Essay about Jung: The Hobbit and Bilbo

Submitted By ksvans
Words: 1496
Pages: 6

After close examination of Carl Jung’s “archetypes” in his theory of The Psyche and The Self: The Personality as a Whole it is clear that J.R.R Tolkien referenced many of these in his work The Hobbit. His most prominent examples were shown to be illustrated in the forms of the Spiritual Father, the Mandela, The Hero and Individuation While there are others present and at times a major focus in the story, these seem to steer it’s progression for almost the entire time. In the Hobbit the Spiritual Father can be seen as the wizard Gandalf. “Knowledge, reflection, insight, wisdom, cleverness, and intuition” (Hopcke, 1989, p. 117); these are all qualities that one can tie to this archetypal figure, in this particular instance Gandalf, of which he has many. For example, Gandalf tricks Bilbo into hosting a party for the dwarves – at which Gandalf exposes the map to the treasure of Smaug. Gandalf also expresses the trait of knowledge and intuition when he cracks the stone in order to kill the trolls. He is acting as not only a guide but a protector in this instance and fits the mold of a “Wise Old Man” as described by Hopcke in his work entitled A Guided Tour of the Collective Works of C.G. Jung. Hopcke describes the Wise Old Man as “a quietness, a hermitlike secretiveness, a force expressed not in the phallic thrustings of the Hero or in the procreativity of the Father but a force that comes from within, a magical strength that guides and fortifies one in one’s inner struggles” (Hopcke, 1989, p. 117).
The Mandela can be described as The Ring which Bilbo found and put in his pocket, after he regained consciousness and saw it laying near him. This ring gave him the special power of invisibility and ends up saving him from the creature Gollum and also helping him free dwarves who had been trapped in spider’s webs. The Ring is the Mandela because a Mandela is described by Jung as “a symbolic representation of the whole psyche; this symbol anticipates the development of a more well-rounded, balanced self” (Cloninger, 2013, p. 53). Due to the fact that the Ring allowed Bilbo to encounter and progress through many trying situations and complete acts of greatness, it helped him grow in his understanding of himself and thus allowed for a greater sense of being; “Wholeness is symbolized by this archetype of the Mandela, the Search for self-realization or wholeness is known as the way of individuation” (Smith, 1990, p. 3).
Bilbo Baggins is a Hobbit and Hobbit’s tend to be a very home oriented creature, which is in many remarks – a tiny human, in physical appearance. Bilbo especially likes a delicious overage of food, smoking his pipe and is very content with life in his hobbit-hole. A few ways that exemplify the Hobbit’s fondness of home are the fact that it is kept very well furnished and that once on his journey (which is very peculiar for a Hobbit in itself; he prefers the safety of his home to travel) he almost turned back for his handkerchief and pipe. An example of Bilbo’s comfort level with his home life is when he literally faints at the mere idea of going on a quest out of his Shire, with dwarves. One of Jung’s three most important characteristics of the individuation process as outlined by Robert Aziz (1990) in his book “C.G. Jung’s Psychology of Religion and Synchronicity” is that the self unconsciously guides the conscious to further its own ends. While Bilbo was outwardly and consciously aware of his fear, he went on the quest anyways; and Gandalf’s words to the dwarves shortly after Bilbo fainting in Chapter 1 of: “Let’s have no more argument. I have chosen Mr. Baggins and that ought to be enough for all of you. If I say he is a Burglar, a Burglar he is, or will be when the time comes. There is a lot more in him than you guess, and a deal more than he has any idea of himself. You may (possibly) all live to thank me yet” foreshadow Bilbo’s change into The Hero” (Tolkien, 1973, p. 19). The story’s direction…