The hobbit

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from page 1, chapter 1? Make a list. 2. The first chapter of a novel lays the foundation for the story. In what ways is this true of chapter one in “The. Hobbit”? 3.

‘The Hobbit’ by J.R.R. Tolkein Paradox

1. “The most dreadful of all Bilbo‟s experiences…was the one he was most proud of (chapter 17)”. Discuss this paradox. 2. Elvenking says to Gandalf: “May you ever appear where you are most needed and least expected (chapter 18)”. Discuss.

Attribute Listing

1. What do you discover about the character of Bilbo Baggins from page 1, chapter 1? Make a list. 2. The first chapter of a novel lays the foundation for the story. In what ways is this true of chapter one in “The Hobbit”? 3. List the main events of the story. 4. List the dwarves adversaries. What specific threats does each present? 5. Find the origins of the word “fantasy”. Make a list of words which are derived from it.


1. How is “The Hobbit” like a game of rugby? Discuss 2. How is Bilbo Baggins like an adolescent? Discuss


The dwarves present Bilbo with a letter containing the Terms of Agreement for his participation in their adventure. How complete is it? Justify your findings and redraft the Agreement, if necessary, to be fair to be both parties.

Provocative question*

Activity 1: What if honest Bilbo Bagggins had refused to join the dwarves as a burglar? OR Activity 2: “He looks more like a grocer than a burglar. (Chapter 1)”What if Bilbo Baggins had been a grocer? Activity 3: Does “The Hobbit” reflect the period (1930‟s), the culture (England) in which it was written? Explain with evidence. OR: Activity 4: If “The Hobbit” was to be written in the Year 2003 in New Zealand by a New Zealander, would it be different? Explain with evidence.

Examples of change*

Activity 1: The development of Bilbo‟s character is brought about by circumstances and continues through the story. On a timeline show the steps in Bilbo‟s character development.

Examples of habit*

Activity 1: The habit of Hobbits in general is not to venture far from home, and to avoid adventures. Discuss the effects of this habit on a community. Include references to the Hobbit community in your answer. Activity 2: Gandalf has the habit of disappearing when he is needed. Is this habit justified?

Organised random search

Activity 1: “Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not Juliet Martin, Christchurch College of Education (2003) 1

much to listen to; while things that are uncomfortable, palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a deal of telling anyway (chapter 3).” How true to life is this observation? Discuss. Produce evidence to support your ideas. Activity 2: Debate: That good news is not news. Activity 3: Analogies could be drawn between the threats Bilbo faces (from both his allies and his adversaries) and the threats a students faces at school. Reflect on Bilbo‟s adventures and your school community. Identify parallel threats, and write a Guide for Survival that would assist incoming students. Skills of search*

Research the origins of fantasy writing. In what ways has it changed and/or remained true to its origins?

Tolerance for ambiguity*

Friend or Foe? The dwarves (chapter 18) prepare to battle the combined forces of Men and Elves, but then these three parties join forces to battle the goblins and the wild wolves. a. Why did this situation occur? b. Find and outline an example of this occurrence from real life. c. What generalisations can be made?

Intuitive expression

Either: Activity 1. The dwarves‟ song (chapter 1) had a stirring effect on Bilbo. Write about a time when you had a similar experience. Describe what happened, include your feelings and the impact they had on your reactions. Or: Activity 2: Gloin describes Bilbo as a “little fellow bobbing and puffing on the mat…. (who)…looks more like a grocer than a burglar (chapter 1).” This provokes Bilbo into action. Write about a time when you had a similar experience. Include the impact of your feelings on the situation, and evaluate your actions in terms of their implications and consequences. Activity 3: On Bilbo, Gandolf says to the dwarves “ There is a lot more in him than you can guess, and a deal more than he has any idea of himself”. With Gandolf‟s comments in mind, research someone else‟s perceptions of you (either parent or grandparent, or sibling, or teacher, or friend etc)and record your findings in a medium you choose: e.g. cartoon strip; visual art; poem etc.

Juliet Martin, Christchurch College of Education (2003)


Adjustment to development*

Activity 1: In recreating the sequel to “The Hobbit”, “The Lord of the Rings” for cinema, Peter Jackson faced a number of challenges. What were they and how did he overcome them?

Study creative development*

Activity 1: Analyse the character traits of J.R.R. Tolkien and Peter Jackson. How did their characteristics equip them for working with fantasy?

Evaluate situations*

Activity 1: Bilbo‟s father used to say, “Every worm has his weak spot” (chapter 12). Choose three characters (other than Bilbo) who conform to this saying. Explain the weak spots and their consequences.

Creative reading skill

Activity 1: What are the characteristics of fantasy writings? Give examples from “The Hobbit” to support your answers. Activity 2: Select a story by another writer of fantasy. Create a table to compare and contrast the fantasy characteristics of this work with “The Hobbit”.

Creative listening skill

Activity 1: Bilbo‟s Took ancestor, Bullroarer, invented golf (Chapter1). Choose another sport and either in groups of 3, create a fantasy that tells how it began, each speaker creating part of the story which is picked up and continued by the following speaker. Or Working on your own, create the story of how a sport was invented, and tell it to the class. Where the same sport is used by a number of students the class will vote on the most „fantastic‟ story.

Creative writing skill

Activity 1: Bilbo would have liked to stay and talk with the elves who sing in chapter 2. He “thought their opinion of his adventure might be interesting.” With your knowledge of Bilbo‟s completed adventure, and in the style of an elvish song, write the opinion Bilbo wanted to hear. Activity 2: In chapter 6 Gandalf says to the eagles: May the wind under your wings bear you where the sun sails and the moon walks.” Write an adventure for the eagles.


Activity 1: Design the sign that Gandalf placed on Bilbo‟s front door. Provide explanatory notes. Activity 2: Create a game which traces Bilbo‟s adventurous journey to its conclusion e.g. board, card, computer Activity 3: Choose a theme from the story and present it as a static image

Juliet Martin, Christchurch College of Education (2003)


* Signifies questions/activities that are more suited to gifted learners

Juliet Martin, Christchurch College of Education (2003)