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Mikaela May M Gonda

Fatima S. Bagang

English 9

12 February 2018

Heart and Home:

An Analysis of “The Fellowship of the Ring”

In the last book of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit,” Gandalf tells Bilbo “Farewell Master
Burglar. Go back to your books, your armchair. Plant your trees, watch them grow. If more of us
valued home above gold, it would be a merrier world” (902). These words, perfectly sum up the
message of Tolkien’s literary masterpiece The Fellowship of the Ring, which connotes that friends
make for a far better prize than anything gold has to offer. Tolkien achieves the delivery of this
message, through his masterful use of Tone, Symbolism and Imagery.

At the beginning of the novel, Tolkien started his book with “When Mr. Bilbo Baggins
announced the he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special
magnificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton” (1). It is evident here in the first
paragraph, Tolkien’s chatty literary tone of voice. He relays his story in a very conversational
manner, as if he were merely reading his children to sleep. This kind of tone helps reinforce
Tolkien’s message of friendship and home, and even draws readers further into the story through
the warm and welcoming mood he has created by using his tone.

Another striking aspect of the Fellowship of the Ring are the many symbolisms Tolkien
incorporated all throughout the book. With creativity and brilliance, Tolkien used both ordinary
and fantastical objects to represent goliath meanings. Take the most blatantly obvious symbol in
the book– The One Ring, for example. In the book, The Ring is the cause of much turmoil and
trouble. It corrupts even the purest of hearts with the immense power it carries and yet, many still
sought after it. Why? Because of greed. The book symbolizes every human’s intrinsic greed for
power and the ring perfectly captures this hard truth by tempting the book’s characters with power
and subsequently destroying them in the process. Another notable symbol in the book is the
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mythical coat of mail, Mithril; a prized armor that, as Tolkien describes it, “was close-woven of
many rings, as supple almost as linen, cold as ice, and harder than steel.” (389). Mithril, represents
the idea that there is more to a person than meets the eye, as can be seen when Bilbo suggested
Frodo wears Mithril under his clothes. See, in Tolkien’s lore, Hobbits are known to be plain and
simple folks, and in asking Frodo to conceal Mithril under his garments, Bilbo spells the message
that not everything is what it appears to be. As Bilbo himself puts it “Just a plain hobbit you look…
but there is more about you now than appears on the surface.” (400).

Finally, the Imagery which Tolkien lavishly used throughout the entirety of his book,
makes for a much realistic and more bewitching story in the minds of his readers. This is most
evident when Tolkien describes the settings of his story, like when Frodo first embarked on his
journey and he and his companions were making their way to the East Farthing, Tokien wrote “It
was already nearly as hot as it had been the day before; but clouds were beginning to come up
from the West. It looked likely to turn to rain. The hobbits scrambled down a steep green bank and
plunged into the thick trees below. Their course had been chosen to leave Woodhall to their left,
and to cut slanting through the woods that clustered along the eastern side of the hills, until they
reached the flats beyond” (176). Undoubtedly, Tolkien paints his sceneries in a truly captivating
manner by using whimsical words to describe the happenings of his stories, and intricately writing
in careful detail what the scene looks like in his own eyes. His choice of words allows readers to
make their own assumptions as to what the place looks like, without leaving too little details for
the readers to not have a clue as to what is going on. This literary tool, enables Tolkien control
over his audience’s attention, consequently making it easier for him to get his message across, all
the while making the book livelier and more fun to read.

So to end, through the use of wit and words, Tolkien managed to weave a truly legendary
work of literature that will outlive him and his readers for many years to come. More importantly,
with the help of Tone, Symbolism and Imagery, Tolkien successfully made his message of heart
and home, known to his readers, effectively sealing the book with a firm sense of purpose and
leaving behind pearls of wisdom for the many generations to come.