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Why J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’ Isn’t Just For Kids
Wall Street Journal ^ | September 21, 2012 | Corey Olsen

Posted on 10/17/2012 1:01:51 PM PDT by Altariel

One of the most consistently underappreciated elements of “The Hobbit” is Tolkien’s use of poetry and song throughout the book. Most readers skim over the poems or even skip them outright, but they miss out on some of Tolkien’s most thoughtful and compelling literary moments. The songs in “The Hobbit” are not merely verses embedded in the story; they are poems carefully designed to capture the voices and illustrate the attitudes of their singers.

The simple chant of the goblins when they first capture Bilbo and the dwarves, for instance, gives readers a stark insight into the goblin outlook on life in just the first few short lines: “Clap! Snap! the black crack! / Grip, grab! Pinch, nab!” The harsh, explosive consonants and the action-focused, verb-heavy monosyllables instantly immerse readers in the hard, violent world of the goblins, who take simple pleasure in acts of cruelty. The dwarves’ song in Bilbo’s kitchen, in which they cheerfully threaten to “Chip the glasses and crack the plates!” sounds similar, but reflects their comparative mildness and the domesticity of their (merely humorous) threats through the complexity of their phrasing and poetic lines. The Wood-elves also sing a monosyllabic song as they watch their barrels roll into the river, but their soft liquid consonants (“roll-roll-rolling down the hole!”) and their enjoyment of amusing sounds (“Heave ho! Splash plump!”) show that their simple pleasures are as innocent as the goblins’ are cruel. Tolkien’s poetry enriches and complements not only the plot of the story, but the development of his fictional world.

(Excerpt) Read more at blogs.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: Books/Literature; The Hobbit Hole
KEYWORDS: hobbit; jrrtolkien; tolkien

1 posted on 10/17/2012 1:01:58 PM PDT by Altariel
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To: Altariel

Big fan of Tolkien and The Hobbit.

But, with some notable exceptions, as a poet he was pretty generally third-rate.

IMO.


2 posted on 10/17/2012 1:07:06 PM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: Altariel

Just got my sister to read The Hobbit a couple of weeks ago. Now hoooked on Tolkein.


3 posted on 10/17/2012 1:11:40 PM PDT by bigbob
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To: Altariel

Not many people realize the deep friendship Tolkien had with C.S. Lewis, one of the greatest Christian apologists in the 20th century. Such brilliant people. Tolkien was one of Lewis’s closest friends who helped lead Lewis from atheism to a profound Christian faith.

Loved the Hobbit when I was a teenager. Will have to read it again.


4 posted on 10/17/2012 1:14:26 PM PDT by savagesusie (Right Reason According to Nature = Just Law)
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To: Altariel

They were captured by Trolls (not Goblins). They’ve got their mythic monsters mixed up.


5 posted on 10/17/2012 1:16:55 PM PDT by katana (Just my opinions)
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To: savagesusie

Tolkien was also involved in the translation of the English language version of the Jerusalem Bible which is the most common English language translation used for the mass outside the US. http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgical-resources/liturgical-books-in-the-english-speaking-world.cfm


6 posted on 10/17/2012 1:21:18 PM PDT by FewsOrange
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To: katana

They were captured by both in the book.

First the trolls captured the dwarves (Bilbo escaped the initial capture and was hiding from the trolls), and then the goblins captured all but Gandalf later.


7 posted on 10/17/2012 1:21:43 PM PDT by Altariel ("Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!")
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To: bigbob

I hope she enjoys The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion as well.


8 posted on 10/17/2012 1:27:17 PM PDT by Altariel ("Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!")
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To: Altariel

I had no idea this was the 75th! I’m currently reading the Hobbit to my sons in preperation for the movie this Winter. I’ve never read before and can’t believe what I’ve been missing all these years!


9 posted on 10/17/2012 1:28:12 PM PDT by bethelgrad
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To: savagesusie

Indeed. Both were members of “The Inklings”, a group of literary enthusiasts who met at Oxford. Owen Barfield (author of Saving the Appearances: a Study in Idolatry and other books) and Charles Williams (author of The Place of the Lion and other novels) were also regulars in the group.


10 posted on 10/17/2012 1:32:14 PM PDT by Altariel ("Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!")
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To: Altariel

I read it in the fourth grade. It is best appreciated with the mind of a fourth-grader.

For adults, I recommend Spenser’s Faerie Queene.


11 posted on 10/17/2012 1:33:37 PM PDT by proxy_user
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To: Altariel
a stark insight into the goblin outlook on life

I can go to the White House website, if I have a pressing need for that...

