The Hobbit, Essential Revision Notes

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Table of Contents

The Hobbit by J.R. Tolkien 4

Context 4

Summary 5

Characters 7

Bilbo Baggins 7

Gandalf 7

Thorin Oakenshield 7

Gollum 7

Smaug 7

Bard 8

Beorn 8

Elrond 8

Dark Lord Sauron 8

Thror 8

Races 9

Dwarves 9

Elves 9

Humans 9

Trolls 9

Goblins 9

Wargs 9

Themes 10

Bilbo’s Heroism 10

Race, Lineage, and Character 10

Important Quotations Explained 12

The Hobbit by J.R. Tolkien

Context

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born on January 3, 1892, in Bloemfontein, South Africa. His parents had moved there from England so that his father, Arthur, could work for the bank of Africa. Tolkien lost both parents early in life – his father died in Africa in 1896 after the rest of the family had returned to England, and his mother, Mabel, died in 1904 near Birmingham, England. After Mabel’s death, Tolkien and his younger brother, Hilary, came under the care of Father Francis Morgan, a friend of the family’s. Soon after, Tolkien went to King Edward’s School and then to Oxford.

By 1916, Tolkien had received his degree and married his childhood sweetheart, Edith Bratt. He eventually took a teaching position at Oxford. By 1929, he had had his fourth child with Edith. During these years, he also began his great mythology of Middle-Earth, a compendium of stories called The Silmarillion. 

Out of these stories grew The Hobbit (1936), his first published work. A simple children’s story about a small person who takes part in great adventures, the novel’s playful tone and imagery made it a hit both with children and adults. The Hobbit’s success also gave Tolkien a huge public that was anxious to learn more about the meticulously developed world that he had created around his invented language and mythology, only a small part of which was detailed in The Hobbit.

The Hobbit’s plot and characters combined the ancient heroic Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian epics Tolkien studied with the middle-class rural England in which he lived. In many way...

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