In The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, how does the dwarves entrance to Beorn and Bilbo's house compare and contrast?

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The dwarves' entrance into both Beorn and Bilbo's homes are incredibly similar.  Gandalf uses the same strategy of bringing in, or introducing, the dwarves in pairs, so as not to alarm the home owner.  Gandalf realizes that if he were to show up on either character's doorstep with thirteen dwarves in tow, that the door might be promptly slammed in his face.  Gandalf's handling of the situation reveals his cunning and savvy understanding of how people react.

At Beorn's house, the Carrock, Gandalf adapts his strategy that he used at Bilbo's to include a story of their past adventures. 

"I shall introduce you slowly, two by two, I think; and you mustbe careful not to annoy him, or heaven knows what will happen."

As Gandalf tells the story, he includes details that suggest a certain number of dwarves through their adventures, such as when he details their fight against the Great Goblin:

"'even if they were not all chained together, what can a dozen do against so many?'

    'A dozen! That's the first time I've heard eight called a dozen. Or have you still got some jacks that haven't yet come out of their boxes?'" (112)

Gandalf draws Beorn into the story and gets him cheerfully involved, so he will not mind the addition of a couple of dwarves throughout the story.  This approach is different from the one he used at Bilbo's house, because Gandalf did not use the device of the story to introduce the company of dwarves, merely asked them to arrive at staggered times. 

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