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The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien - Barron's Booknotes
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Tolkien's works are written in the third person and sound as
though they are stories being told aloud. In The Hobbit, the
narrator speaks as if he's telling a story to children, often
interrupting himself to make little asides. He also creates a very
clear moral framework for the story, telling you from the onset
whether a character is good or bad or somewhere in between.
This is appropriate for children, who usually want to be able to
easily differentiate good and evil characters. In The Lord of the
Rings, which is intended for adults, Tolkien no longer does
this. Instead he remains for the most part outside the story,
leaving it up to the characters to judge each other.

The narrator usually follows the story through the eyes of one
of the hobbits. This serves two purposes. First, the hobbit is
generally considered to be a representative of the modern
world, a comfortably familiar character you can identify with
in a book filled with such magical images as wizards and elves.
Second, following the story from the hobbits' point of view
makes the hobbits the heroes of the book, placing an emphasis
on their traits and their way of looking at the world. In this
way, Tolkien shows the importance of ordinary people and
reveals what it is that he believes makes them so special.

While the narrator of these books generally follows the story
from the point of view of a character, he's not limited by that
character's knowledge. He's able to step out of the story and
offer information and insights that the characters are not aware
of. In this way he's able to show you the total picture, which
can reveal a clear pattern and purpose behind seemingly
random events, while at the same time he shows how these
events appear to the individuals involved.

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The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien - Barron's Booknotes

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