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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Out of the Frying Pan-into the Fire: Pt.1

batik
Tol Eressea


Apr 28 2009, 5:02am

Post #1 of 15 (544 views)
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Out of the Frying Pan-into the Fire: Pt.1 Can't Post

and now, back to our regularly scheduled program...

This chapter seems to be full of movement—slowly and deliberately (then less so) down hills; scrambling up trees-- then up, up, and away into the Eagles’ eyrie; and down, down back to the ground.
Flora, fauna, food, fear, and flight are featured. For the first of five planned posts (read that as what is ready to go at this moment), I will focus on those words and phrases that stood out to me.
So…without additional alliteration…

“He had lost hood, cloak, food, pony, his buttons and his friends.”
1) In the Roast Mutton discussion (pt. 2) readers were asked about those things they took along when leaving home. “My” was used in six of the twelve replies (4 used “my” twice, while 2 used “my once”—I didn’t include the 3 year old but did include the wits!)
Any thoughts on why Tolkien indicated Bilbo’s ‘possession’ of two of the items (buttons and friends)? Why not 1? Or 3? And why those two in particular? When you use *my* does this indicate any special reverence for an object?

“I only hope to goodness…”;
“I wish to goodness…”
2) Bilbo hopes, while Gandalf wishes, to *goodness*.
Any ideas on why Tolkien chose to use different words?
What do you think *goodness* refers to?
How about you—a wisher or a hoper? Or are they one and the same?

“…then drat him…” “…confusticate him!”
From The Annotated Hobbit: “… confusticate appears in the 1989 second edition of the Oxford Dictionary, where it is described as a fantastic alteration of confound or confuse. Usage of the word is cited from as early as 1891, and in another example it is described as schoolboy slang.”
Definitions: confound (v.t.) to mingle; perplex; astonish; confuse; overthrow
confuse ((vt.) jumble up; render indistinct; disconcert
3) Alright, I’m not getting the connection. Are either *drat* or *confusticate* just another way of saying “forget him!”? What is a fantastic alteration?

4) Good heavens!”
What could that mean in Dwarf culture?

And he couldn’t guess in three goes.”
5) As in “I’ll have a go…”? Does anyone use “go” or has this been replaced by “try” and “turn”? Does “go” imply something other than “try”?

6) More words and phrases:
Where and o where;
Horrible, horrible, tunnels;
Hours and hours;
Miles and miles;
Quiet as quiet;
The night before the night before last
Hundreds and hundreds;
Quick [also high] as ever they could;
Round and round they came down, down, down;
Thoughts on these as being more appropriate (or pleasing) with regards to reading the story aloud as opposed to reading silently?

Any other words or phrases “jump out at” you? Please share!


(This post was edited by batik on Apr 28 2009, 5:04am)


Dreamdeer
Valinor


Apr 28 2009, 4:27pm

Post #2 of 15 (207 views)
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My thoughts [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you, Batik, for braving the whizzing fireworks, broken dishes and bottles, riotous revelers, and divers temptations, to bring us your presentation!

“He had lost hood, cloak, food, pony, his buttons and his friends.”
1) In the Roast Mutton discussion (pt. 2) readers were asked about those things they took along when leaving home. “My” was used in six of the twelve replies (4 used “my” twice, while 2 used “my once”—I didn’t include the 3 year old but did include the wits!)
Any thoughts on why Tolkien indicated Bilbo’s ‘possession’ of two of the items (buttons and friends)? Why not 1? Or 3? And why those two in particular? When you use *my* does this indicate any special reverence for an object?


It's a matter of rhythm. That particular combination of syllables and accents has a particularly satisfying sound.

“I only hope to goodness…”;
“I wish to goodness…”
2) Bilbo hopes, while Gandalf wishes, to *goodness*.
Any ideas on why Tolkien chose to use different words?
What do you think *goodness* refers to?
How about you—a wisher or a hoper? Or are they one and the same?

