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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Some thoughts


Aug 10 2012, 2:33am

Views: 159
Some thoughts [In reply to] Can't Post

I don’t know what a realistic description of being thrown violently onto a stone surface should consist of, but Bilbo does get up slowly, his head “swimming,” and he crawls around for a time before sitting in one place “for a long while.” That seems convincing enough to me to suggest a stunned awakening from a blow. Whether someone would then think of food and tobacco, I have no idea, but Bilbo’s desire for bacon and eggs (he did just wake up, after all) and a smoke is in keeping with his hobbit nature. It’s been a long time since I’ve been around people who smoke, but my parents and many of their generation reached for a cigarette on all occasions – after a meal, in a conversation, before breakfast, driving in the car, etc. (Imagine every scene in the TV show Mad Men, and you get an accurate idea of how it was when I was a child). It seems that Bilbo’s reaction is that same sort of automatic reaching for a smoke at the moment he sits to rest and possibly to think. I can’t imagine that you’d find such a scene written in a children’s book published today.

Surely Bilbo hasn’t been wearing the sword inside his breeches since he first found it! I took this line to mean that in the confusion and fighting with the goblins in the previous chapter, there was no time for Bilbo to think of his own sword, let alone try to use it, especially since Beater and Biter were such a focus of attention. As he is getting less groggy now in the tunnel, he realizes that he has his own sword.

I like the line about hobbits having a fund of wisdom and wise sayings because that proverbial knowledge is something that Tolkien values highly throughout his work. But does Bilbo have any wise sayings to help him in this chapter?

As for Tolkien’s stylistic choices, I can’t make up my mind whether I like them or not. Are words like “tireder” and “miserabler” a way of talking down to children, or making fun of their language? The “Ugh” works well for someone reading the story aloud. I have to admit I enjoy the play with words when putting Bilbo “in a tight place” –the cliché comes first and then it’s explained literally. That list of stylistic choices, though, really makes clear what a firm hand the narrator has in guiding the reader’s reactions.

Glad to be able to pop in for the discussion, though I’ve been missing a lot – hard to find an internet connection on the beach!

Subject User Time
** The Hobbit, “Riddles in the Dark”** 1. – On and on he went, and down and down squire Send a private message to squire Aug 7 2012, 12:29am
    1937 geordie Send a private message to geordie Aug 7 2012, 12:32pm
        Thanks! squire Send a private message to squire Aug 7 2012, 5:22pm
            You're welcome - geordie Send a private message to geordie Aug 7 2012, 6:04pm
    Answers sador Send a private message to sador Aug 8 2012, 8:05am
        That does make sense dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Aug 9 2012, 2:01am
    Tobacco, Elven blades and other stuff Hamfast Gamgee Send a private message to Hamfast Gamgee Aug 8 2012, 8:45am
        Smoking in the trenches/tunnels dernwyn Send a private message to dernwyn Aug 9 2012, 1:55am
    Thoughts. Curious Send a private message to Curious Aug 8 2012, 9:43pm
    Some thoughts Modtheow Send a private message to Modtheow Aug 10 2012, 2:33am


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