Of all the books our class has had to read, this term, my best book so far has been The Hobbit. This paper seeks to give a summary of the book as well as a short critical analysis of the book. At the same time, this book will be compared to other books that were available. These books are The Natural by Bernard Malamud, World War Z by Max Brooks, and Christine by Stephen King. The reasons as why The Hobbit was my favorite above the other three books will be stated in my essay.
The Hobbit was written by J.R.R. Tolkien and its first publication was released in the year 1937. The book cannot be clearly classified into one genre as many readers and literary critics have for a long time differed as to whether the book is an epic, a fantasy, or a novel. Some critics also debate that the book is a fable while others maintain that it is a romance. Others think that the book is a fairy tale.
The book is a story of a small hobbit that lives in a small hole. Bilbo Baggins, the hobbit, loves to eat and drink. He lives a simple life and is happy with himself. His adventurous life begins one day when an old wizard approaches him and asks him to join a militia group of thirteen dwarves, who were on a journey to recapture their stolen treasure from a fearsome dragon by the name of Smaug. Bilbo is quite hesitant at first, but with some assurance from Gandalf, he agrees to join the dwarves in their conquest (Tolkien,1.90-104). Their journey seems to begin on a bad note when the group is captured by three hungry trolls. Gandalf managed to escape somehow and helps to free his friends by tricking the trolls who ended up turning into stone after the sun touched their skin (Tolkien, 2.75-101). This happened to be a golden chance for them as they were able to find weapons to use during their journey from the trolls’ camp.
The group continues with their journey but stop for a rest. A snowstorm occurs, and they are forced to seek shelter in a cave. Unknown to them, a group of goblins lives there, and they are taken as prisoners (Tolkien 4. 17-19). Somehow, they manage to escape but Bilbo is left behind by mistake. On the other hand, Bilbo walks around the caves exploring them, and he stumbles upon a ring that he collects and pockets (Tolkien 5.1-3). He continues walking around the caves and meets with Gollum, a hissing creature who lives in the pool in the caves and loves hunting for goblins and fish. Gollum is hungry and wants to eat Bilbo, who is very scared. He, however thinks fast and challenges Gollum to a contest where if Bilbo wins, Gollum will not eat him. Gollum agrees, and Bilbo wins the contest as the hissing creature could not figure out what was in Bilbo’s’ pocket. Gollum is angry and insists on eating Bilbo. He goes to look for his ring that has the power to make him look invisible. Bilbo uses the ring to get away from the caves of the goblins and away from Gollum and be reunited with the dwarves (Tolkien 5.54-100).
As the small militant group enters the forest of Mirkwood, their leader Gandalf abandons them citing urgent business (Tolkien, 7.135-148). The streak of the groups’ bad luck continues when the dwarves find themselves trapped in a web of giant spiders. Bilbo uses his sword and magic ring to slay the spiders and rescue the dwarves (Tolkien, 8.90-97). As if that was not enough, the unlucky company runs into a group of elves who take them captive. Again, Bilbo becomes the hero by using his magical ring to help the group to escape (Tolkien, 9.10-14). Finally, the dwarves reach at the town where there are humans who live there known as Lake Town. This small town is near the Lonely Mountain, where the dragon lives with the stolen treasure (Tolkien, 12. 13-25). When the company sneaks into the mountain, Bilbo gets a chance to talk to dragon Smaug where he gets a chance to find out that the dragon has a weak spot near his heart. Mischievous Bilbo steals a golden cup from the dragon and runs away, enraging the dragon which flies from the mountain to burn down Lake Town (Tolkien, 12. 101). Meanwhile, Bilbo had told on the dragons’ weakness and a seasoned archer named Bard aims and fires an arrow at the dragons’ heart, killing him. Before the dragon dies, he manages to raze the town to the ground.