Off the top of my head, I'd say that the wishes of a maia have power in them, whereas hope is the power of the powerless.

I would say that "Goodness" refers to the cause or goal of Goodness, and by implication the Side of Good in the battle between good and evil. It can, if one wishes, connote a higher power interested in the promotion of goodness. Or, if one prefers, the urge to goodness in the heart.

“…then drat him…” “…confusticate him!”
From The Annotated Hobbit: “… confusticate appears in the 1989 second edition of the Oxford Dictionary, where it is described as a fantastic alteration of confound or confuse. Usage of the word is cited from as early as 1891, and in another example it is described as schoolboy slang.”
Definitions: confound (v.t.) to mingle; perplex; astonish; confuse; overthrow
confuse ((vt.) jumble up; render indistinct; disconcert
3) Alright, I’m not getting the connection. Are either *drat* or *confusticate* just another way of saying “forget him!”? What is a fantastic alteration?

In the old days, "confound" could also serve as a euphemism for "damn"--to drive the enemy (the devil, his minions, and all who side with him) into confusion at their sudden defeat, to perplex their plots, to send them scurrying around wildly like orcs suddenly cut off by the fall of Sauron. To say "confound him!
or "Confusticate him!" is a way of cussing without cussing.

A fantastic alteration is a fantastical (whimsical) way of warping something, often by combining related words, such as saying, "I absotively and posolutely agree!" (a fantastic alteration popular on the old TV show, Babylon 5) or "That is ginormous!" (current youthful slang for gigantic and enormous.) It's folksy and tends to lighten the intent somewhat. So for the dwarves to say "Confusticate him!" instead of "Confound him," is sort of like saying, "I'm mad at him for getting lost, but I don't really want to damn him, I'm just blowing off steam."

4) “Good heavens!”
What could that mean in Dwarf culture?


To rest in the special keeping of Aule.

And he couldn’t guess in three goes.”
5) As in “I’ll have a go…”? Does anyone use “go” or has this been replaced by “try” and “turn”? Does “go” imply something other than “try”?

Although I do say "I'll have a go at it," now and then, I most probably learned it from "The Hobbit" at an impressionable age. Why say "go" instead of "try"? It just has a folksy, comfortable feeling.

Or maybe more than that. In a sense, "try" has become slightly stained, over time, with a thin scum of potential failure. People too often say, "Well, I'll try..." to say, "Don't get your hopes up. I'll put on a show of effort, but I don't really expect it to lead anywhere. Hence Yoda's scolding of Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars movies, telling him to "do" rather than "try". "I'll have a go" has a more action-orientation than "try" (with try's implication that failure is an option.)

6) More words and phrases:
Where and o where;
Horrible, horrible, tunnels;
Hours and hours;
Miles and miles;
Quiet as quiet;
The night before the night before last
Hundreds and hundreds;
Quick [also high] as ever they could;
Round and round they came down, down, down;
Thoughts on these as being more appropriate (or pleasing) with regards to reading the story aloud as opposed to reading silently?


They almost seem to demand a humorous tone of voice.

Any other words or phrases “jump out at” you? Please share!

Well, there was one in the last chapter: "Miserabler." This deliberate mangling of grammar perfectly captured Bilbo's desperation, yet also lightened up the mood for the children. I know people don't want to hear this, but I could vividly picture Bilbo using the word years later in telling his story, as a way of laughing at himself and making light of what was really one of the most frightening moments of his entire life.

Life is beautiful and dangerous! Beware! Enjoy!

(This post was edited by Dreamdeer on Apr 28 2009, 4:29pm)


Darkstone
Immortal


Apr 28 2009, 6:40pm

Post #3 of 15 (148 views)
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Phrase association [In reply to] Can't Post

“He had lost hood, cloak, food, pony, his buttons and his friends.”
1) In the Roast Mutton discussion (pt. 2) readers were asked about those things they took along when leaving home. “My” was used in six of the twelve replies (4 used “my” twice, while 2 used “my once”—I didn’t include the 3 year old but did include the wits!)
Any thoughts on why Tolkien indicated Bilbo’s ‘possession’ of two of the items (buttons and friends)? Why not 1? Or 3? And why those two in particular?


