ENGLISH TEXT RESPONSE - KIM NGUYEN 9TD
THE HOBBIT, OR, THERE AND BACK AGAIN
BY J.R.R TOLKIEN
Wealth in modern society today appears to be getting out of hand as the more wealth an image has, the more ‘respect’, or rather, attention, they are given. In the children’s fantasy novel written by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again, wealth is a predominant theme that is constantly reiterated throughout the book as each character is driven by greed and a longing for their lost treasure. The story consists of thirteen dwarves accompanied by a wizard and a hobbit who set out onto a dangerous expedition to claim back their lost treasure, which was stolen from a gluttonous, gold-loving dragon by the name of Smaug. As quoted by Seneca, a Roman Stoic philosopher; “It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor.” In The Hobbit, wealth is a principal subject that induces toxic desires, envy and conflict as it changes the way certain characters behave and interact with one another; however, one specific character is not affected by this greed and longing for useless golden trinkets, and his actions differ vastly compared to his comrades as the book endorses his viewpoint around his very being.
The role of wealth in The Hobbit was what made the plot, essentially, move. This desire for riches and luxury was what kept the dwarves on their quest, and although it gave them a purpose for their journey, this cupidity was also what generated tension between almost everyone in their world, such as Thorin and Bilbo after Bilbo had stolen Thorin’s Arkenstone. Thorin’s anger erupted as he screamed, “You miserable hobbit! You undersized— burglar!” “... I will throw you to the rocks!” (p. 318). The dwarves, deluded by their avarice, proclaimed that their impulse to journey to the Mountain was to seek revenge for Smaug's theft and to reclaim their heritage (pp. 20-33), when in reality, their motivation was their greed, and greed alone. This is portrayed in the story on many occasions; one example would be when Bilbo and the dwarves were confronted by the elf king. Thorin refused to give reason as to why they were traveling to Mirkwood (p. 196), and this was because he feared that the elves would attempt to stop them from continuing because they wanted the treasure for themselves, or, that if they were in fact allowed to proceed with their plan, the elves would ask for a portion of the treasure in return for their kindness. Another example would be after the dwarves retrieved a small cup from Smaug’s treasure (p. 251). During this time, the dwarves were running out of food stock, and Smaug could return at any moment, however because they had their gold and riches, it seemed as though the dwarves no longer cared for what happened afterwards; a perilous desire for wealth can easily blind somebody from their purpose, just as it did with the dwarves. Therefore, the role of wealth in The Hobbit fundamentally made the story continue...