The Hobbit | Study Guide

J.R.R. Tolkien

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The Hobbit | Chapter 4 : Over Hill and Under Hill | Summary

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Summary

The journey becomes quite difficult as the group gets caught in a mighty storm—a "thunder-battle" filled will rain, lightning, hail, and giants who are throwing boulders that destroy the forests. The two young dwarves, Fili and Kili, are sent to search for a safe place to lie down, and they quickly return. The cave Fili and Kili select appears to be perfect; in the middle of the night, however, the back wall opens, and out pour goblins who take all the ponies and capture the dwarves and Bilbo Baggins.

Fortunately Bilbo awakes from a nightmare in time to see the ponies being led away; he yells, which gives Gandalf enough time to escape. The Great Goblin plans to enslave or kill them, but then he comes across Thorin's sword, called Orcrist the Goblin-cleaver (which the goblins called Biter), and he becomes enraged. "Murderers!" he shouts, and at that moment, Gandalf reappears in a tower of smoke and sparks. In the chaos, Gandalf grabs the sword and kills the Great Goblin, allowing the dwarves to make off in a hurry. Dori, one of the dwarves, carries Bilbo on his back but falls. Bilbo hits his head and is knocked out.

Analysis

In this chapter things get intense for Bilbo Baggins. He sleeps fitfully, and whether he is attuned to the supernatural or it is merely a coincidence, he awakens just in time to warn Gandalf of the goblins. The goblins represent all that is evil: they murder, enslave, and pillage. They specialize in making cruel weapons and torture devices. The road of trials continues as the group meets a major enemy in the goblins.

Tolkien was very much opposed to the industrialization of rural England in his day and was very changed by World War I. Almost all of the men in his village died during the war—so one can imagine that the goblins' thirst for war and weaponry represent his dislikes.

Weapons in the world of The Hobbit have power beyond the strength of their blade; they are almost personified. The swords even have names and can evoke powerful emotions, as is evident when the Great Goblin becomes enraged at the sight of Orcrist, the Goblin-cleaver (also called Biter).

Shortly thereafter, Gandalf creates a chaotic diversion, and the sword continues its destiny by killing the Great Goblin. It is not certain whether the sword swung magically, but it may be that Thorin takes the opportunity to rid the world of this evil creature. This chapter again questions what force is truly behind this adventure. Who is watching from behind the scenes? What do they know? Gandalf seems to give just enough information to keep the adventure moving forward, but he also grants Bilbo enough freedom to see what the hobbit can do on his own.

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I need answers whit this question! Responding to SCAS Chapter 5 and Robots No unread replies. No replies. 1. Read SCAS Chapter 4. 2. Watch Robots on YouTube or elsewhere (use the link I provided on Ca
what is the context of "He poked about with a bit of stick that itself was wave-worn and whitened and a vagrant, and tried to control the motions of the scavengers. he made little runnels that the tid
I need answer on this. Responding to SCAS Chapter 5 and Robots No unread replies.1 1 reply. 1. Read SCAS Chapter 4 by Matthew crawford 2. Watch Robots on YouTube or elsewhere (use the link I provided
I need answer on to this Responding to SCAS Chapter 5 and Robots No unread replies.1 1 reply. 1. Read SCAS Chapter 4 by Matthew crawford 2. Watch Robots on YouTube or elsewhere (use the link I provide
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