Tolkien is playing on the two extremes: the minor loss of his buttons contrasted with the major loss of his friends.


When you use *my* does this indicate any special reverence for an object?

I learned long ago to be very careful what I called “my”.


“I only hope to goodness…”;
“I wish to goodness…”
2) Bilbo hopes, while Gandalf wishes, to *goodness*.
Any ideas on why Tolkien chose to use different words?


The former is passive, the latter is active, just as Bilbo is passive at first while Gandalf is active.


What do you think *goodness* refers to?

It’s what surrounds us, and penetrates us, and binds Middle-earth together.


How about you—a wisher or a hoper?

A whoper: “Oh, my goodness gracious me!”


Or are they one and the same?

Except when they’re not.


“…then drat him…” “…confusticate him!”

Or “Confound you, Dudley Doright!”


From The Annotated Hobbit: “… confusticate appears in the 1989 second edition of the Oxford Dictionary, where it is described as a fantastic alteration of confound or confuse. Usage of the word is cited from as early as 1891, and in another example it is described as schoolboy slang.”
Definitions: confound (v.t.) to mingle; perplex; astonish; confuse; overthrow
confuse ((vt.) jumble up; render indistinct; disconcert
3) Alright, I’m not getting the connection. Are either *drat* or *confusticate* just another way of saying “forget him!”?


“Curse you, and your little dog, too!”


What is a fantastic alteration?

Anything that is absitively posolutely fantabulous and twitterpated!

Or for Britons, "Ab-Fab!"


4) “Good heavens!”
What could that mean in Dwarf culture?


Something to do with being above ground.


“And he couldn’t guess in three goes.”
5) As in “I’ll have a go…”? Does anyone use “go” or has this been replaced by “try” and “turn”? Does “go” imply something other than “try”?


Valley girl-ese: “And he goes, and I then go, and then she goes, and then they go, and then we all go like, you know?”

Or Astronaut-ese: “We’re go!”

Or Oprah-ese: “You go, girl!”

Or Monkees: “Go-go girl!”

Or Texan-ese: I’m a'thinkin’ ‘bout a'fixin’ to get up and a'gettin’ ready to go.”


6) More words and phrases:
Where and o where


….has my little dog gone?
Where and o where can he be?
With his ears cut short and his tail cut long.
Where and o where can he be?


Horrible, horrible, tunnels

Double, boil and funnels.
Evil shall never vanquish'd be until
Great Fangorn wood to high Orthanc hill
Shall come, but that’s not until the sequel.


Hours and hours

Catholic Book of the?


Miles and miles;

“I know you've deceived me, now here's a surprise
I know that you have 'cause there's magic in my eyes
I can see for etc.”

Apparently Who had a palantir.

No, really, Who had a palantir!

I’m not asking you, I’m telling you: Who had a palantir!!


Quiet as quiet;

Ninja Gump: Quiet is as quiet does.


The night before the night before last

And the day before the day after yesterday.


Hundreds and hundreds

And a few inflationary periods later, it became Carl Sagan’s “billions and billions”.


Quick [also high] as ever they could

Almost sounds like a song by Talking Heads.


Round and round they came down, down, down

My favorite hit from 1957!

“Find a ring and put it round, round, round
And with ties so strong that two hearts are bound
Put it on the one you've found, found, found
For you know that this is really love.”

(Whoa! Who knew Perry Como was a Tolkien fan!!)


Thoughts on these as being more appropriate (or pleasing) with regards to reading the story aloud as opposed to reading silently?

They’re rich delicious frosting on a deeply satisfying angel food cake.

Savor them!

