Book Review: The Hobbit By J.R.R. Tolkien

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TheBreakaway
Zy Marquiez
March 2, 2017

“Real books disgust the totalitarian mind because they generate uncontrollable mental growth – and it cannot be monitored.”
John Taylor Gatto, A Different Kind Of Teacher, p. 82.

“Books are not made to be believed, but to be subjected to inquiry.  When we consider a book, we musn’t ask ourselves what it says but what it means.”
– Umberto Eco, The Name Of The Rose

J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit is one of his landmark pieces, which is part of Tolkien’s legendarium.  Tolkien’s legendarium revolves around the world of Arda.

Unknown to many, The Legendarium was created by Tolkien to serve as fictional mythology about the remote past of Earth, in which Middle Earth is the main stage.

The Legendarium is composed by phenomenal fiction such as The Lord of the Rings and also The Hobbit, as previously mentioned.  But also, the Legendarium features works such as The Silmarillion, The History of the Middle-Earth, The History Of The Hobbit, and more.

Undoubtedly one of the most significant books in the 20th Century, The Hobbit takes us through the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, whose life early on echoes predictability, comfort and simplicity.

However, after an unexpected party, Bilbo’s life changes most auspiciously.  After repeatedly stating he was not interested in being privy to an adventure, Bilbo was tricked into going by his guests, the dwarves, appealing to Bilbo’s more adventurous side – his Tookish side. There in the adventure begins.

On Bilbo’s quest to the Lonely Mountain, he and his companions traverse through Rivendel, the Misty Mountains, the dark forest of Mirkwood and even Lake Town, before anchoring at the Desolation of Smaug for the apex of the story.

On the way, Bilbo and his gang run into all sorts of folks: elves, humans, eagles, wargs, orcs, and even intricate characters such as Beorn and Gollum, all of which serve to make this phenomenal fantasy into one of the most intriguing mental escapes any fictional book has ever accomplished.

Throughout the epic, Bilbo’s journey mirrors that of the readers in the time which Tolkien published the story in 1937.  Just as Bilbo was reticent of going in the journey, being rather conservative, and being comfortable in his rather run-of-the-mill cookie-cutter everyday life, so were the people of the time of Tolkien a bit reserved about venturing on a journey into the realm of epic fantasy.  Mainstream folks weren’t interested in fantasy, and some even felt askance to it.  This was the reason why Tolkien used Bilbo as an analogy for the reader to familiarize itself with this Universe.

In fact, as medieval literature specialist and writer Corey Olsen Ph.D. puts it in his in-depth book, Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit:

“Bilbo’s initial perspective is so narrow, so domesticated, that being made late for dinner apparently counts as very serious hazard.  When Gandalf suggests sending him on an adventure, Bilbo runs into the house in panic.”[1][Emphasis On Original]

That’s how reticent Bilbo was!

These very circumstances, which mirror those of the readers of the time, are best exemplified by the following words:

“Tolkien was very aware of the artistic challenge he faced in writing a work of fantasy, especially since fantasy literature was far from the literary mainstream in the early twentieth century.  He knew that when they encountered his story in The Hobbit, his readers would have to leave their mundane and comfortable world behind and invest their imaginations in a world that contains magic and unexpected marvels.  In chapter One, Tolkien gives us a model for this very process within the story itself.  We begin in our safe and predictable world, and in the first chapter, we find ourselves in a world of wizard and dwarves and dragons.  In this transition, we find ourselves coming alongside a protagonist who is struggling through the exactly the same process, a character who himself internalizes the conflict between the mundane and the marvelous   Our first introduction to this magical, grim, and dangerous world of adventure is also his introduction, and his reluctance and difficulty in adjusting to it give us time to ease past our own discomfort and reservations.  Bilbo Baggins serves as a perfect touchstone for readers, both exploring and embodying the trickier frontier between the predictable and the unexpected.”[2]

And yet, no matter what Bilbo thought on the surface, deep down inside part of his deepest self was quite intrigued with the prospect of an adventure.  This insight is best viewed in the following passage, which takes place right when the dwarves begin an impromptu musical performance at his abode:

“Bilbo “forgot everything else, and was swept away into dark lands under strange moons, far over The Water and very far from his hobbit-hole under The Hill”.  He is transported into the land of the dwarves, and their song even brings him to share for a moment their own perspective and experience.  As they sing, he “felt the love of beautiful things made by hands and by cunning and by magic moving through him, a fierce and jealous love, the desire of the hearts of dwarves.”  For a little while, Bilbo is moved by the music and the poetry of the dwarves, and he steps imaginatively out of his little world and into their story.  At this moment, “something Tookish woke up inside him,” and Bilbo finds that there is a part of him that desires adventure after all.”[3]

Once Bilbo’s imagination is unleashed it was like Pandora ’s Box, and there was no putting it back.

