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Travis Finlayson
9/21/98
The Hobbit First Half Journal Response

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien is a classic fantasy that opens the setting to the series The Lord Of the Rings. Writing a journal response to this novel is a lot harder than writing one for The Catcher in the Rye because the symbolism and ideas are less obvious than those of The Catcher in the Rye. However there some ideas and symbolism that I have picked up in the first chapter of this novel.

One of the main themes in The Hobbit is that of maturation. Like Holden in The Catcher in the Rye Bilbo Baggins has to grow up in some way. Bilbo isn't on the verge of becoming a man though, since he has already past childhood "being about fifty years old or so.(page 3)" On the other hand, during the adventures he is constantly wanting security or is dependent on people. He would many times wish himself back at his home saying "'I wish I was at home in my nice hole by the fire, with the kettle just beginning to sing.(page 32)'" Or when asked what was better than flying he was about to respond "A warm bath and late breakfast on the lawn afterwards.(pages 111-12)" He is also dependent on Gandalf sometimes, such as the time that Gandalf had to come back to the Hobbit hole to remind him of the adventure (pages 28-29). Through the course of the story I believe that Bilbo will become less dependent on people and will have to if he is going to beat Smaug on his own.

A few questions came up in my discussion group of who the character Gandalf represented in the story. Gandalf the Wizard helps out Bilbo and the Dwarves on their quest for what seems to be no reason. He helps them on their quest, but then drops out before the most "dangerous part of all the journey.(page138)", Mirkwood. Another thing that baffles me is that he isn't really interested in the gold that may come at the end. Though he says "I think I have earned some of your dragon-gold,(page 114)" I don't believe that he really cares about the gold as much as the dwarves do. I think that one of the main reasons that Gandalf is helping the dwarves is that he is constantly searching for knowledge. As a wizard he needs to know everything he can. Or maybe he went on the adventure for the pure enjoyment it brings to him.

Another thing about Gandalf is how he seems to be able to see into the future. This could explain why he picked Bilbo to come along with them, since he is just an ordinary Hobbit, and how he seemed to know that Bilbo left something out of his story, which he did." Gandolf seems to always know everything that goes on and always disappears and then shows up in time to save the day. I wonder if I will know everything about Gandalf by the end of the book.