The Hobit, Year of Living Dangerously, Monster thesis
respond to 3 questions: Everyone must do 1. The Hobbit. Then, choose ONE of the topics under 2. The Hobbit AND choose ONE of the topics under 3. The Year of Living Dangerously.
Your discussions DO NOT NEED TO BE IN THE FORM OF AN ESSAY. No theses, introductions, and/or conclusions are required. JUST DISCUSS THE TOPIC.
You must have a minimum of 3 quotes per discussion. The purpose of using/discussing quotes is to help support your points and ideas.
1. The Hobbit
Bilbo Baggins undergoes at least 3 more Hero’s Journey Supreme Ordeal stages during the course of his adventure with the dwarves AFTER his riddle game with Gollum. Discuss ONE of remaining Supreme Ordeals: First, identify the scene. What happens during the ordeal that helps Bilbo further fill the role of a hero? What is the Road Back part of this journey and why? Does Bilbo recommit himself to the adventure? What characters fill the roles of which other archetypes for Bilbo’s journey and why?
2. The Hobbit—choose one of the following:
A. Scholar Jane Chance uses the phrase “King Under the Mountain” from the novel to apply to all characters who live underground and hoard wealth. Who are these characters? What is the role of wealth in The Hobbit? Discuss at least two of these characters’ attitudes toward property and material goods. Whose viewpoint does the novel seem to endorse, if any?
B. Tolkien was very interested in language and how language works. Tolkien put a lot of care and craftsmanship into writing this book; was a philologist and knew historical and cultural depths of words. He says, “it was in fairy stories that I first divined the potency of words.” Like Dr. Seuss’ aim in helping children learn to read, The Hobbit is filled with word and language play on many levels:
First Level: puns, sound effects, made-up words, silly songs
Second Level: various traditional uses like riddles, proverbs, language-based
activities, map-making and runes
Third Level: sophisticated linguistic concepts such as the nature of names as
symbols, the knowledge of language as power, the actual language use
such as connotations, associations, meanings
Choose one example from each level to discuss how and why these elements are important in the story.
C. Bilbo insists that he is not a thief, yet there are times when he is just that. Give at least two examples of Bilbo the Thief and explain how Bilbo’s thievery serves the story? What other characters could be considered to be thieves and why?
3. The Year of Living Dangerously— Choose one from the following:
A. Discuss how Thesis 3 — The Monster is a Harbinger of Category Crisis (Monsters are scary because they refuse to be in a category. Monsters seem to like to break the laws of nature and physics. Monsters exist on the fringes of society, and when they invade where they are not supposed to be, they make us uncomfortable.
— and Thesis 5: The Monster Polices the Borders of the Possible (Cultures create monsters that warn people to stay the way they are, in a safe and predictable life. They warn people not to “go against” the cultural values, to stay close to home, or risk being attacked by, or becoming, a monster. Monsters say, “Don’t cross the line, or bad things will happen!”) can be applied as examples of PostColonial Theory regarding both Billy’s and Guy’s sense of self (identity). First, figure out who or what is the Monster according to Billy, then according to Guy.
B. Thesis 7: The Monster Stands at the Threshold of Becoming (Monsters are our children. They can be pushed to the farthest margins, hidden away at the edges of the world and in the forbidden recesses of our mind, but they always return. And when they come back, they bring not just a fuller knowledge of our place in history and the history of knowing our place, but they bear self-knowledge, human knowledge. These monsters ask us how we perceive the world, and how we have misrepresented what we have attempted to place.)—In a way, Guy is a Monster. Discuss what could make him seem to be a monster in the eyes of others (such as to Kumar, to the other journalists, to Billy). Do you think Guy achieves the point of “becoming”? How and when in the story?
C. Choose either Guy, Billy, or Jill as a “hero.” Discuss the Supreme Ordeal your choice of “hero” undergoes: First, identify the scene. What happens during the ordeal that helps the character further fill the role of a hero? What is the Road Back part of this journey and why? Does the “hero” recommit him/herself to the adventure? What other characters fill the roles of which other archetypes for your “hero’s” journey and why?