The humans of the little town and the creatures who lived in the forest around the mountain climb the mountain to seek some of the treasure that the dragon had kept as a means of compensation to what the dragon had made them go through (Tolkien, 15.30-37). Thorin, the lord of the dwarves refuses to allow them have any treasure. As a result, the humans and animals surround the mountain and trap the dwarves and the hobbit. Bilbo manages to escape and tries to bring some understanding between the humans and the dwarves. Thorin finds out and is very angry at Bilbo’s’ actions. Suddenly Gandalf appears and comes to the rescue of Bilbo (Tolkien, 16.42-45). All the creatures that had assembled begin to march toward the mountain and a war ensues. The goblins join forces with the Wargs and turn against the humans, and the other creatures, and they almost win. However, Beorn arrives with the eagles and help the humans win (Tolkien, 18. 19-23). The treasure is shared, and Bilbo, Gandalf and the dwarves return to Hobbiton where the hobbit faces rejection from fellow hobbits. Bilbo, however, makes new friends in elves and wizards and is happy once again (Tolkien, 18.30-37).
The book is quite simple in the sense that its setting is based in a rural area, deep in the forests where there are no industries and no modern technology. In the book, the values portrayed as most important are respect, companionship, and friendliness. One of the main themes of the novel is a quest. In the novel, the hobbit went away to look for some treasures where he encountered many things during his journey. This brings suspense and builds interest in the story. The quest also gives the story a plot. The theme of the quest also helps in building the character of the hobbit that is the main character in the story. When Bilbo starts out the journey, he was skeptical and reluctant. With all the challenges he encountered in his journey, many times he wished that he had not agreed to join the dwarves, but stayed home to his calm and comfortable life. Despite these facts, he learns to be courageous, and that is why he was able to help rescue the dwarves. The quest also brings out the hidden heroism that lies within Bilbo, something the hobbit did not know it had.
The reason of picking this book as the best is that it is adventurous and fun. The author makes sure to catch the attention of the reader through the use of imaginary places with imaginary names. He, however, conveys the message of fearlessness very interestingly. This book is quite different from The Natural which, has a complicated story of a baseball player and his misfortunes. Set in New York, the story is quite relevant to the current human life experiences of an aspiring sportsman. On the other hand, this book is also very different from World War Z the latter is based on science fiction and has so much politics going on. World War Z is a book that records the rise of zombies in various parts of the world and the damage it caused. Various governments try to deal with the situation but eventually defeated the zombies that had already caused great havoc to humankind. It is a horrific and scary book, but makes an interesting read.
Christine, a book by Stephen King, had its first publication in 1983. The book documents the story of a car named Christine, which has supernatural powers. The car kills many people including the previous and current owners as well as their families. It is a horror story that ends in suspense and leaves one a little scared. There is use of supernatural powers in both this book and in The Hobbit. The difference, however, lies in the intention of the supernatural powers used. While it is used for good purposes by Bilbo, Christine uses her powers to cause death, hurt, pain and destruction. At the end of the novel, it is not yet clear if her evil powers have cleared or they have resumed in another form and disguised as another car. From all the four books, it is only The Hobbit that intrigues me and has a happy ending. It is one of those books that one can read over again. In writing of The Natural, the author brings in a blend American sports and the celebrity that comes with it, as well as myths and legends. The author uses this so as to clearly bring out the themes and motifs of the story that is based on a number of mythologies. In contrast, The Hobbit forms the basis of another story, namely, The Lord of the Rings. The other difference is that, in The Natural, there is no mention of supernatural powers affecting or controlling any part of the story.
In conclusion, it is evident that the four books are different in their own capacities. In all the books, the authors have used different styles of writing to tell their stories. This difference is quite expected as they come from different backgrounds, and they all had different intentions when they were writing their books. Most of these books have since been made into movies as they are considered to be great English classics. The Hobbit has been made into a cartoon unlike all the other books as its audience sweeps across the board. It cannot be compared to some of the other books we have handled during the term as I consider them to be scary books, which are not even suitable for reading to children who could be below twelve years of age. It is an enjoyable read, very entertaining and an intriguing book. These are some of the reasons as to why I chose it to be the best book I have read in this term.
Brooks, Max. World War Z. London: Duckworth, 2007. Print.
King, Stephen. Christine. New York: Viking Press, 1983. Print.
Malamud, Bernard. The natural. [1st ed. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1952. Print.
Tolkien, J. R. R., and Rob Inglis. The Hobbit. Prince Frederick, MD: Recorded Books, 1991. Print.