“Sometimes we need fantasy to survive reality” (Unknown). Humans as a species have become captivated by stories and subsequently have become the storytelling animal. We look to stories to find meaning to our lives and as a way to understand the reality we face every day, as a means of enjoyment and as an integral part of our existence. Published in 1937, J.R.R Tolkien’s The Hobbit tells the story of an unlikely hero, a hobbit by the name of Bilbo Baggins as he sets out on an adventure with thirteen dwarves to recover a lost treasure guarded by the dragon Smaug. This beloved classic has defined the high fantasy genre and provided an escape from reality for many of its readers. Tolkien effectively uses the tone of wonder to achieve this and thus demonstrates the appeal of this escape throughout his novel.
To begin, Tolkien uses the tone of wonder that characterizes fantasy novels to create an escape by offering a world that both rouses our curiosity and fuels our need for adventure. The popular genre provides a means for the reader to expand their lived experience and confront worlds we could never possibly encounter. Tolkien presents readers with a wonderful alternative to their everyday static life, a world where life is simple and not dominated by technology, where adventure can be found around every corner. A world filled with magical and fantastical elements, a world we could never encounter anywhere but beneath the pages of The Hobbit. The novel plunges readers into the profoundly nostalgic and complex world of Middle Earth where they can visit the charming homeland of the hobbits, The Shire or an utterly picturesque Rivendell (Tolkien). In a way, The Hobbit utilizes the tone of wonder to allow readers t...
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...re. This renowned author has utilized the tone of wonder throughout his novel in order to showcase the appeal of such an escape within the fantasy genre. First, The Hobbit allows readers to indulge on their predisposition for curiosity and adventure as well as find a sense of belonging and acceptance between the covers of a novel. Tolkien also allows readers to avoid the harsh reality of life by transforming real world situations into something fantastical. The Hobbit immerses readers so effectively that returning to their mundane life after escaping into Tolkien’s fantasy world can leave them with a feeling of discontent. However, this dissatisfaction need not be a bad thing but, rather the opposite as it can propel us to improve things in our own world. It propels us to change our lives into a book that would be worth reading, a world we would not need to escape.
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