12 posted on 10/17/2012 1:34:21 PM PDT by Prospero
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To: Altariel

bfl


13 posted on 10/17/2012 1:35:35 PM PDT by TEXOKIE (Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little. EdmondBurke)
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To: katana
They were captured by Trolls (not Goblins). They’ve got their mythic monsters mixed up.

No they didn't. The party or a majority thereof was captured by trolls, goblins, spiders, and elves at various times.

14 posted on 10/17/2012 1:40:55 PM PDT by Oberon (Big Brutha Be Watchin'.)
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To: katana

The company was captured by Trolls (Bert and friends) and Goblins (Gandalf kills the Goblin King).


15 posted on 10/17/2012 1:41:08 PM PDT by Little Ray (AGAINST Obama in the General.)
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To: Altariel

bookmark


16 posted on 10/17/2012 1:41:12 PM PDT by GOP Poet
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To: Little Ray

Thanks, I forgot that part. Over the years I have re-read The LOTR several times but the Hobbit just once back in my teens.


17 posted on 10/17/2012 1:47:14 PM PDT by katana (Just my opinions)
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To: Sherman Logan

Tolkien didn’t write poetry for the poetry itself. He used poetry as a vehicle to enrich the characters in his books.


18 posted on 10/17/2012 1:48:44 PM PDT by SoldierDad (Proud dad of an Army Soldier who has survived 24 months of Combat deployment.)
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To: bigbob

My 11 year old daughter has read the trilogy and The Hobbit and loved all four books. She has also read all 7 of the Harry Potter series.


19 posted on 10/17/2012 1:50:16 PM PDT by Blood of Tyrants (Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.)
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To: SoldierDad

IMO poor quality poetry doesn’t enrich anything.


20 posted on 10/17/2012 1:53:04 PM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: Altariel

Tolkien was a magician with words. I love his prose, I only wish I could write 1/4 as well as him.


21 posted on 10/17/2012 2:14:22 PM PDT by Reddy (B.O. stinks)
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To: Prospero

The left and the muslims hate the story.

They know what it is.


22 posted on 10/17/2012 2:31:24 PM PDT by Hardraade (http://junipersec.wordpress.com (I will fear no muslim))
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To: Reddy

Indeed; I reread his books every year.


23 posted on 10/17/2012 3:09:17 PM PDT by Altariel ("Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!")
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To: Hardraade

The left and the muslims hate the story.

They know what it is.

****

One of the biggest disappointments of the movies was the deliberate omission of the Scouring of the Shire.

Jackson remarked that he omitted it because he *didn’t like* that part of the book.


24 posted on 10/17/2012 3:10:50 PM PDT by Altariel ("Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!")
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To: Altariel

I was reading “The Consolation of Philosophy” by Boethius and ran across the word “inkling” in the translation I was reading. I immediately thought of Lewis! I know he read that book with its beautiful poetry and profound theology and it occurred to me that this may have been an influence to the adoption of that peculiar name for his group. I really need to research it....it is of interest to me.


25 posted on 10/17/2012 3:15:28 PM PDT by savagesusie (Right Reason According to Nature = Just Law)
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To: Sherman Logan

Remember: all the songs and poetry were translations from the original language (Elvish, Hobbit, Dwarvish, Orc, Black Speech, whatever) into Common Speech and then into English, so you shouldn’t expect the English version to be as good as native English poetry. It wouldn’t surprise me if this is how he really wrote most of it...


26 posted on 10/17/2012 3:42:39 PM PDT by LaRueLaDue
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To: Sherman Logan

I’m currently reading Olsen’s “Exploring JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit”. It’s quite good, and surprisingly entertaining.


27 posted on 10/17/2012 4:10:09 PM PDT by TexasBarak (I aim to misbehave!)
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To: Sherman Logan

To each their own.


28 posted on 10/17/2012 4:11:06 PM PDT by SoldierDad (Proud dad of an Army Soldier who has survived 24 months of Combat deployment.)
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To: bethelgrad

I got a copy of the whole DVD LOTR “extended” trilogy with DVD commentaries (4 DVDs per movie, 12 in all) for sale.

Let me know if you’re interested.


29 posted on 10/17/2012 4:18:49 PM PDT by ROTB (Live holy, forgive all & pray in Jesus' name. Trust He is willing & able & eager to ANSWER BIG!)
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To: Altariel

Thank you


30 posted on 10/17/2012 6:05:56 PM PDT by Tolkien (Grace is the Essence of the Gospel; Gratitude is the Essence of Ethics.)
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To: Tolkien

You’re welcome, Professor.

;)


31 posted on 10/17/2012 7:33:47 PM PDT by Altariel ("Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!")
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