Friday, May 31, 2019
Hobbit: From Childrens Story to Mythic Creation Essay -- Literature F
Hobbit From Childrens Story to Mythic Creation Mr. Baggins began as a comic tommyrot among conventional and inconsistent fairy-tale dwarves, and got drawn into the edge of it - so that even Sauron the terrible peeped over the edge.-J.R.R Tolkien, letter to his publisher (quoted in Carpenter 1977, 182). The Hobbit started as little more than(prenominal) than a bedtime story for Tolkiens children. Like most of his fellow academics, Tolkien viewed fantasy as limited to childhood. The result was a book written in a chatty, slack style that contrasts sharply with that of its serious successors. The narrator makes frequent patronising and intrusive asides, such as And what would you do, if an uninvited dwarf came and hung his things up in your hall without a word of explanation? (H, 18). The language approximates baby-talk at times (nasty, dirty wet hole oozy smell), and modifiers (terribly, lots and lots) abound. Many critics, including Tolkien himself, claim viewed this as the c hief weakness of the book. Although the tone does evoke the oral tradition through which myths were originally created, it detracts from the power of the book. It renders villains ar more comic than truly threatening, its heroes more endearing than awe-inspiring. One commentator feels that The Hobbit lacks a certain intellectual weight and deserves little serious, purely literary criticism (Helms 1974 53). The important words here are purely literary. The novel cannot be studied in isolation, nevertheless must be seen against the broader backdrop of Tolkiens literary philosophy and the entire mythic tradition. For the writing of The Hobbit both influenced and was influenced by the profound intellectual change its author was undergoing, namely t... ...teaching its author the immense possibilities of fantasy. It itself does not exhaust these possibilities, but merely begins to explore them. It starts unambitiously, but in drawing from the rich store of world folklore and the autho rs imagination, soon develops into a myth that, like all good fantasy, speaks as clearly to the mythopoetic imagination like a shot as it did in Tolkiens time. Bibliography Carpenter, H. 1977. J.R.R. Tolkien A Biography. London George Allen & Unwin. Helms, R. 1974. Myth, Magic and Meaning in Tolkiens World. London Granada Publishing. Nitshe, J.C. 1979. Tolkiens Art A Mythology for England. New York St. Martins. ONeill, T.R. 1979. The Individuated Hobbit. Boston Hougton Mifflin. Rogers, D. & Rogers, I.A. 1980. J.R.R. Tolkien. Boston Twayne. Tolkien, J.R.R. 1937. The Hobbit. London George Allen & Unwin.