Essay on Dark And Light Imagery Within The Hobbit

Essay on Dark And Light Imagery Within The Hobbit

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The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien is said to be one of the greatest children's novels of all time. The novel, due to its use of such characters as goblins, elves, trolls, giants, and others is in tradition, a fairy tale. The tale centers on a small hobbit by the name of Bilbo Baggins. It follows the journey of a band of dwarves, a wizard named Gandalf, and their robber, Bilbo on their way to retrieving treasure that had long been taken away from them. The hobbit traveled all over Middle-Earth, beginning with Bilbo's tiny hobbit-hole in the ground, to Mirkwood forest, to finally reaching the Mountain in which the dragon Smaug lives. Tolkien uses a large amount of imagery in his writing which can been seen through settings in The Hobbit. The imagery is usually either dark or light, depending on Bilbo's mood and contrast of his surroundings. J.R.R Tolkien uses dark and light imagery in The Hobbit to effectively set an eerie and mysterious mood and to foreshadow events such as Bilbo's journey in Mirkwood and his adventure in the Mountain.

To understand Tolkien's use of imagery, one must understand imagery as a concept. "Imagery refers to words that trigger the mind of a reader to recall images, or mental pictures, that engage one of the five senses: sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch" (Poxon). "There are two common types of images: literal and figurative" (Poxon). A literal image represents a "literal object or sensation. Its meaning is obvious and realistic and needs no interpretation. It is what it says it is." Tolkien uses a larger amount of figurative language in The Hobbit than literal.

A figurative image means more than what it says it is. It suggests certain meanings that must be interpreted. Similes, met...


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...had been long silent"(Tolkien 259). At the time that the narrator had proclaimed this to the reader, Smaug had not yet returned. This quote foreshadowed his death and leads to the War of the Five Armies.

Imagery in The Hobbit plays a great part in the setting the mood of the novel. J.R.R. Tolkien also uses this technique to drop hints to the reader and to help them foreshadow future events. Imagery in The Hobbit has a number of different purposes. Imagery is also figurative language that enhances character, setting, meaning, and theme in literature. It paints a picture in ones mind about surroundings and situations and helps the reader relate to the main character of the novel. Imagery also heightens the reader's senses of the novel and deepens the emotional connection between reader and character. This forces the reader to become more involved with the tale.

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