Anna Costa and Heaven is Paved with Oreos

Murdock

Heaven is paved with Oreos

Catherine Gilbert Murdock

This is a journal for Sarah, from her grandmother Z where she has to write all her marvelous adventures…

MY JOURNAL

Wednesday, June 12:

On the first page of Sarah’s new journal, she wrote about her first “adventure”: she had to make sure that her best friend, Curtis, didn’t throw up, because he was very shy.

There was a graduation, where Curti’s brother talked about his terrible injury. In the meantime, Curtis had to stand next to his brother onstage and he looked very queasy. So, she tried to give him moral support. After that they gave out diplomas and Sarah talked a little bit with her best friend, trying to make him feel better.

Later she met her mom and her little brother Paul and they went back home, where they ate pizza with her father.

She wrote also that Z would come the next day, so that’s why she was writing about this little adventure…

Thursday, June 13:

On this day Sarah and Curtis wanted to go work on Boris. Previously, she told about how she and Curtis became best friends:

At first she didn’t speak so much with Curtis, but one day she saw a little dead bird on the floor. She stared at it and the other guys laughed at her. Suddenly Curtis came and told them, that they should stop. Given that Curtis was taller than the others, they instantly stopped to laugh and went away. Later Sarah went in class and her new friend buried the little bird.

A few weeks later Sarah and Curtis became partners for a big project on the scientific elements and because it was so good, they did also something for the science fair, where they became third in the state.

Now they were preparing for the high school state science fair a new project, about a calf, that was born dead. That is why they had to meet in the library…

Thursday, June 13 – LATER (1&2):

Curtis and Sarah worked at the Red Bend Library. There, they spent two hours discussing about the themes for their science project.

When they were finished, Curtis accompanied Sarah back home, until they arrived at Sarah’s home, where they saw Curtis’s sister’s car and also Paul: Paul’s facial expression was miserable, because he hated D.J. and he had to go with her to the guitar lessons, but at the end they found a simple solution…

In the evening Sarah and Paul’s grandmother Z came for dinner. She told about her trip to Rome, to St. Peter’s Square: she wanted to visit all seven pilgrimages, but she failed. For this reason she wanted to go back another time but this time she would take also her granddaughter Sarah.

Only now Sarah understood why she got this journal and she became so excited, as she had never been before.

 

 

Friday, June 14:

Today Sarah went to Curtis’s baseball play. She was very happy to see at the game, until   unfortunately she saw there Emily too. Emily attended all the games with big posters for Curtis and she also cheered a lot. Suddenly Emily went to Sarah and asked her why she didn’t cheer, if she was Curtis girlfriend, and at this point, Sarah explained her relation with Curtis:

When Sarah and Curtis were in seventh grade, they invented the Brilliant Outflanking Strategy: When they did their project everybody teased them, because they said, that Sarah and Curtis were boyfriend and girlfriend. Of course that wasn’t true, but one day, they went together to a pic-nic and suddenly a little girl asked them if they had a relationship. At first they said NO, but Sarah had a fantastic idea: the 3rd time that the little girl asked the same question, Sarah said YES and the girl went away. So they discovered that, if Sarah and Curtis said that they are in a relationship, nobody cares…

Everybody believed it, even if it wasn’t true, except for Emily… That’s the reason why Emily commented…

After this, Sarah bought an ice cream with Curtis and told him about Rome.

Monday, June 17 – June 17 LATER

This morning, D.J. drove Paul and Sarah to Prophetstown, where Paul took music lessons and Sarah took out Z’s dog. On the way Sarah told D.J. about her trip to Rome and something about Z.

Later Sarah went to her grandmother’s apartment and ate lots of Oreos, because she and Z loved those biscuits dipped into milk.

Later she went to walk with the dog Jack Russell George.

After this promenade Sarah went back home with D.J. and whilst D.J. was driving, Sarah told her the story about her grandma’s name Z:

Z had Sarah’s dad when she was eighteen years old, in 1960. However, the problem was, that in those years a lot of people didn’t like girls having babies when they weren’t married. Z had to leave college, let her son with her parents in Two Geese and moved to California. Sarah’s dad grew up with his uncles and aunts and Z changed her name from Alice Zorn to Azalea Zorn, but everyone called her Z. The strangest thing is, that Z never said who’s the real dad of her child was. They supposed, that it was a famous person, because Z wanted his son to have many possibilities to become famous.

