Author: L. Swilley (---.houston.res.rr.com)
Date: 04-10-05 10:21
I am very grateful for the time and energy you have spent explaining the hoped-for significance of "The Hobbit." Nevertheless,although this novel may indeed be derived from Norse mythology and although it may be but one chapter in LOTR, it has been published as a separate novel and its actions, however unified, should have a beginning, middle and an end. A story must have a pattern, each event building on (or challenging) whatever has happened up to the time of that event. If we say that "The Hobbit" is the story of Bilbo's discovery of his courage, growing eagerness to experience adventures - this resulting in a wider and greater respect of his society for him - we cannot escape the need to see each event of the novel as correctly placed in an unalterable sequence to bring about that change.
It is that unalterable sequence that I cannot discover here; it appears to make no difference to the larger argument of the change in Bilbo that many of the episodes might be interchanged. That indicates that either some other description of the whole action of the novel must be established as the principle of gradual change, or it indicates that the work is a shambles.
Even @!#$ tales have their logic, the limits and rationale of their magic; their episodes cannot be invented at will, as though a new story were being created at every turn. Yet, that is the impression I have of this novel. It is "deus ex machina" gone mad.