Teaching Students About the Hobbit
Incorporating fantasy literature into the classroom can greatly enrich students’ understanding of culture, history, and the foundations of storytelling. J.R.R. Tolkien’s timeless tale, “The Hobbit,” is an excellent example of how fantasy can be utilized in an educational setting. This article explores teaching methods for introducing students to the world of hobbits and their unique characteristics.
1. Begin with Background Information
Before diving into the world of hobbits, it is essential to provide students with background information about J.R.R. Tolkien and his creation of Middle-earth. Discuss Tolkien’s life, his love for languages, and how he intertwined his work as a philologist with his passion for storytelling.
2. Introduce Hobbits and Their Culture
Provide a brief introduction to hobbits and their unique characteristics. Discuss their physical traits such as small size, large hairy feet, round faces, curly hair, and love for bright colors in clothing. Also, highlight their cultural traits like living in underground holes called ‘hobbit-holes,’ their affinity for farming and gardening, a strong connection to nature, their capability to remain unseen when they desire, and the importance placed on food and celebrations in their everyday lives.
3. Explore Key Themes in “The Hobbit”
While reading “The Hobbit” with your students, discuss critical themes present throughout the book. Some of these themes include friendship, bravery, heroism, adventure, the power of greed, good vs. evil, and personal growth. Ensure students understand these themes within the context of Bilbo Baggins’ journey as well as the broader scope of Middle-earth’s history.
4. Engage Students with Creative Assignments
Supplement your lessons with creative assignments that encourage students to actively participate in creating their hobbit-related ideas or content. For example:
– Have students create a journal entry from Bilbo Baggins’ perspective.
– Ask students to design a hobbit-hole floor plan or draw a map of the Shire.
– Encourage them to write an original short story or poem featuring their hobbit character.
5. Discuss the Unexpected Hero Archetype
Central to The Hobbit’s storyline is the character development of Bilbo Baggins. As a reluctant adventurer pushed into a quest and later emerging as an unexpected hero, Bilbo embodies a significant archetype in literature. Have students compare and contrast other unexpected heroes with Bilbo in various stories, movies, and myths throughout history.
6. Hobbits beyond “The Hobbit”
Once your students have become familiar with the world of hobbits through “The Hobbit,” introduce them to Tolkien’s other works featuring hobbits such as “The Lord of the Rings trilogy” and “The Silmarillion.” This broader perspective will enable students to see how Tolkien’s ideas evolved over time and how hobbits played a vital role in shaping Middle-earth’s history.
In conclusion, incorporating the teaching of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” into your curriculum is an engaging way to introduce students to fantasy literature and encourage critical thinking around key themes, culture, history, language, and literary archetypes. By embarking on this journey into Middle-earth together, students will gain invaluable insights and knowledge that they can carry with them beyond the classroom walls.