Senior Award Winner
Tolkien: Language and Literature
Dr. Adam Kotlarczyk
British professor and author J.R.R. Tolkien is widely distinguished for his literary works that reshaped the fantasy genre, including The Hobbit, which serves as the prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. While writing The Hobbit, Tolkien frequently attempted to incorporate aspects of his personal life, particularly the experiences he encountered in his service during the First World War. He represents these events vicariously through the eyes of the protagonist, Bilbo Baggins, and his quest through Middle Earth. According to fantasy literature scholar Michael N. Stanton in his book Hobbits, Elves, and Wizards, “[readers] can go back and see how various elements of Tolkien’s life fit into the creation of his book [The Hobbit]” (3). Thus, it comes as no surprise that Tolkien may have incorporated his own views of World War I into his literary masterpiece. Through The Hobbit and its characters, J.R.R. Tolkien reflects upon the origins of the First World War by analyzing systems of alliances, the search for a common enemy, and the wider concept of nationalism.
Chiu, Ryan '14, "For King and Country: The Hobbit and the Great War" (2013). 2013 Fall Semester. 1.