Most folks know that J. R. R. Tolkien was a devout Catholic, so it is perhaps to be expected that his works, such as The Hobbit, include Catholic undertones. These undertones were explained brilliantly by Prof. Pearce in a lecture I had the pleasure of attending earlier this year at the IHM National Catholic Homeschool Conference in Fredericksburg, VA. In this talk, Prof. Pearce touched upon a multitude of themes in the Hobbit which resonate strongly with the Catholic faith. Bilbo's Journey is an expanded version of that talk which elaborates on these themes, among them:
- Bilbo's development from a self-centered creature focused on his own comforts, to an adventurer who puts his comrades' welfare ahead of his own safety.
- The idea of "luck" as a stand-in for Providence.
- Greed as the "dragon sickness" which destroys those who are enslaved by it.
- Humility as a virtue that allows the accomplishment of great deeds whereas pride truly goeth before a fall.
- The ultimate message that happiness is not gained by acquiring goods or treasure, but in putting the needs of others ahead of ones own needs, even if it leads to suffering.
In short, Bilbo's Journey is a concise and enlightening read that fans of Tolkien will most certainly enjoy and appreciate.