditional path in its development. The first chapter serves as an introduction to the principal characters, including Bilbo, Gandalf, Thorin, and the dwarves. The quest of the dwarves is also announced, and Bilbo is enlisted to join the adventure. In the second chapter, the rising action begins, as the adventures start. The plot is then developed in a pattern that is followed, with minor variations, for most of the book. An adventure or encounter with danger is followed by a short period of rest for the Bilbo and the dwarves. The episode with the trolls is followed by a period of relaxation at Rivendell; the adventure with the goblins ends with a stay at the home of Beorn; the battle with the spiders of Mirkwood is followed by a period in the Elvenking's dungeons (not altogether pleasant but considerably better than what had gone before); the escape from the elves is followed by the happy time at Lake-
town; the encounters with Smaug are followed by a short time when the dwarves and Bilbo are free from fear and able to enjoy the treasure; and the near disaster of Thorin's greed and the Battle of Five Armies is followed by a happy resolution for almost all. Since The Hobbit simultaneously develops a main plot and sub-plots, there is more than one climax in the book. Bilbo is clearly the main character and protagonist of the novel. His problem, or antagonist, is the combination of his fear and lack of faith in himself. When he first hears of the adventure, he screams in fear at the thought of the journey and possibility of facing a dragon. During the course of the quest, he has one adventure after another, and each teaches him something about himself and makes him more courageous. By the time he and his companions reach the Lonely Mountain, Bilbo has clearly become the leader of the group, having proven himself by defeating the spiders and by leading the dwarves to their final destination. Bilbo, however, is still not a character of heroic proportions. When the group finally finds the secret entrance, he is hesitant to enter the tunnel and asks one of the dwarves to accompany him. When his companion refuses to go forward, Bilbo finally faces and masters his fear. It is the moment of climax in the book, for from this point forward, Bilbo acts with determination and bravery. Without hesitation and by himself, Bilbo proceeds through the tunnel and into the dragon's lair. It is obvious that he is a totally changed creature from the start of the book. The group of dwarves is the protagonist in the first sub-plot of the book. Their antagonist is Smaug, the dragon who has stolen and hoarded the treasure belonging to the ancestors of the dwarves. The goal of the dwarves' quest is to defeat the dragon and regain the treasure. In this sub-plot, which works hand-in-hand with the story of Bilbo's growth, the climax occurs when Smaug is killed. Ironically, it is neither Bilbo nor the dwarves who defeat Smaug; instead, it is Bard, a man from Lake-town, who accomplishes the feat. Because the tale is an adventure story, the forces of good are pitted against the forces of evil throughout the plot. Time after time, the dwarves (forces of good) must overcome enemies, such as the spiders and the wolves (forces of evil). At the end of the novel, however, greed begins to negatively color the forces of good, for the dwarves, the elves, and the Lake-town men all want the treasure for themselves, and it seems they will fight one another to win what they want. Then the true forces of evil, represented by the goblins and the wolves, approach Lonely Mountain to seize the treasure for themselves. As a result, the forces of good join together to defeat these new, evil enemies. When the good side is victorious in the Battle of Five Armies, the climax of this sub-plot occurs. In the end, the evil forces are driven away from the mountain, allowing the forces of good to become truly good. They peacefully share in the treasure and re-establish peace in the region of Lonely Mountain. The falling action in all three plots occurs after the climax. With Bilbo's plot, the falling action is the longest, for he must prove that he has truly become a fearless leader. The falling action of the dwarves' sub-plot reveals how they become even more greedy and illogical after they learn Smaug has been killed. In the battle of good vs. evil, there is little falling action, for the climax occurs late in the novel, when the goblins and wolves are defeated and driven away from Lonely Mountain. The conclusion comes for Bilbo when he returns to Hobbiton and lives a long and happy life, writing his memoirs and poetry. For the dwarves, the conclusion comes when they share the treasure and live in peace with the elves. In the battle of good vs. evil, the conclusion
comes when peace and prosperity comes to the whole region due to the wise guidance of a new King under the Mountain. In all three cases, the plot ends as a comedy, with the protagonist defeating the antagonist. The circular structure of The Hobbit is indicated in the secondary title of the book -- "There and Back Again." The tale begins in Bilbo's home where Gandalf persuades him to go with the dwarves on their adventure. The plot then progresses through wild and dangerous lands to the Lonely Mountain, where a battle is fought and won. Eventually the novel comes back full circle, ending at Bilbo's house, where it began. At the end Gandalf and Balin, one of the dwarves, pay a visit to Bilbo many years later. They bring news about the prosperity and peace that has come to the region of the Lonely Mountain.
