Essay on The Novel ' The Hobbit '

Essay on The Novel ' The Hobbit '

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The idea of identity is central to any fantasy novel as usually the main character’s sense of self changes as the novel progresses, whether from internal conflicts or through the influence of others. The concept of discovering self-identity is evident in the plot of Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary and J. R. R. Tolkien’s novel, The Hobbit. In Madame Bovary, Flaubert tells the tale of a whimsical young woman, Emma and her sense of identity throughout her life. Similarly, in The Hobbit, the quest that Bilbo Baggins embarks on is not only in pursuit of lost treasure, but also for his own identity and maturity that develops while on the quest. Through comparing and contrasting both respective texts, this paper will examine Bilbo and Emma’s sense of identity through the circumstances of their upbringing, external influences on their lives, and climatic resolutions.
In the beginning of Madame Bovary, the reader is presented with a small glimpse into Emma’s life before her marriage to Charles and her sense of identity. Emma has many of the same childish expectations and fantasies of love and marriage that many girls often dream of in their youth. This is evident in the way Emma “invents small sins” (Flaubert 42) while in confession and gets “excited…in a thrilling new way” (42) at the metaphors used regarding love and romance in sermons. Emma’s upbringing in the convent leaves a lasting imprint on her sense of identity; for she “loved the church for its flowers, music for its romantic words, [and]
Rea 2 literature for its power to stir the passions” (46) — all that contribute to her romantic perspective on life. Coinciding with her romantic identity, Emma “would have liked to be married at midnight, by torchlight” (30), something that ...


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...mpany and Gandalf. Emma remains willfully ignorant — almost by choice because the allure of stories and words are too strong to ignore — to abandon the unrealistic and romantic ideologies that her education in the convent has done to prevent her from maturing and discovering her self-identity. Instead, Emma remains trapped within the idealistic and alluring world presented in her novels. Conversely, Bilbo may never again be considered a respectable individual by his neighbours, but he has earned the unwavering respect of the elves and dwarves alike and discovered his own self-worth to identify himself as more than just the son of a wealthy, respectable hobbit, but as an adventurer and unlikely hero. If Emma had been able to make the distinction between life and fantasy, the ending of Madame Bovary may have been radically different from the one the world knows today.

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