the nature of hobbits

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rednell
Posts: 1798

the nature of hobbits

Post#1 » Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

Welcome to PT musicimprovedme.
Nice post! Although I never doubted the motives of Gandalf and the Rangers for protecting the shire, I never considered using the innocence of childhood as an analogy.
I, too, look forward to hearing more of your insight into Tolkien's works. :D

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Tinúviel
Posts: 510

the nature of hobbits

Post#2 » Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

A very good point musicimprovedme, and welcome to planet-tolkien!

To further what you have already said: I think that the Hobbit race are like children... innocent, defenceless and down right ungrateful at times, but like children grow up so does the Hobbit race. Towards the end of LotR - The Scouring of the Shire is like their coming of age: The big people have looked after them up til now and have taken care of the greater problems, but now it's up to them to start fending for themselves. This maturing process is followed more intimately and reflected in the growth/development of the key Hobbit characters.

elemuel
Posts: 22

the nature of hobbits

Post#3 » Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

I look at the hobbits as representative of the "P'u", the Taoist "uncarved block". Simplicity, left alone, retains it strength, carved, or chipped into, it becomes a wholly other thing. When Gandalf confronts Frodo with the facts that the ring is THE RING, gandalf is amazed at Frodo's simple and powerful response. It's that "unknowing" aspect of the hobbit that provides their strength. But I wouldn't bet that deliberate isolationism on the hobbit's part meansthey are weak. Those who choose to live different from the others in the world around them are often the strongest. It is true however that this forces responsibilities onto others, and could be seen as greedy or self-centered on the part of the hobbits, but they do pay with their ignorance of the outside world. So their strength is their weakness, and how does their enemy know where to attack. JRR takes pains to emphasise the hobbits diminutive physical stature, but shows us all the while that the size of the container is no measure of the spirit. :smoke:

musicimprovedme
Posts: 240

the nature of hobbits

Post#5 » Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

Wow, what a huge amount of insight to be shown, I appreciate all this discussion and expansion on my ideas. If I may respond to the commentary since I posted: (keep in mind please that I am reading for the first time and only starting TTT)

I definitely agree that the hobbits are growing and developing both as individuals and as a race, and that this follows my original thinking that the hobbits are very childlike. I can see this even as I read TTT for the first time, and absorb the idea that Frodo is prepared to abandon the Fellowship and continue on to Mordor alone, and also as I read about Merry and Pippin's courage after the Orcs kidnap them, and Sam's level of perception at finding Frodo. It seems that the hobbits in this story all go through a growing up period, do we think this is an actual changing of the hobbits or merely an unfolding of what we learn about them?

What an interesting comparison to the Taoist "uncarved block". I don't know if I agree completely that something untouched and simple retains its dignity and strength...although I think we have already discussed that keeping the hobbits and the Shire safe and comfortable is a noble pursuit, that there is a quiet dignity and beauty in the hobbits way of life that IS worth protecting. But does naivete really bring out our strength as much as harship, both for us and the hobbits alike? Indeed, I think we find our strength in facing challenges and overcoming them, we only know what we are really made of when we are forced, by life events, to use it. Perhaps there are two faces to beauty and one of them is the eventual coming of age of the hobbits as a race, even if this is a bittersweet reality.

So what is to be said about Frodo's acceptance of the Ring? Do you think that Frodo really knows what he is getting into or does he decide out of ignorance? Do you think that Frodo would have chosen differently with more information in the beginning? (I would hope for the sake of his character, that he would have done the same knowing what he was in for or not.) Does he make selfish choices or not? It seems that each answer to each question would say different things about Frodo.

I personally think that both things happen in different times, and what may seem like a small chore at first, albeit a daunting task for a home-loving hobbit, grows in magnitude from what Frodo originally thought as the story unfolds. At first, Frodo is only concerned with getting the Ring out of the Shire, which would seem both selfish and selfless...seeing as how the choice is not only about Frodo himself but is really only for the hobbits and the shire. It may be that Frodo is thinking (somewhat realistically) "how hard can it be? I will take the Ring to Rivendell and come back home", even if he does respect the grave manner in which Gandalf speaks about the Ring, not discounting it. Still, it may seem to him that the scariest thing he will face is leaving home even if he is on a very important errand. And then the Riders do find Frodo's trail...and he begins to feel the evil surrounding the Ring...and he starts to realize the magnitude of what he is doing. And certainly after the Counsel of Elrond in Rivendell, Frodo knows that he is much more wrapped up in this than he originally was, because it seems that Frodo realizes at that point that even if he doesn't know everything about the Ring, he knows that it is powerful enough to start corrupting even the Counsel as they discuss what to do with it (thinking of Boromir here). Frodo's motive then expands to not only include himself and his people's way of life in the Shire, but all of middle earth...making him wayyyyyyyyy more than just a selfish little hobbit...when he takes it upon himself to carry the Ring into Mordor.