Friday, June 21:

On the way to Prophetstown D.J. asked if Paul would go to Rome too, but he said no, and listened to music. Later Sarah narrated again something about Z and on the ride back to Red Bend, D.J. told something about her boyfriend.

Saturday, June 22- Sunday, June 23 – Monday, June 24:

Z came to dinner and brought Chinese food, fortune cookies and later the whole family discussed about the trip to Rome. At the end they decided that Sarah would go to Rome and instantly she called Curtis and told him about this news. He didn’t sound good at all and Sarah became sad because of this.

The next day, Sarah told D.J. about the decision and she found it fantastic, because for her it was a very good possibility to become smarter.

Tuesday, June 25 – Saturday, June 29 – June 29 LATER:

Curtis had a game, but his mood was tight and Sarah couldn’t understand why… She wished, there was someone she could talk about. At first she thought of Z, but she wasn’t good at talking about other people, because she compared everything with the 1960s and she saw not Sarah as Sarah, but Sarah as herself.

On Saturday Sarah went shopping with her mother for the trip. Her mom wanted to get comfortable shoes so that Sarah could walk a lot. The shoes were awful..

In the evening Curtis went to Sarah, but they didn’t have any fun… Sarah thought about a lot of things and was very aloof. He went away, without saying anything, because he went to a friend’s house…

Monday, July 1 – Saturday, July 6 – Tuesday, July 9:

On Monday Sarah went to a basketball game of D.J. with Z. Both cheered a lot for D.J. and determined that she had also many other fans.

On Saturday Sarah was highly sad, because she had broken up with Boris, even if they weren’t actual girlfriend an boyfriend. Since Curtis did not want a fake girlfriend anymore and he also hated to lie about this.

On Tuesday Sarah recounted Z, about breaking up with Curtis, but she took it calmly. Also because the next day, they would begin their adventure and go to Rome. They had to think about other things than men.

JOURNAL #2:

Wednesday, July 10:

Z and Sarah were in the plane to Chicago. They were both very excited for Rome and also because they had an exceedingly tight connection to the plane to Rome. Another agitating thing was that, Sarah had a new journal. The old one, was already half- filled and she wouldn’t carry around memories of Curtis.

Later, Sarah had good news: they didn’t miss the plane to Rome. Z and she didn’t sit together: Sarah sat next to a real nun and Z next to a man. Their supper was very nice and afterward, they slept…

Thursday, July 11:

Sarah and Z were in ROME! They landed at an airport and took the train from the airport to the centre of Rome. Afterward they went in a little cafe and called Sarah’s mom to tell her, that they landed safety and then they walked to their hotel. As soon as they had unpacked their clothes they explored the Eternal City.

In the late afternoon, they sat in another cafe and ate some “gelato”, ice cream, and continued their walk. The first thing they visited, was the Pantheon, an old Roman temple with columns in front that were huge. Then Z took Sarah, to see an elephant. Of course it wasn’t real, it was only a statue, and on its back it had an obelisk.

After the Pantheon, they visited a really old part of Rome, the Forum, which is a bunch of rocks and tourists.

Saturday, July 12:

Finally, the pilgrimage began! Sarah and Z went to St. Peter’s, the most important church of their seven pilgrimage churches.

As soon as Sarah and Z were at St. Peter’s, they had to stand in a line for a long time. When they got inside Z kept following the guides who spoke English, so that they could learn even more.

After this visit, both went to a cafe and drank cappuccino. Later they continued their pilgrimage and stood in another long line to get on the top of the church. Only there Sarah could appreciate how big St. Peter’s really was! To get on the top, they had to climb 300 steps and some of them were super twisty and narrow. Up in the dome they were close enough to see the mosaics and on the roof Sarah bought also a postcard for D.J.

