About the Author

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born January 3, 1892, in Bloemfontein, South Africa, where his father was a bank manager. After his father’s death, four-year-old […]


In the fantasy world of Middle-earth, Tolkien has created many echoes of the “real” world. Familiar human traits, both good and bad, abound in the […]


The story begins and ends in The Shire, in the Village of Hobbiton, a completely imaginary place which resembles a medieval English country village unspoiled […]

Literary Qualities

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 […]

Topics for Discussion

1. Early in the first chapter the narrator comments on Bilbo’s parents. What is the significance of the references to his “Tookishness” in this chapter […]

Related Titles

Tolkien followed The Hobbit with a three-volume sequel, The Lord of the Rings. This trilogy is far more serious in tone and more complex in […]