"Long ago in my grandfather Thror's time our family was driven out of the far North. . . . It had later been discovered by my far ancestor, Thrain the Old, they mined and they tunnelled and they made huger halls and greater workshops-and in addition I believe they found a good deal of gold and a great many jewels too. Anyway, they grew immensley rich and famous, and my grandfather was King under the Mountain again. . . . Undoubtedly that was what brought the dragon. Dragons steal gold and jewels, you know. . . . There was a most specially greedy strong and wicked worm called Smaug. . . . [W]ell, from a good way off we saw the dragon settle on our mountain in a spout of flame. . . . and has been there ever sense. . . . we have never forgotten our stolen treasure. . . . we still mean to get it back, and to bring our curses home to Smaug" (31-33).
This is the goal of all the main characters that J.R.R. Tolkien portrays in the novel, The Hobbit. It starts as any normal day for Bilbo, sitting in his quiet home, enjoying the piece and quiet and having a good smoke. The next thing Bilbo knows, an old friend named Gandalf appears before him. They reminisce for awhile about past times and lost adventures. Gandalf finally decides to leave Bilbo in piece, but not without convincing him of the journey they should soon embark on. Bilbo wakes up the next day to find thirteen knew faces in his home. Thirteen dwarves to be exact. They continue to propose to Bilbo the plan of stealing back the gold and treasures that was once theirs. Before Bilbo knows what's going on, he sets out, with his new friends, to conquer the Dragon that stole not only their riches, but also the lives of many men who d...
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...e found. . . . That is why I settled on burglary. . . . And here is our little Bilbo Baggins, the burglar" (30). This quote is a perfect example of how The Hobbit is unusual. Not only is Bilbo not a fierce warrior, but he is also a thief. Heroes usually have the record of being loyal and honorable, but because Bilbo is a burglar, he isn't quite as honorable as most would think.
In The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien takes the reader on a unique fantasy epic without the traits of previous epics like Homer's Illiad. By using the different traits, the hobbit has set a new standard for modern epics, and will continue to inspire future authors to compose classic yet groundbreaking novels.
Harmon, William, and Holman, C. H. "Epic," Handbook to Literature. New York: Macmillian, 1992.
Tolkien, J.R.R. The Hobbit. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1966.