Literary Qualities of The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

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Tolkien's prose style tries to approximate the spoken word. He uses a variety of devices to achieve this storyteller's style: parenthetical and exclamatory remarks, direct address to the reader (or listener), first-person comments by the narrator, rhetorical questions, interruptions of the narrative, and sentence fragments which suggest enlarged parenthetical explanations. The narrator's highly descriptive style conveys vivid pictures of Bilbo, his hobbithole, and Gandalf. The descriptions emphasize physical details such as color, shape, and size. "Frequently the accumulation of detail creates a comic effect, such as the arrival of the dwarves—in stages—in Bilbo's parlor and later on Beorn's porch. The rhetorical techniques used to convey an oral prose style continue throughout the book, but become less obtrusive as the story develops.

Children as well as more mature readers can enjoy Tolkien's habit of playing with language. Riddles and riddling names brighten the scenes in...

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This section contains 561 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Hobbit Study Guide
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The Hobbit from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.