The Hobbit

Sting and Bilbo: Significance of the Small in The Hobbit 11th Grade

Bilbo’s sword, Sting, plays a large role in The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien -- a role that almost appears to be incongruous for its size. Through each one of its appearances, Sting’s increased significance as a plot element simultaneously symbolizes steps forward in Bilbo’s journey in becoming a true hero. The roles of the weapon with overlooked potentials and the hobbit with underestimated abilities eventually are revealed to be more significant than imagined.

Bilbo’s encounter with the trolls is what leads to the discovery of Sting. Because his experience with the trolls is his first encounter with the true perils of the world outside the Shire, Bilbo's actions reflect those of a typical hobbit with an easy, sheltered life. Although he escapes the trolls alive, he is painted as a character of extreme cowardice in this part of the novel, as he hides in a bush while his dwarf-friends take on the statuses of future troll-fodder. Nevertheless, after the trolls are turned into stone, his success in overcoming his first taste of danger is rewarded with the discovery of Sting in the troll’s cave. Compared to the other precious elvin-made swords found in the cave, Sting appears insignificant, as it “would have made only a tiny...

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