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The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien - Barron's Booknotes
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His Hobbit is both a bridge and a being more like Man than are
the heroic, familiar, mock-human counterparts that appear in
adventure stories. Moreover, the hobbit is... more of a human
than if he were one, as petit-bourgeois as if he caught the 8:15
commuter train....

The rather jolly virtues of the Hobbits are raised to solemn
magnificence when it is realized that these virtues endow their
possessors with the power to face and subdue the terrible and
soul-destroying opposition of Evil that besets them. It is the
reluctant choice to face or not to face Evil... that raised Bilbo
and more so his heir Frodo, above even great Beowulf.

William Ready, The Tolkien Relation, 1968


What we get is a simple confrontation-in more or less the
traditional terms of British melodrama-of the Forces of Evil
with the Forces of Good, the remote and alien villain with the
plucky little homegrown hero.... For the most part such
characterizations as Dr. Tolkien has been able to contrive are
perfectly stereotyped: Frodo the good little Englishman,
Samwise, his doglike servant, who talks lower class and
respectful, and who never deserts his master. These
characters... are involved in interminable adventures the
poverty of invention displayed in which is... almost pathetic.

Edmund Wilson, "Oo, Those Awful Orcs!" in The Nation, April
14, 1956

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