The Hobbit

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Themes and Colors
Coming of Age Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Greed, Trust, Fellowship Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
Home and Birthright Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Hobbit, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Although Bilbo Baggins is “fully grown” at the beginning of The Hobbit, his adventures teach him to be brave, to take responsibility for himself and for others, and to develop skills he didn’t know he had: in effect, to grow up. When Gandalf and the dwarves approach Bilbo with an offer to be their burglar, Bilbo is so satisfied with his life and his home that the mere thought of adventure is enough to…

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During The Hobbit, Bilbo, Gandalf, and the dwarves confront countless dangers: spiders, goblins, wood-elves, wolves, a dragon, etc. To defend themselves, they use an equally vast number of weapons: knives, daggers, spells, fire, rocks, sticks. Yet one of the most important weapons that they use—and one of the most important skills Bilbo develops on his travels—is language. In the early chapters of the book, Bilbo exhibits almost no sophisticated command of language…

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Virtually every one of The Hobbit’s primary characters—including both the heroes and the villains—is at least partially motivated by a desire for unnecessary material things. Smaug, the primary antagonist of the novel, is so greedy that he notices when Bilbo steals a single cup from his vast collection of treasure. (Tolkien notes that his anger is that of a rich man who’s lost something he never uses.) The dwarves are struggling to reclaim…

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The Hobbit is a fantasy novel, and it contains many of the genre’s traditional tropes: a quest, treasure, a dark forest, and even a dragon. With this in mind, it’s worth asking who the hero—arguably the most important fantasy trope — of The Hobbit is, and how Tolkien defines heroism. Bilbo Baggins is the protagonist of The Hobbit, meaning that he’s the default hero. In the early chapters of the book, Bilbo is cowardly…

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The desire and love for a home motivates most of the main characters in The Hobbit. Sometimes, the characters’ desires for home contradict each other. For instance, Bilbo Baggins says at many points throughout his journey that he regrets ever leaving his home in hobbit-town, while the dwarves with whom he’s embarking on his adventure seek to return to (and reclaim from Smaug) their home under the Lonely Mountain. In many cases, having home…

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