Nov 14, 07
Read in January, 1990
Speaking of bildungsroman texts (see review for "Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man")... this is another classic. Poor Bilbo, he never knew what he was getting in for, but he knew he could never say no to the chance. Much has been made of the womb imagery of the hobbit house that he emerges from... but let us not overlook the other womb images littered in the text; the hidden tunnels of the mountains he must crawl through, the forests he gets entangled in, the tight-fitting and life-saving barrel he floats down a river in... but all of this culminates in his final act of maturation, when he saves a town of Men from their own greed, personified in the fire-breathing dragon Smaug. But let us not forget, admist this treasure-trove of Freudian imagery, that this is first rate story-telling at its most engrossing and it introduced many people to a whole new world that Tolkien had only just begun to share with us.