******************************************
The audacious proposal stirred his heart. And the stirring became a song, and it mingled with the songs of Gil-galad and Celebrian, and with those of Feanor and Fingon. The song-weaving created a larger song, and then another, until suddenly it was as if a long forgotten memory woke and for one breathtaking moment the Music of the Ainur revealed itself in all glory. He opened his lips to sing and share this song. Then he realized that the others would not understand. Not even Mithrandir given his current state of mind. So he smiled and simply said "A diversion.”



batik
Tol Eressea


Apr 28 2009, 7:10pm

Post #4 of 15 (137 views)
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"Miserabler" :)... [In reply to] Can't Post

well, truth be know it was Entmaiden's anagram over on Main that put the presentation at risk. Lollapalooza '96 (I think) prepared me for all the rest of the riotous activities.

And, yes, I agree...the rhythm of the words is very nice. Interesting,too, that there is a sight rhyme (I think that is the term) hood/food; a vowel-sound rhyme--pony/cloak; and an end-rhyme: buttons/friends. Excuse the less than exact terminology--been a while!

go/try/turn...agreeing again..."go" does somehow imply something more active...


batik
Tol Eressea


Apr 28 2009, 9:14pm

Post #5 of 15 (131 views)
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how do I respond to a Darkstone reply... [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
How about you—a wisher or a hoper?

A whoper: “Oh, my goodness gracious me!”


Hmmm...covering all the bases?
Kind of reminds me of that guy in The Mummy (I) when he came face-to-face with...the Mummy!


Quote

What is a fantastic alteration?

Anything that is absitively posolutely fantabulous and twitterpated!

Or for Britons, "Ab-Fab!"


Thinking I like the Britons way better!


Quote

The night before the night before last

And the day before the day after yesterday.


I'm so confused now!




sador
Half-elven

Apr 28 2009, 9:34pm

Post #6 of 15 (149 views)
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A few answers, some to the point [In reply to] Can't Post

Any thoughts on why Tolkien indicated Bilbo’s ‘possession’ of two of the items (buttons and friends)? Why not 1? Or 3? And why those two in particular?
Perhaps because these two are in the plural, and the single ones belonged to him more naturally?
When I say I take a credit card, you would naturally assume it is mine (it usually is, but a couple of times we got mixed up and I took my wife's by mistake Crazy).
But when Lobelia took spoons, it should have been clear they belonged to her (of course, assuming Bilbo was dead Sly).

When you use *my* does this indicate any special reverence for an object?
Now you remind me of 'Many Partings', and Saruman calling his lost pipeweed 'my own'!
About myself - not that I've ever noticed.

Any ideas on why Tolkien chose to use different words? What do you think *goodness* refers to? If it has a meaning - it might mean that Bilbo hopes, while Gandalf knows, that the Valar will listen. But I doubt it does so.

How about you—a wisher or a hoper? Or are they one and the same?
Based on the distinction I suggested above - I am a hoper. But what person labouring in this modern world knows for sure? I do believe, though.

Alright, I’m not getting the connection. Are either *drat* or *confusticate* just another way of saying “forget him!”?
No, it's like 'may he get lost'! Notice that Bilbo used 'confusticate and bebother' about the dwarves in chapter 1, so he richly deserves this one.

What is a fantastic alteration?
A mark of quality?

What could that mean in Dwarf culture?
The heavens Durin the Eldest saw in Mirrormere, which are referenced in Gimli's song in Moria. Gimli also mentions Kheled-zaram as a measure of clear vision (in 'The Great River'), which could in a convoluted way mean the dwarves experience faith like we do.

As in “I’ll have a go…”? Does anyone use “go” or has this been replaced by “try” and “turn”? Does “go” imply something other than “try”?
Last week, Morothorn noted that Gollum's language improves when reciting riddles; Bilbo's seem to deteriorate when talking of Gollum.
Dreamdeer would say it's the Ring's influence. Curious would point out that Tolkien had no idea what the Ring is when he wrote this chapter. I would sit back and enjoy.

Thoughts on these as being more appropriate (or pleasing) with regards to reading the story aloud as opposed to reading silently?
Good point! A cookie would be appropriate (and pleasing).

