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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
**Out of the Frying Pan...** Part VII – 'An anguish had pursued him from dream to dream'.


Aug 20 2012, 10:20am

Views: 832
**Out of the Frying Pan...** Part VII – 'An anguish had pursued him from dream to dream'. Can't Post

Well, another chapter is finished! Or nearly so. Later today (I hope), Pryderi will begin leading us in reading Queer Lodgings. Thank you to all who have participated or lurked!

Two general questions:

In this chapter, Bilbo has many narrow escapes – far more than in any other chapter: he hears his friends' voices just as he makes up his mind to return to the tunnels; the avalanche is stopped just be the pine-trees at the bottom; Dori gets back up the trees just in time; the Lord of the Eagles gets Gandalf just as he intends to jump; Dori and Bilbo are picked up just before the crown of the trees is kindled; and finally, Bilbo lets go of Dori's legs just as the eagle bearing them gets to the eyrie.

1. Did Tolkien overdo this? Or can some of these by rationally explained? What is the impression this leaves on the reader?

And regarding rabbits:

It is well known that Tolkien tried very hard to rebut any comparison between hobbits and rabbits, from when the book was first published (letters 25 and 27) to late in his life (letter 319); however, Shippey was unimpressed by his protests, (Author of the Century, ch. 2) and even Anderson concedes there is more to it than "vulgar trollery" (as per letter 25); in both this chapter and the next, Bilbo is compared to a rabbit by three different voices: the narrator, the eagle carrying him to the Carrock, and Beorn. A mostly non-serious discussion (but with useful quotes, including one in which Tolkien shows a somewhat different attitude) of this can be found here, and a more serious essay here.

2. Did any of these parallels – linguistic, etymological, constant use of the simile in the book – ever strike you? What do you think of it?

I note that in the eagles' eyrie, the dwarves and Bilbo broke their fast on "rabbits, hares, and a small sheep"; and in The Lord of the Rings, Frodo and Sam feast on stewed rabbit.

3. Given the prominence of the theme of being eaten in the book (which I have recently refered to here, in question 6) – does anyone want to go Freudian about this?


So ended the adventures of the Misty Mountains. Soon Bilbo's stomach was feeling full and comfortable again, and he felt he could sleep contentedly, though really he would have liked a loaf and butter better than bits of meat toasted on sticks. He slept curled up on the hard rock more soundly than ever he had done on his feather-bed in his own little hole at home. But all night he dreamed of his own house and wandered in his sleep into all his different rooms looking for something that he could not find nor remember what it looked like.

4. What do you prefer – a loaf and butter or toasted meat? Which is more nourishing, or better in any other sense, for a famished person?
5. What is the comparison of sleeping curled on a rock better than on one's feather-bed supposed to convey? That Bilbo has turned into a seasoned trooper? Or that anyone who is dead tired would sleep like that? Or just that's its bed-time, so we turn off the lamp, leaving only a nightlight, tuck the child in and wish him/her a good night?
6. Does the troubled dream Bilbo had contradict the assertion that he slept soundly?
7. And what do you think he was looking for?

Any more comments on this chapter? Just for the fun of it, this is Mark Oshiro's take, in which he considers this a chapter in which "Bilbo discovers he does have value, so he just runs with it".
Thank you all again!

"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..."
- batik

The weekly discussion of The Hobbit is back. Join us in the Reading Room for a somewhat less clever discussion of Out of the Frying Pan-into the Fire!

Subject User Time
**Out of the Frying Pan...** Part VII – 'An anguish had pursued him from dream to dream'. sador Send a private message to sador Aug 20 2012, 10:20am
    Question 6... Istari68 Send a private message to Istari68 Aug 23 2012, 12:03am
        Why now? sador Send a private message to sador Aug 23 2012, 9:40am
            Why now reply... Istari68 Send a private message to Istari68 Aug 24 2012, 1:06pm
    the dream titanium_hobbit Send a private message to titanium_hobbit Aug 25 2012, 1:53am
        In 'Journey to the Cross-roads', Sam has something similar: sador Send a private message to sador Aug 26 2012, 9:50am
        Agree with Titanium Hobbit SirDennisC Send a private message to SirDennisC Aug 29 2012, 4:07pm
            So who is dreaming here? sador Send a private message to sador Aug 30 2012, 11:29am
                Only Dreamdeer could say for sure SirDennisC Send a private message to SirDennisC Aug 30 2012, 2:30pm
                    Ah! sador Send a private message to sador Sep 2 2012, 10:13am
    You did have to do that, didn't you! dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Aug 29 2012, 3:21am
        Yes, I had to... sador Send a private message to sador Aug 29 2012, 7:20am
            Mayonnaise? dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Aug 31 2012, 3:00am


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