The contrast within Bilbo is best noticed when compared with Gandalf, as each represent two sides of the same coin.

As Olsen elucidates:

“Bilbo’s settled, Baggins life is like prose, plain and businesslike, and the magical world of Gandalf and the dwarves is more like poetry, full of wonder and marvels, but also strange and sorcerous like Gandalf’s smokerings. Bilbo may adhere to the Baggins point of view, but his Tookish heritage does give him a tendency toward that other, adventurous life, a tendency that is lurking beneath the surface when Bilbo meets Gandalf.”[4]

This tendency towards  what’s intriguing and portentous is what helps Bilbo grow throughout the journey as he finds the core of his Tookish side, and uses it to help himself and his newfound friends in this journey.

Intriguingly, as Bilbo grows accustomed to the wondrous and imaginative changes that magic brings about, so did the readers of the time.

The best part of this The Hobbit is that it’s so in depth and profound that there’s much to be had from it.

Truth be told, as Louis Markos Ph.D. notes in his book, On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road To Virtue With Tolkien And Lewis:

“So greatly did The Hobbit delight adults and children hungry for the lost realm of fairy tales that the cried out for a sequel.  In response, Tolkien spent the next decade and a half crafting a far richer and more mature work that would ratchet up its predecessor from a humble fairy tale to a full-scale epic in the tradition of The Iliad, The Odyssey, and Beowulf.”[5]

The Hobbit is truly an upper echelon book.  This book resides within a class of books that belongs in an entirely different realm.  Some of the greatest books of all literature treat life as a journey, and this book is no different.  Moreover, not only that, but the book is so in depth, and offers so many subtle themes, that people for ages will be learning from it.

Touching upon this very subject, Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren speak about these type of books in their own touchstone piece, How To Read A Book – The Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading:

“There is a second class of books from which you can learn – both how to read and how to live.  Less than one out of every hundred books belongs in this class – probably it is more like one in a thousand, or even one in ten thousand.  These are the good books, the ones that were carefully wrought by the authors, the ones that convey to the reader significant insights about subjects of enduring interest to human beings.  There are in all probably no more than a few thousand of such books.”[6]

The Hobbit offers many profound lessons of life.  Through fantasy fiction Tolkien creates a story which is analogous to what each of our own journeys are individually.  And just as life offers us countless lessons from which to learn from, so offers The Hobbit many germane gems of wisdom that are for the taking which are woven throughout the story.

In sum, the best reason to read this book is encapsulated in the following words by Markos:

“All ages at all times need stories, but our needs them so much more…The stories that we need are precisely those that will beckon us to follow their heroes along the Road; that will embody for us the true nature of good and evil, virtue and vice, and then challenge us to engage the struggle between the two…”[7]

And The Hobbit, for those very salient reasons, and more, is just one of those stories.

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Sources:

[1] Corey Olsen Ph.D., Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, p. 21.
[2] Ibid., p. 35.
[3] Ibid., p. 24.
[4] Ibid., p. 23.
[5] Louis Markos Ph.D., On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road To Virtue With Tolkien And Lewis, pp. 13-14.
[6] Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren, How To Read A Book – The Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading, pp. 332-333.
[7]Louis Markos Ph.D., On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road To Virtue With Tolkien And Lewis, p. 187.
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This article is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.

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Analyzing Human Action – The Mirror Of Your Soul

“Imagination decides everything.”
– Blaise Pascal

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By: Zy Marquiez
December 7, 2015

As a powerful individual, your ability to choose – to carve out your own reality – is what made you who you are. Along the way, those endless choices have brought you upon an avenue chock full of possibilities that helped you mold yourself into who you chose to be come and what you ultimately stand for.

Through our personal roller-coaster journeys called life, we often find things/ideas/symbols/art pieces that echo our very soul through and through.

Hold that thought for a second.