"What is all this uproar in the forest tonight?" - the Lord of the Eagles


Curious
Half-elven


Apr 28 2009, 11:38pm

Post #7 of 15 (128 views)
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Thoughts. [In reply to] Can't Post

“He had lost hood, cloak, food, pony, his buttons and his friends.”
Any thoughts on why Tolkien indicated Bilbo’s ‘possession’ of two of the items (buttons and friends)? Why not 1? Or 3? And why those two in particular? When you use *my* does this indicate any special reverence for an object?


The first four were not his. Remember Dwalin lent Bilbo a hood and cloak, and the food and pony were provided by the dwarves as well.

“I only hope to goodness…”;
“I wish to goodness…”
2) Bilbo hopes, while Gandalf wishes, to *goodness*.
Any ideas on why Tolkien chose to use different words?
What do you think *goodness* refers to?
How about you—a wisher or a hoper? Or are they one and the same?


Gandalf wants to change the past (I wish you hadn't lost him); Bilbo wants to learn good news about the present (I hope they are not still with the goblins). It would make sense for Gandalf to hope the dwarves had not lost them when they already had; and it wouldn't make sense for Bilbo to wish the dwarves were not with the goblins when he doesn't know if they are.

“…then drat him…” “…confusticate him!”
From The Annotated Hobbit: “… confusticate appears in the 1989 second edition of the Oxford Dictionary, where it is described as a fantastic alteration of confound or confuse. Usage of the word is cited from as early as 1891, and in another example it is described as schoolboy slang.”
Definitions: confound (v.t.) to mingle; perplex; astonish; confuse; overthrow
confuse ((vt.) jumble up; render indistinct; disconcert
3) Alright, I’m not getting the connection. Are either *drat* or *confusticate* just another way of saying “forget him!”?


More like a mild version of "damn him." In Tolkien's day "damn" was still a shocking word, and shocked audiences around the world when Rhett Butler used it at the end of Gone with the Wind. So there were many euphemisms for "damn." (In the early days of television, "jerk" was also forbidden.)

What is a fantastic alteration?

It apparently means deliberately creating a new word out of two more ordinary words. But I'm just getting that from context.

4) “Good heavens!”
What could that mean in Dwarf culture?


It's another "anachronism" due to the contemporary language of The Hobbit. Of course, in The Hobbit there is no "dwarf culture" to speak of. For all we know it is a Christian society. If you think the dwarves sound strange uttering mild vaguely-Christian epithets, how about the trolls?

On the other hand, even in LotR Denethor speaks of "heathen kings," and Gandalf speaks of "devilry." So Tolkien cannot get rid of all vaguely-Christian references in either book.

And he couldn’t guess in three goes.”
5) As in “I’ll have a go…”? Does anyone use “go” or has this been replaced by “try” and “turn”? Does “go” imply something other than “try”?


Based on this Google News search, I would say it is a phrase still used by English newspapers, and probably by Englishmen as well. And I know what it means, at least, even though I'm American.

6) More words and phrases:
Where and o where;
Horrible, horrible, tunnels;
Hours and hours;
Miles and miles;
Quiet as quiet;
The night before the night before last
Hundreds and hundreds;
Quick [also high] as ever they could;
Round and round they came down, down, down;
Thoughts on these as being more appropriate (or pleasing) with regards to reading the story aloud as opposed to reading silently?


Tolkien wrote The Hobbit to be read aloud to his children. On the other hand, there are parts of LotR (like the last part of The Siege of Gondor) that beg to be read aloud as well. Perhaps Tolkien was just used to ancient texts which were originally recited to audiences from memory by storytellers, and only incidentally written down.

Any other words or phrases “jump out at” you? Please share!

"the edge of the Land Beyond"

"not a bad little chap"

"a fearful confusion of slipping, rattling, cracking slabs and stones"



batik
Tol Eressea


Apr 29 2009, 2:35am

Post #8 of 15 (134 views)
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On buttons and friends... [In reply to] Can't Post

   

Quote

Perhaps because these two are in the plural, and the single ones belonged to him more naturally?


