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Essay Questions for The Hobbit

Essay Questions for The Hobbit

One of the many advantages of homeschooling is that student learning can take place anywhere.  If you are considering taking your middle school* or high school students to see The Hobbit, the trip can easily be turned into a writing class.  Following are essay questions and writing prompts for readers and viewers of The Hobbit.

*Note:  This film is rated PG 13 (for Fantasy violence)

For Students Who Have Both Read & Viewed The Hobbit:

  • How does Peter Jackson’s visual representation of Middle Earth compare with what you envisioned when reading the book?  In particular discuss: The Shire, Rivendell, & The Dwarves’ Mountain home.
  • How does Peter Jackson’s visual representation of the characters of The Hobbit compare with what you envisioned when reading the book?  In particular discuss: Bilbo, The Dwarves, Gandalf, The Great Goblin, Gollum, and the Wargs.
  • How does Bilbo’s movie character compare with the Bilbo you envisioned when reading the book?
  • How does Thorin’s movie character compare with the Thorin you envisioned when reading the book?
  • Film producers and directors often use “artistic license” when developing their films.  In what ways did Peter Jackson use artistic license with The Hobbit?  Do you believe this enhanced the story or detracted from it?  Discuss.
  • The Hobbit is scheduled to be made into three separate movies.  If you were the director of this film, how many movies would you choose to make from this story?  Why do you believe Peter Jackson chose to make three?
  • Successful authors sometimes have the opportunity to see their hard work made into a film.  This can be bitter-sweet.  Their original story may be altered, and yet, often the author experiences more book sales as a result.   If Tolkien were alive today, do you believe he would be pleased with this production of The Hobbit?  Discuss.

For any student who has seen The Hobbit:

  • Are there parts of The Hobbit you would like to change?  Write a letter to Peter Jackson discussing what scenes you would choose to change or eliminate.
  • In your opinion what parts of this movie were done particularly well?  Write a letter to Peter Jackson naming the scenes you enjoyed while discussing the elements that made them well done.
  • If you could be a part of the movie production team for a day, what would you like to do?  Would you be the director, an actor, make-up artist?  Would you be part of the film crew, or set design?  Would you want to help in the music production, costumes, special effects?  Discuss the role you’d like to play and why you’d choose that position.
  • The music soundtrack for The Hobbit is very similar to that of Lord of the Rings.  Why do you believe Peter Jackson decided to keep a similar musical score?  Do you agree with his decision?  Why or why not?
  • How is Jackson’s production of The Hobbit similar to his production of Lord of the Rings?  How is it different?  Discuss.

Reading & Writing (for Students who have seen The Hobbit but have not read the entire book)

  • Read Chapter 1 of The Hobbit “An Unexpected Party”.  Compare and contrast this first chapter with its scene in the movie.
  • Read the poems/songs in chapter 1 of The Hobbit.  Do you believe the movie music reflects the proper mood of each poem?  Discuss.
  • Read Chapter 2 of The Hobbit “Roast Mutton”.  Compare and contrast the party’s escape from the trolls with the escape portrayed in the movie.
  • Read Chapter 5 of The Hobbit “Riddles in the Dark”.  Compare and contrast Bilbo and Gollum’s game of riddles with that portrayed in the movie.

On Tolkien, For Further Study:

  • Read a biography of Tolkien’s life.  In your opinion how did Tolkien’s studies contribute to his fabrication of the elven and dwarvish languages?
  • Read a biography of Tolkien’s life.  In your opinion did Tolkien’s involvement in World War I contribute to the battle scene depictions as described in The Hobbit?
  • Tolkien is considered by many to be the “Father of Fantasy”.  Do you agree with this assessment?  Why or why not?
  • Compare and contrast Tolkien’s writings with that of another fantasy author.  Do you believe Tolkien’s writings influenced this author?  If so, in what way?

More information about The Hobbit, including a movie trailer, tickets, the movie soundtrack, a wallpaper generator, and games can be found on this site: www.thehobbit.com.

Copyright December 14, 2012 by Gwen Fredette

Would you like to add your own essay question to this list?  Feel free to leave your question in the comments section of this blog.

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