Our Sponsor Sideshow Collectibles Send us News
Lord of the Rings Tolkien
Search Tolkien
Lord of The RingsTheOneRing.net - Forged By And For Fans Of JRR Tolkien
Lord of The Rings Serving Middle-Earth Since The First Age

Lord of the Rings Movie News - J.R.R. Tolkien
Do you enjoy the 100% volunteer, not for profit services of TheOneRing.net?
Consider a donation!

  Main Index   Search Posts   Who's Online   Log in
The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
**Out of the Frying Pan...** Part VII – 'An anguish had pursued him from dream to dream'.

sador
Half-elven


Aug 20 2012, 10:20am

Post #1 of 13 (926 views)
Shortcut
**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?


Quote

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!


Istari68
The Shire


Aug 23 2012, 12:03am

Post #2 of 13 (538 views)
Shortcut
Question 6... [In reply to] Can't Post

Question 6:

Could the dream refer to Bilbo's Took side taking over? That is he is more content to be outside in an adventure, yet there is still an unease about domestic life in the shire and the losing of something that cannot be regained.


sador
Half-elven


Aug 23 2012, 9:40am

Post #3 of 13 (511 views)
Shortcut
Why now? [In reply to] Can't Post

Is there anything in this chapter (after the first couple of pages) that suggests anything Tookish?

"In the morning Bilbo misses breakfast. – is this the most unbelievable part of this chapter?"
- Elven



The weekly discussion of The Hobbit is back. Join us in the Reading Room for a somewhat less clever discussion of Queer Lodgings!


Istari68
The Shire


Aug 24 2012, 1:06pm

Post #4 of 13 (510 views)
Shortcut
Why now reply... [In reply to] Can't Post

For me, the fact he is even on the adventure is Tookish, every step he's taking outside of the Shire, in a sense, expresses his Took-side.


titanium_hobbit
Rohan


Aug 25 2012, 1:53am

Post #5 of 13 (551 views)
Shortcut
the dream [In reply to] Can't Post

I have always thought that the dream is a ring foreshadow. Of course, Gollum lost the ring, so it makes sense that the theme of losing is hinted at here.

The dream makes me uncomfortable, especially through LOTR eyes.

Does Frodo have a similar dream, or am i mis-remembering?


Hobbit firster, Book firster.


Have you explored all of TORN's forums?


sador
Half-elven


Aug 26 2012, 9:50am

Post #6 of 13 (528 views)
Shortcut
In 'Journey to the Cross-roads', Sam has something similar: [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
...It was his turn to sleep first, and he was soon deep in a dream. He thought he was back in the Bag End garden looking for something; but he had a heavy pack on his back, which made him stoop. It all seemed very weedy and rank somehow, and thorns and bracken were invading the beds down near the bottom hedge.
'A job of work for me, I can see; but I'm so tired,' he kept on saying. Presently he remembered what he was looking for. 'My pipe!' he said, and with that he woke up.
'Silly!' he said to himself, as he opened his eyes and wondered why he was lying down under the hedge. 'It's in your pack all the time!' Then he realized, first that the pipe might be in his pack but he had no leaf, and next that he was hundreds of miles from Bag End. He sat up. It seemed to be almost dark. Why had his master let him sleep on out of turn, right on till evening?

Is this what you've meant?


"In the morning Bilbo misses breakfast. – is this the most unbelievable part of this chapter?"
- Elven



The weekly discussion of The Hobbit is back. Join us in the Reading Room for a somewhat less clever discussion of Queer Lodgings!


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Aug 29 2012, 3:21am

Post #7 of 13 (529 views)
Shortcut
You did have to do that, didn't you! [In reply to] Can't Post

Link to the "Mark Reads" the Hobbit! Do you have any idea how hard it is to not continue on with reading that blog? Evil

Now...where was I...

For a famished person, I'd go with the protein plus any water to wash it down, but the best would be meat between slices of that buttered bread!

Bilbo sleeping soundly on the rocks brings to mind Aragorn's ability to fall into a good sleep in the middle of the Rohan plains. Exhaustion will do that to you!

