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Free Study Guide-The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien-Free Online Book Notes
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THEMES

Major Themes

The Hobbit is notable in that it possesses three main Themes that parallel each other. The most easily observed theme is the age-old battle between good and evil. This theme is highlighted in the episodes where Gandalf, the dwarves, and Bilbo fight against the trolls, goblins, and other enemies. The conflict comes to a finale with the Battle of Five Armies, where good wins and evil is defeated.

A secondary theme is that of the effects of greed and the corrupting power of wealth. This is seen in the reactions of various characters in the book to treasure, especially the dwarves, whose gold-lust almost destroys them.


A final theme is that of the quest. This theme has two strands. The first is the rather straightforward, though still problematic, quest of the dwarves to regain their stolen treasure. The second is the quest of Bilbo Baggins to discover himself and grow into a heroic figure. His journey of self-discovery and growth makes The Hobbit far more than a mere adventure story.

MOOD

The mood of The Hobbit fluctuates between light and charming and dark and somber. The book starts with sunshine and good cheer at the outset of the adventure, shifts to dark, increasingly troublesome times with the encounters with the trolls, goblins, and spiders, becomes light again with the rescue from the elves, then passes through intense darkness and grief with the gold-lust of the dwarves and the Battle of Five Armies, before ending on a positive note. Within this general pattern are smaller swings in mood; dark passages often have some glint of hope and humor in them, and light passages are often tempered by a measure of foreboding. Indeed, The Hobbit alternates between light and dark continually, and the mood swings like a pendulum between these two extremes.

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