The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again
The Home Theme
The first thing we know about Bilbo (and Elrond and Beorn) is that they have homes. And one of the defining characteristics of Thorin and Gollum is that they do not have permanent homes (or else, they're separated from their places of origin). Having a home seems to give Bilbo a sense of security and moral stability that Thorin, even though he is a decent person, does not have. What's more, as we discuss in "Symbols, Imagery, Allegory," the most important treasures in The Hobbit also seem to represent different ideas of home.
Questions About The Home
- Bilbo's hobbit-hole is only one of many important refuges in The Hobbit. There's also Elrond's Last Homely House in Rivendell, and Beorn's giant home just beyond the Misty Mountains. How do these homes compare to Bilbo's? What do they have in common?
- Which of the characters in The Hobbit appear to be homeless? How does their loss of home change or harm them? In what ways is the dwarves' quest for treasure also a quest for home?
- Generally speaking, why might the idea of home be important in a novel about adventure? How do the different homes in the novel contrast with the book's more action-packed passages?