How is Bilbo's personality transformed after his encounter with the spider in chapter 8?

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Kristen Lentz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter Eight ofThe Hobbit,Bilbo kills the great spider all by himself.  Afterward he reflects on his triumph as he studies his elven sword stained black to the hilt:

"Somehow the killing of the giant spider, all alone by himslef in the dark without the help of the wizard or the dwarves or of anyone else made great difference to Mr. Baggins" (141-142). 

This personal moment of triumph builds self-confidence for Bilbo in his own abilities to defend and fight for himself.  Before chapter eight, Bilbo really did rely on the strength of others to carry him through many of the difficult situations, not necessarily because he was weak or a coward, but because he never had the opportunity to prove himself in the Shire.  Bilbo's moment with the spider changes him irrevocably, making him "much fiercer and bolder" than he ever was before (142).  He begins to see himself as capable of much more than he ever dreamed possible.