And that dream: other than it being a typical action of someone my age (wandering into a room to look for something, and forgetting what it was), I see it as Bilbo's desire to wander back home, but what he can't find is: his way!

All things considered, thank you for leading us in discussing this, ah, hare-raising adventure! Wink


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"

"It struck me last night that you might write a fearfully good romantic drama, with as much of the 'supernatural' as you cared to introduce. Have you ever thought of it?"
-Geoffrey B. Smith, letter to JRR Tolkien, 1915




sador
Half-elven


Aug 29 2012, 7:20am

Post #8 of 13 (518 views)
Shortcut
Yes, I had to... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Link to the "Mark Reads" the Hobbit! Do you have any idea how hard it is to not continue on with reading that blog? Evil


I remember hanne linking to it just after Mark finished The Hobbit, so I remember well enough how difficult it is to stop.

When he finished that one, he promised to read LotR afterwards, so I occasionally checked, and found it when he got to A Coinspiracy Unmasked. I followed his reading, and managed to avoid logging on just to comment. However, fantasy fan did.


In Reply To
For a famished person, I'd go with the protein plus any water to wash it down, but the best would be meat between slices of that buttered bread!


Not kosher. Would mayonnaise do?


In Reply To
Bilbo sleeping soundly on the rocks brings to mind Aragorn's ability to fall into a good sleep in the middle of the Rohan plains. Exhaustion will do that to you!


True.
It is interesting how Jackson and co. used this transformation, but gave it to Sam, isn't it?


In Reply To
And that dream: other than it being a typical action of someone my age (wandering into a room to look for something, and forgetting what it was), I see it as Bilbo's desire to wander back home, but what he can't find is: his way!


Probably that. But in a sad way, I think it foreshadows Bilbo's fading at the end of The Return of the King.


"When light finally begins to come into our lives after a long darkness, only to reveal that one has still farther to go, what various ways might one react?"
- Dreamdeer



The weekly discussion of The Hobbit is back. Join us in the Reading Room for a somewhat less clever discussion of Flies and Spiders!


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Aug 29 2012, 4:07pm

Post #9 of 13 (515 views)
Shortcut
Agree with Titanium Hobbit [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
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.


Tolkien, even then, may have intended for this to contain a thread of his encounter with Gollum.

On the other hand, and not knowing if this was inserted during the rewrite (but assuming it wasn't), this may be yet another example of the greater story impressing itself upon Tolkien, in spite of his own conscious efforts. Dreams are like that, but also, my sense is, writing (or any profound act of creating something from nothing) is like that: you insert an element whose raison d'etre can only be understood with the application of time. In this sense the dream may be the Ring -- not that Tolkien imagined such things at the time, as far as we know -- was beginning to impress itself upon Bilbo's will.

Addiction is like that too, as the passage concerning Sam's dream in The Lord of the Rings would indicate. I'm not sure that in Tolkien's day people were overly concerned about the addictive nature of tobacco; however, being a contemplative sort, I am sure Tolkien was aware of its effects and interested in understanding its properties. Speculations aside, dreams of looking for something that is lost, often the lost thing being the object of their addiction, are common among people who struggle with addiction.

(This post was edited by SirDennisC on 0 secs ago)


sador
Half-elven


Aug 30 2012, 11:29am

Post #10 of 13 (481 views)
Shortcut
So who is dreaming here? [In reply to] Can't Post

Is it Bilbo, looking for the Ring - and why would he do so?

Or is Bilbo a projection of Tolkien himself, looking for the larger story this children's tale will expand to?

"When light finally begins to come into our lives after a long darkness, only to reveal that one has still farther to go, what various ways might one react?"
- Dreamdeer



The weekly discussion of The Hobbit is back. Join us in the Reading Room for a somewhat less clever discussion of Flies and Spiders!


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Aug 30 2012, 2:30pm

Post #11 of 13 (537 views)
Shortcut
Only Dreamdeer could say for sure [In reply to] Can't Post

Bilbo, of course, is the one having the dream. He may have been experiencing some residue from his encounter with Gollum, perhaps feeling empathy -- or a little guilt for his part in the loss -- toward the creature for having lost something precious.

Or it may have had nothing to do with anything. What is odd is it seems a specific sort of dream yet does not advance the plot in any discernible way. So why include it at all?

