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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