How does The Hobbit compare to the archetype of a hero's journey?

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mizzwillie | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien is the perfect example of a hero's journey.  In a hero's journey, the hero is an ordinary character called upon to do extraordinary things to accomplish a nearly impossible goal--all while he or she becomes a hero in the doing. Shy Bilbo Baggins is called upon by Gandolph to undertake the call to adventure which is part of a hero's journey. As is typical, Bilbo rejects the call, and Gandolph doesn't allow Bilbo to hide from the call.  Along the way, Gandolph does help the hobbit as Bilbo is beset by many fierce enemies. As his mentor and the person who persuaded Bilbo to undertake the adventure, Gandolph needs to help and he does. Part of the hero's journey is to face your fears and stay true to the call despite the enemies who would kill you or your friends, which Bilbo does.  He tricks Gollum out of the magic ring of invisibility, he gets into the mountain to take back Thorin's treasure, and finds out the vulnerability of the dragon Smaug, who is then killed. At the end of the story, Bilbo helps win the war, takes a small share of the treasure, and returns home a rich hobbit. Although he is a hero with many friends and well known deeds to accomplish his task, Bilbo is content to return to his ordinary life and his own hobbit hole.


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