THEMES ANALYSIS Three main Themes are treated in The Hobbit: 1) the war between good and evil; 2) the theme of greed and its effects; and 3) the quest - both for the treasure and for Bilbo's heroic stature. Though each theme is distinct, all three are intertwined with each other and are integral to the plot and sub-plots of the book. The war between good and evil begins with the company's first adventure, the encounter with the trolls. From then on, there are increasingly more dangerous skirmishes between the forces of good and evil, until the conflict escalates into the full-blown Battle of Five Armies at the end of the novel. There is, however, one point in which it becomes difficult to differentiate whether the dwarves, particularly Thorin, are characters of good or evil. Once they are in possession of the treasure, they begin to be corrupted by it, becoming possessive and greedy. In the end, however, all of the forces of good unite in the Battle of Five Armies to defeat the forces of evil, represented by the goblins and the wolves. After they are victorious, the dwarves share the treasure and live in peace. Even Thorin, who has been the most corrupted by greed, dies a heroic, redemptive death after repenting for his earlier evil actions. The theme of greediness is developed from the beginning of the novel. It is initially seen in the dwarves' strong desire to regain the treasure for themselves and in Bilbo's greediness for food. Though Bilbo loves to eat and to have other comforts, he is able to live without them and never lets his desires overcome his sense of duty and right. The dwarves' love of treasure, however, stands in their way and almost defeats them. Tolkien compares and contrasts the dwarves to other characters they encounter during their adventures. Beorn, for example, is completely free of any desire for treasure, for he finds joy in the beauties of nature and the friendship of animals. Unlike the dwarves who are ready to do battle to seize what they want, the Elvenking does not believe that any treasure is worthy of bloodshed. Ironically, the dwarves are pictured in many ways to be like Smaug, their stated enemy. Although he is intelligent and powerful, the dragon, like the dwarves, is driven by his hunger for treasure; as a result, he jealously guards his stolen loot and flies into a rage over the theft of a single cup, which he cannot and does not use. Thorin, in particular, seems to be very similar to Smaug. Not only does greed take over his character, it also corrupts all that is right and good about him. He
becomes ungrateful, cold-hearted, dishonest, and treacherous. He refuses to share with Bard or help the people of Lake-town; he casts out Bilbo as a traitor; and he shoots at those who come to collect the treasure he has promised to share. Through Thorin and the dwarves, Tolkien shows that greed can and does corrupt, leading to misery and disaster. It is only at the end that Thorin realizes what Bilbo understands intuitively: "If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world." The theme of the quest is also developed through the entire book. The desire of the dwarves to regain their ancestral treasure is what sets the plot in motion. At no point in the novel, do the dwarves lose sight of their objective - to reach Lonely Mountain, defeat Smaug, and seize his hoarded stockpile of gold and jewels. Unfortunately, when the dragon is killed and the treasure is in their hands, they become so possessive and greedy that they almost defeat themselves. Thorin even imagines himself as the rich and mighty King of the Region. It is ironic that in pursuing their quest, the dwarves do not suffer nearly as much as they do after achieving it. In the end, however, they are able to share the treasure and live in peace. Bilbo undertakes the quest with the dwarves, but his quest really becomes his own search to prove himself as a brave man and heroic leader. As the novel progresses, Tolkien traces the theme of Bilbo's growth from an inept, almost foolish, hobbit to one who is capable of going alone into a dragon's lair and of leading his companions to safety through many dangers. The more he is forced to rely on himself, the more brave and capable he shows himself to be. His biggest challenge is when he finds himself in the tunnel leading to Smaug's lair and must decide whether to go on or not. His decision to face the dangers ahead of them, whatever they may be, is his "bravest" act and crystallizes his position as a heroic figure. When he later uses the Arkenstone to buy peace (arguably even a braver act), he shows that he is a wise, fair, and coolheaded leader, a total change from his earlier inept and fearful being.
Final Project Ideas Put one or more of the dwarf and hobbit songs from the novel to music. Sing the song onto a podcast to share with the class. Or- write your own dwarf/hobbit songs to perform for the class. In color, draw a poster-sized map of Wilderland. Map the group’s journey and illustrate important scenes. Write a biography of J.R.R. Tolkien. In your essay, explain how the events of Tolkien’s life may have influenced the events in his novels. Write and perform a monologue in which you become one of the side characters in the novel (Gandalf, a dwarf, Gollum, Smaug). Explain your motivations in the story and tell about your perceptions of Bilbo. Visual aids help. Create a game board of The Hobbit that accurately demonstrates your understanding of the novel. Select quotations from the story. Explain how you connected to the quote from the story, and show how the quote relates to a theme, conflict, or character in the text. Illustrate the quotations. Create a pamphlet about the character and significant scenes from the book. Illustrate and type or use nice handwriting. Make a video trailer, newscast, or Oprah-style interview of characters Create a poster-sized illustrated timeline of the major events in the novel. Rewrite and illustrate the novel as a children’s book. Create a diorama of an important scene from the story. Make an illustrated dictionary of 20 words you discovered in The Hobbit. Come up with your own idea for presenting your understanding of the novel. Make sure to approve the idea with me before you begin.