Am sure someone has asked you to ponder upon the following for a moment. If nobody has, then take a minute to think, or as long as you need for you to narrow it down.

What is your personal song? The song that is you in every way shape and sound?

If you can’t narrow it down for whatever reason, consider the perfect book, the perfect verse, photograph, view, or moment shared with a significant other. Does that widen the breadth of options?

Now that you have the answer, what is it? Do you know this art piece like the back of your hand? Of course you do. That’s why is your favorite moment.

Why is this important?   Because we are going to undertake a mental exercise for a moment.

This song [or whatever you chose] will represent everything you think is perfect about life. This song is the upper echelon of existence, pure bliss, mellifluous rapture, the works. This song ultimately represents you and the perfect reality in your mind.  This song is the material representation of your very essence: your soul.

This song should be so powerful, that it should be able to fix all problems, mend all rifts, and heal all wounds. Everything.

In fact, am certain that for nigh everyone, these songs are so meaningful/powerful that they have helped us through some dire straits.

Now sit listening to it for quite a while. In fact, listen to it as long as you want. Could this song, really in all its infinite glory, be a synopsis of everything that is perfect in life for you? Could you listen to this song for the rest of your life and do nothing else?

A version of the previous idea was posed by Jon Rappoport [nomorefakenewscom] during an interview a while back. That is when his words/idea really resonated with me.

At first blush, the possibility seemed quite likely that in my case listening to the song, forever, might be possible. Had to ruminate quite a while about it however.

After some time, figured out that personally, even if it was the perfect song – in all its infinite glory – it would eventually get tiresome and it would bore me out of my skull.

Why is this? Because we know there is more out there. Having had experienced different ideas/escapes/latitudes that we consider perfect, we realize that life is about…variety. It’s about change. Is about breathtaking moments, which are the opposite side of the coin of the events that cause entropy/chaos.

The most perfect moment, the most perfect photograph, the most perfect kiss, is all bound upon the idea that is detachable from reality in away. In that way, carrying it around in your mental inbox heightens your life by having experiencing such personal perfection within your reality structure.

Yet, given the fact that life itself is beautiful because of the imperfections [one can’t appreciate the good without having experienced the bad], those personal and unique quintessential moments resound within our very soul since those are the exception.

That’s what makes perfect moments – a perfect song/photograph/verse/time shared – so special. Because it’s a symbol of who you are in a way. Or better said, it’s a symbol of what you believe one fragment of perfection is. It’s the brainchild of imagination, bliss and perfection exemplified.

The beauty of it all? There’s more.

There is always more.

There are more options. More songs. More books. More verses. More photographs. More moments.   More avenues/journeys which can guide you into new unknown wonders.

With so many untold possibilities and versions of what people hold as perfect, why are so many people eager to push their version of what they see as great/perfect onto others?   You would figure people would be eager to share [and not push], explore [and not shun] what can be found, or accomplished together even. Rare is the case it seems.

And no, the former is not about superficial material objects or anything of the like. It’s about ideas/moments that change people. Heck, that change the entire course of their lives.

We’re talking about monumental personal changes that in any way shifts your life/reality tectonically into a whole new continental landscape of possibilities.

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Now that you have a centerpiece for your dreambuilding operation, what you to do? Is it time to let that song/moment cycle through endlessly, for the rest of time? Or is it time to venture into the ceaseless unknown to see what other gems you may find?

Better yet: are you going to share your idea/knowledge with others? How about sharing it with those that lift you up? Those individuals would certainly know you best , and certainly appreciate you for who you are in your essence.

Either way, it’s a beautiful thing to have so many choices and to be able to choose, rather than to have anything – ideology/idea/religion – pushed onto you as if your freedoms are limited, or as if you have no other choice. As if your mind can’t make a choice on its own. As if you have no personal power as an individual. As if your wisdom is non-existent. As if life/reality must fit in a box, and anything that doesn’t fit within that particular type of box doesn’t belong there.

How about this: why not think of the most perfect of everything that you can think of, make sure you have that/those idea[s] solidly in your mind, and hold it there. Thence, do everything possible to think of something better, something greater, something vastly more interesting/boundless than what you just thought before. Now isn’t that stretching imagination a bit?

That’s better. That’s a lot better.

It’s like taking a photograph, and turning it into a universe.