Hmmm...maybe but also see Curious' response to this one!

go and try--

Quote

Dreamdeer would say it's the Ring's influence. Curious would point out that Tolkien had no idea what the Ring is when he wrote this chapter. I would sit back and enjoy.


Laugh



Reptile
Rivendell


Apr 29 2009, 4:38am

Post #9 of 15 (157 views)
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Their clothes were mended as well as their bruises... [In reply to] Can't Post

"Their clothes were mended as well as their bruises, their tempers and their hopes." [From "A Short Rest." sorry if I missed that chapter discussion.]

This poetic style of his with the juxtaposition of physical and emotional things is a recurring theme throughout this story. I can't get enough of this stuff. I'm sure it's already been commented on, but I notice this is missing from the Lord of the Rings books.

"If you listen closely, you can hear the gods laughing."


Curious
Half-elven


Apr 29 2009, 10:55am

Post #10 of 15 (115 views)
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Correction. [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
It would make sense for Gandalf to hope the dwarves had not lost them when they already had


I meant it would not make sense for Gandalf to hope the dwarves had not lost them when they already had.


Dreamdeer
Valinor


Apr 29 2009, 4:19pm

Post #11 of 15 (104 views)
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My, my, my! [In reply to] Can't Post

I forgot to comment on the "my" part of the question. (Not surprising, considering the amount of champagne still flowing here in Torndor when I wrote it.) I agree that the first four things were given to him.

Disjointed aside: Did you know that the Rom language does not have a word for "my" in the sense of possession, only of affiliation? One can say "my mother", but not "my boots." The Romany (Gypsy) culture did not originally have any concept of ownership at all! Even today, the word for "steal" is practically identical to a Dom (tribe of Asian Indian) word for "use" (the Dom culture being presumed the ancestor of the Romany.) So, in the Rom language, "my buttons" would make no sense, but "my friends" would.

Life is beautiful and dangerous! Beware! Enjoy!


batik
Tol Eressea


Apr 30 2009, 12:34am

Post #12 of 15 (124 views)
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Thanks for joining in Reptile [In reply to] Can't Post

we've got a ways to go--hope to see you along the way.
If there is any "poetic style of his with the juxtaposition of physical and emotional things" to be found within LOTR --someone in the RR will find it!


grammaboodawg
Immortal


May 5 2009, 7:40pm

Post #13 of 15 (77 views)
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I think the repeated use of words [In reply to] Can't Post

appeals to the children's story aspect. I like it because it makes a line more musical :)

But your question about hope opposed to goodness in Bilbo and Gandalf's remarks struck me. It really shows their different mindsets to the situation. To me, hope means you're anticipating that the outcome could be good, but it's fraught with unknowns... whereas to wish means you have a greater understanding the everything involved, and you are almost requesting to a higher power for a certain outcome.

Bilbo hopes for an outcome, Gandalf wishes for it.


sample

"There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West."
~Hug like a hobbit!~ "In my heaven..."

I really need these new films to take me back to, and not re-introduce me to, that magical world.



TORn's Observations Lists


batik
Tol Eressea


May 6 2009, 3:35am

Post #14 of 15 (101 views)
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on hope.. [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
Bilbo hopes for an outcome, Gandalf wishes for it.


For me, *wish* can imply a sense of magic or at least looking for some intervention from something external to the person. After all wishes are granted, right? *Hope* on the other hand implies something more internal and personal...something that motivates and inspires. .



grammaboodawg
Immortal


May 6 2009, 11:25am

Post #15 of 15 (143 views)
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That's it! :D [In reply to] Can't Post

There... you've said it perfectly :D


sample

"There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West."
~Hug like a hobbit!~ "In my heaven..."

I really need these new films to take me back to, and not re-introduce me to, that magical world.



TORn's Observations Lists

 
 

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