The Hobbit: Hero or Not?

Grades 6-8 | Analysis | Source-Based
Source Lexile®: N/A (No Source Texts Shown) | Learning Standards




From the earliest recorded history, human beings have been fascinated by noble heroes and the stories that surround them. In both oral and written stories, heroes have traditionally shared certain traits: physical strength, a forceful personality, and a craving for adventure or even conflict. Classic heroes also often leave home, seek out honor and glory, and repeatedly prove themselves worthy.


When J.R.R. Tolkien wrote his acclaimed novel, The Hobbit, his central character, Bilbo Baggins, fascinated readers in the same way. Bilbo is a hobbit who loves the warmth of his fire and the luxuries of good food and drink; ultimately, though, Gandalf the wizard and the dwarves convince him to leave his comfortable home for a journey filled with twists and turns. Over the course of the novel, Bilbo’s character grows and changes, but critics have argued about whether his character ultimately fits the definition of a hero. Based on Bilbo’s characteristics, choices, and behaviors, write an essay about whether Bilbo becomes a hero by the end of his adventures. Be sure to include specific details that support your claim about whether Bilbo is a hero or not, based on his characteristics, choices, and behaviors.