What I am suggesting is Tolkien may have been aware of the effect that things that impress themselves upon one's will have on one's psyche. Now it might have been a pipe of tobacco that Bilbo was missing (as it was with Sam). It had been some time since he had a smoke. Tolkien likely had first hand knowledge of what happens to a person's mind the longer the interval between smokes. (In fact he had Gandalf comment about needing a pipe to clear or focus his mind when the Fellowship became lost in Moria. People who smoke, at least those who aren't delusional, know that tobacco doesn't clear your mind, rather it chases away the distractedness associated with (nicotine) withdrawal.)

On the other hand, if Tolkien just inserted the dream for its flavour, and wasn't thinking of the root (or leaf) of the dream at all, it might just as well have been the Ring then. That the incident fits with what the Ring was to become in his legendarium, might be mere coincidence. But more likely, to me anyway, it is another example of the profundity of the creative process he was engaged in while writing about Middle-earth.

Sorry I can't back up or refute the above ideas with articles by this or that Tolkien scholar. My comments are based on a layman's understanding of dream psychology, some statistical knowledge about common dreams among addicts, and study/experience of the theoretical side of the creative process.

Angelic

(This post was edited by SirDennisC on 0 secs ago)

(This post was edited by SirDennisC on Aug 30 2012, 2:33pm)


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Aug 31 2012, 3:00am

Post #12 of 13 (480 views)
Shortcut
Mayonnaise? [In reply to] Can't Post

That would be tastier! You could also use margarine between the bread and meat - that stuff is hardly dairy. Laugh (Or, perhaps, spread on some vegemite...Tongue)

Now that is a sad thought, that Bilbo's dream might indicate his later fading! Then again, one could say that there are many ways to "lose one's way" - and that's one of them. Unsure


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"

"It struck me last night that you might write a fearfully good romantic drama, with as much of the 'supernatural' as you cared to introduce. Have you ever thought of it?"
-Geoffrey B. Smith, letter to JRR Tolkien, 1915




sador
Half-elven


Sep 2 2012, 10:13am

Post #13 of 13 (668 views)
Shortcut
Ah! [In reply to] Can't Post

Bilbo did know were his pipe was - he just lost his matches (see Riddles in the Dark):

Quote
After some time he felt for his pipe. It was not broken, and that was something. Then he felt for his pouch, and there was some tobacco in it, and that was something more. Then he felt for matches and he could not find any at all, and that shattered his hopes completely. Just as well for him, as he agreed when he came to his senses. Goodness knows what the striking of matches and the smell of tobacco would have brought on him out of dark holes in that horrible place. Still at the moment he felt very crushed.



Which might point to the right answer, considering the end of our chapter:

Quote
Gandalf, too, was lying down after doing his part in setting the fire going, since Oin and Gloin had lost their tinder-boxes. (Dwarves have never taken to matches even yet.)



Perhaps Bilbo was still trying to find how he might be of any tangible use? Just what is it that the Dwarves lacked, and the fat, bourgeoise Baggins could provide?





As a side question, remembering Thorin's beautiful smoke-rings in Bag End -
Just how did Thorin (and Gimli) smoke when he wasn't in a hobbit-hole? How do you light a pipe using a tinder-box?

"When light finally begins to come into our lives after a long darkness, only to reveal that one has still farther to go, what various ways might one react?"
- Dreamdeer



The weekly discussion of The Hobbit is back. Join us in the Reading Room for a somewhat less clever discussion of Flies and Spiders!

 
 

Search for (options) Powered by Gossamer Forum v.1.2.3

home | advertising | contact us | back to top | search news | join list | Content Rating

This site is maintained and updated by fans of The Lord of the Rings, and is in no way affiliated with Tolkien Enterprises or the Tolkien Estate. We in no way claim the artwork displayed to be our own. Copyrights and trademarks for the books, films, articles, and other promotional materials are held by their respective owners and their use is allowed under the fair use clause of the Copyright Law. Design and original photography however are copyright © 1999-2012 TheOneRing.net. Binary hosting provided by Nexcess.net

Do not follow this link, or your host will be blocked from this site. This is a spider trap.