Another thought I want to pose about Frodo's character...what do you think of this? How important is the Took Blood in this particular family of hobbits to the unfolding of events in the story?? We learn from "The Hobbit" that Bilbo blames his Took blood for the somewhat spontaneous way that he flies out of his home (without a HANDKERCHIEF no less ) to catch up with the dwarves, when he just as easily could have stayed home after the dwarves left his home on the morning of the beginning of his own adventure. But go he does, despite his upbringing as an honorable hobbit with no need for adventure. I guess for Frodo, my question is: How much do we think Bilbo's experience (and maybe the Took blood both directly and indirectly) has shaped Frodo into the kind of hobbit who would decide to carry the Ring. It is pretty much agreed I think that the Ringbearer would need to be someone who is resilient to its power, and his innocence as a hobbit does give Frodo that strength...but could or would any ordinary hobbit have done this? Or is there something special about Frodo, even if he and Bilbo are considered an oddity to other hobbits, that makes him the only hobbit that will do?

SIGH...such a beautiful story, and so rich a discussion, but enough for now. I look forward to replies and more commentary from you all. By the way, how many times do you think it is necessary to really get a good handle on LOTR? :read:

musicimprovedme
Posts: 240

the nature of hobbits

Post#6 » Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

oops, My question there at the end was supposed to read: how many times do you think a person should need to read LOTR to get an adequate story? I personally think I'm doing ok with my first reading but I have the movies and internet and other background reading to help me through it...and I hope to crack this book many more times in the future, it has taken its place as one of my favorite works ever.

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grondmaster
Posts: 25451

the nature of hobbits

Post#8 » Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

Welcome to our forum Musicimprovedme. :happyelf:

When I read the LotR for the first time it was merely for the story and what would happen next: pure escapism. The next few times it was to refresh my memory and each time I picked up a few more things I had missed before. I have never read it as a study, as that would be work and besides would reduce its magic. Now, I just read the various parts looking for answers to the members' questions and gather my insights from their discussion. And of course drawing on the 8000 year history of Middle-earth from The Silmarillion makes the LotR even more meaningful as I see how events dovetail into the whole.
'Share and enjoy'

musicimprovedme
Posts: 240

the nature of hobbits

Post#9 » Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

Thanks for the welcome Grondmaster, I personally am kind of a sadist when it comes to understanding anything that entertains me and I enjoy a good thorough dig. When I like a song for example, I not only listen to the rest of the CD but I find other CD's and then read up on the artist and then read up on the people that inspired them. I'm a total NERD that way. I love Tolkien because it is so meaty that there is a lot to talk about. I do confess that unlike the Tolkienheads that have been around forever, I have only jumped on the bandwagon due to the movies...but it would have happened eventually movie or no movie because I love to read and I have recently started to enjoy the fantasy genre. I'm absorbing it like rice takes WATER! The movie has helped me to see the big picture of the story and made the book less intimidating. I confess that even as an intelligent avid reader, I am easily distracted so I always thought that LOTR would be a very difficult read. It is a challenge for me but the sheer depth of the material has made it SOOOO worth it.

I am really enjoying all this conversation by the way, keeps me from boring the people I know outside "the little gray box" who are not NEARLY as wrapped up in this LOTR thing as me. :boring:
______________________________________________________
(Grondy moved your geographical paragraph to [u]Hard time with all the geographic detail in Tolkien's work?[/u] under [u]Places[/u].) :happyelf:

(Grondy moved your "So what else do you guys enjoy reading?" paragraph to [u]The Return of just what exactly are you reading[/u] under [u]The Green Dragon Tavern[/u].) :happyelf:

(Grondy moved your "LOTR to Christianity?" paragraph to [u]God in Lord of the Rings[/u] under [u]The Golden Perch Tavern[/u].) :happyelf:
nn[Edited on 3/2/2003 by Grondmaster]

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grondmaster
Posts: 25451

the nature of hobbits

Post#10 » Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

Well we seem to have strayed quite aways from hobbits here and have opened about three different topics in this thread. :happyelf:

Toward rectifying this I moved the three paragraphs as denoted above. Look for them under my name and a posting date of 04 February 2003. :moderator: nn[Edited on 3/2/2003 by Grondmaster]
'Share and enjoy'

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