Seeing a snippet of the latitude that imagination provides can do wonders. It truly can. Like a torpedo, it hones in and focuses on those things that drive you that separate free individuals from the pack.

If you’re a musician, this is the moment you write a new tune. If you’re an artists, this is where you can paint a boundless landscape on that blank canvas. If you’re a writer, this is where you put pen to paper, and get to work manifesting reality at the stroke of a pen.

What do all those examples have in common? Creation via your imagination.

The question isn’t why. The question is, why not?

The choice is yours.

Be mindful:

“Logic will get you from A to Z. Imagination will get you everywhere.”
– Albert Einstein

Who This Blog Is For


“The purpose of life is a life of purpose.”
– Robert Byrne

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By: Zy Marquiez
December 3, 2015

In fairness to give credit where credit is due, this piece has come to fruition due the work of a person who we value highly.  The name of this researcher/investigator is Jon Rappoport [nomorefakenews.com], and he carries out very incisive work in a myriad of fields.  One of his posts, in similar light, inspired this particular piece.

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Let’s preface the body of this piece with who this blog isn’t for.

This blog is not for folks that are lazy by choice and lackadaisical.

This blog is definitely not for people who value conformity in any way shape or form.

This blog is also not for the people who want the easy way out.

This blog is certainly not for folks that just want comfort or want issues sugar coated.

This blog isn’t for folks who don’t practice self-education.

And this blog finally isn’t for people who just want to be told what is best for them. Only the person themselves can ultimately decide what is best for them.

Who is this blog for?

This particular blog is for the masses individuals who want more; the ones who will not be held back on their journey to achieve the pinnacle of their dreams – their true dreams, not the ones prescribed by society.

Are you tired of the cookie cutter answers the establishment has ready-made for every single scenario that props up? Then this blog is for you. Are you searching for answers as to why the world is screwed up and don’t seem to find any semblance of an answer proposed by the comptrollers, then this blog is for you. Have you learned not to trust the mainstream media institutions/corporations that lie to you repeatedly and have taught you to question everything? This blog is for you.

Now let’s take a side road for a bit.

People are often quick to tell you their likes, their dislikes. However, we rarely hear people’s true passions, if those particular dreams go against the grain. This is because some people often criticize everything that doesn’t conform to their reality and personal point of views, which prevents others from opening up to them.

With that in mind, what is it YOU want? What is it you truly want? Are you living the life you wish for? If not, are you at least pushing beyond conventional thought to solve the issues preventing you from attaining/creating your reality/dreams?

Its easy to live the comfortable life – the prescribed life. That tends to get people in a funk. And am in no way implying that anyone reading this blog is settling at all. In fact, if you’re reading this blog you’re probably the vanguard of the tidal wave. You are the type of individual making changes, pushing against the grain, cracking bricks with toothpicks of rebellion that give globalists spinning headaches at night because you are the key to this whole enigma – the free individual.

Individuals that are not bound to the grid in ways corporations love because it nets them untold profits are the ones this blog is for.

It takes true drive/courage to reach out and go beyond your comfort levels and take [or start?] a path seldom followed. This is known to me from experience.

Being the only ship making way for a particular unique bearing, while the entire armada is anchored at the harbor can be quite daunting. It can seem you are not just the tip of the spear, but the entire spear itself. You are your own help, your own protector. Even your very own liberator. But isn’t what life is all about? This is not about doing everything by yourself. But some particular battles rest upon on you, and only you.

In any case, it is you who ultimately has to answer for the choices you have/haven’t made. It is you will have the knack for success when the chance arises, or will learn from failure on your way to knowledge/wisdom before reloading. it is you who has the brass stones to plow forth through the inferno of conformity, dislodging all obstacles in your path and it is certainly you who are responsible for your life at the very end. Why not make it your choice? Your reality? Why not now? Why give others that option?

Striving/creating something greater for yourself takes a lot of drive/imagination. It takes a lot of effort with bucket loads of focused intent that would leave your naysayers in the star dust.

With that said, what can one do?

Encircling yourself with like-minded individuals that will help you to thrive is a start. Narrowing down which path you want to take is a must.   Infuse your life with as many solutions will give you latitude while saturating yourself with imagination will give your possibilities precision.

It is your life. You decide. For better or worse, you always do.

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”
– Henry David Thoreau

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
– Lao Tzu