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The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien is set in a fantasy world that has differences, as well as similarities, to our own world. The author has created the novel s world, Middle Earth, not only by using imagination, but by also adding details from the modern world. Realistic elements in the book enable readers to relate to the setting they read about, but are still able to “imagine” exciting events and creatures not possible on Earth. The following are some of the differences and similarities between Earth and the make believe land of Middle Earth in The Hobbit.
The majority of differences between Middle Earth and today s world are found in the objects and the actions of characters that can not be carried out or created in our world. The most abundant example of this in The Hobbit is the presence of magic. Gandalf, the wizard, is able to help the adventurers out of a number of dangerous situations by using his magical powers to harm their enemies. He set Wargs afire while he was trapped in a tree and created a bolt of lightening to kill many of the Goblins who had surrounded the group in a cave. The magical ring in the story was a key to helping the group succeed in the book. It allowed he who was wearing it to become invisible to others. Also, there was a black stream in Mirkwood, which Beorn had warned them of. He cautioned them that the water made whoever drank out of it suddenly very drowsy and forgetful of previous events. All of these examples and objects found in Middle Earth are physically impossible in a world such as ours.
Several of the organisms in the book are not known to exist on Earth. Hobbits, of course, are fictional characters, as are dwarves, elves, goblins, and trolls. Many species of animals are able to vocally communicate with humans and dwarves in the novel. This type of communication is not possible on our planet. Beorn, a human who is able to morph into other creatures at an instant, is an excellent example of fiction. The dragon, Smaug, is the main adversary of the fourteen adventurers and is a type of creature that has long been used in fantasy writing. Although most of the characters species are merely creations of the author, they all exhibit a sense of realism that causes them to seem almost human.
There is a vast difference between Middle Earth and the modern world, but there are also several similarities. In Middle Earth, there live humans, and hobbits, which are very much similar to miniature people. The language spoken and food consumed in the novel s world if not exactly the same are similar to modern society. Thorin Oakenshield is heir of the throne of the King under the Mountain and inherits all of the riches of the kingdom. This is like the political situation which thrived for so long in Europe during the 1500 s-1700 s. The environment and terrain the group passes through on their adventure is primarily the same as Earth s natural lands. These lands are much wilder than Earth s lands, which have been changed by humans. But there are the same characteristics that hold true. In the novel, there are forests with miles of trees, high, rocky mountains, and flowing rivers just as there are here on Earth.
It is not possible that a fantasy story such as The Hobbit could occur in real life. However, I do believe that fantasy can effectively teach us about reality. There are morals, lessons, and themes to be found within the text that can help us gain knowledge and live our lives more productively.
Some of these morals and lessons that this book can teach are the repercussions of our actions and feelings towards others. Courage, greed, hatred, and many other emotions are present in the story. Bilbo Baggins took a stand and raised enough courage to do something he had never thought of doing before, going on a great adventure. This choice caused Bilbo to gain endurance, bravery, and an appreciation of his life. It also took him through many valuable experiences that made him a wiser person. Thorin s selfish and greedy act of not wanting to share the dragon s riches with the other towns citizens caused only bad events to occur. This teaches us that kindness and giving to others will not only benefit them, but will also cause less stress and strife to occur between people. When the group of travelers in the story were staying with Beorn to rest, he gave them suggestions and information about the journey that lie ahead of them. He informed them about a black stream out of which they should never drink, no matter how thirsty they may be. He said that it would put them to sleep for days. If they had not listened to his words, their adventure would have ended, because they all would have consumed the water and been captured by ensuing enemies. Their experiences teach us that it is wise to listen to those with more knowledge than us, as it is likely that they have been in our position before and have experience. If we don t heed them and take their words as mere foolishness, then we are missing an opportunity to learn, which will make it easier to probably make a mistake that could have been prevented. Although The Hobbit is fictional, one can learn much about reality in the morals it contains.
So many things are very different between the world of the Hobbit and the Earth we know. The characters in the book are very fantastical and make believe, but they have a quality, which lets us understand them and relate to them better. This quality is the fact that the writer included a hint of realism and basic similarities between the book and our lives. These similarities are the moral lessons and the use of common emotion in the story. They help us as humans relate to feelings and happenings that the characters of this fantastical book go through. It is these basic similarities that enable us as humans to relate to creatures and events that we will never experience. So even though a book may seem very mythical and intangible, it is not always as far away as one thinks.
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