Saturday, July 13:

By then Z and Sarah were SUPER PILGRIMS, because they had visited FOUR churches:

The first church, they visited, was Santa Maria Maggiore church, Jesus’s mother, Mary’s church.   An interesting thing was that Bernini was buried inside and the ceiling was made of the first gold the Spaniards brought back from America. St. Peter’s and the Santa Maria Maggiore churches were both in the Vatican.

For Sarah, the inside of the Maggiore church was even more beautiful than the St. Peter’s, because it was made of sheep mosaics.

The second church, was St. Helena’s. Sarah didn’t tell many things about this church and later they moved into church number three. Sarah really didn’t like this church, because it was a little bit scary: The church did have the heads of St. Peters and St. John, the Evangelist in silver jars.

Finally they went to the fourth and last church: San Paolo Fuori le Mura. That church was so far, that they had to take the subway. The son of St. Helena built this church to honour St. Paul, because it was where St. Paul was buried. Then, in 1823, a workman accidentally burned the building down. It was a huge tragedy. Inside, there wasn’t anyone, but they heard someone sing: they were pilgrims, who had travelled to this church because they had faith that St. Paul could help them.

After this long pilgrimage, they went to a little restaurant for supper and at the end of the day Sarah and Z returned to the hotel and went to bed.

Sunday, July 14:

On this day Z turned 64 years old and Sarah sang Happy Birthday and gave her a card. It was also the birthday of France. At breakfast the hotel restaurant was decorated with little French flags and the waiters sang “When I’m sixty-four” for Z. She was very pleased and cried. After breakfast Z took a bath and they visited church number five and the sixth church: San Lorenzo Fuori le Mura. Like the St. Paul’s, also this one was outside the old Roman walls, which was very important to remember. San Lorenzo was a Christian back in Rome who was grilled to death. The church was where he was buried and outside there was also a golden statue that showed how he died. Sarah meant, that this church had the best mosaic that Sarah had seen yet. It was a picture of the man who built San Lorenzo, who was holding a model of the church in his hand.

Later, they visited another church, that wasn’t part of the real pilgrimage: Santa Maria del Popolo. Inside Sarah saw lots of skulls and also a huge full marble skeleton, that was built into the wall. While Sarah walked around the church, Z was praying.

Afterward they went to the Spanish Steps, where they stopped at a minimarket and bought something to eat and to drink. Z bought also some cigarettes and smoked part of one.

Monday, July 15:

That morning, Sarah went to have breakfast alone and later they went to church number seven. Then their pilgrimage would be completed. That church was called San Sebastiano Fuori le Mura and it was built on top of catacombs. Lots of common people were buried there, like the early popes and a soldier named Sebastiano, from whom this church took its name.

 

LATER:

Sarah and Z had not left their hotel! It was lunch time and Z was still in bed! Z kept saying that she would get up soon, but she didn’t. Sarah was extremely sad about this, so she went down to the woman at the front desk and asked which bus she had to take if she wanted to get to the catacombs. Then she went again to Z and thought what she could do to help her grandma. She wanted to call her mom or D.J. but at the end, she found a better solution: Sarah took some of Z’s European money and went outside.

She bought some pizza for lunch and discovered a very nice store, with which one she fell in love. It was a paper shop, with many different paper types and journals. After this little trip, Sarah went back to Z and brought her some pizza. They talked a little bit and at the end they went to bed.

Tuesday, July 16:

In the morning, they had breakfast and in forenoon they didn’t go to San Sebastiano. Instead of visiting the last church, they went again to the paper store, where Sarah bought some nice presents and Z took a journal and a very expensive pen for herself.

LATER:

They didn’t go to Sebastiano at all and so they wouldn’t become official pilgrims. They wouldn’t even get to see the catacombs! Darn it!

In the morning, they went to this store and as soon as they picked out the presents, Z said that she wasn’t up for going to the last church. She said that she wasn’t going to make it to the Oreos, what means that she didn’t think she was going to heaven.

In the last pages Sarah forgot to mention the story about the fortune cookies: In Z’s cookie, there was written “Hell is paved with good intentions” and Z transformed it in “Heaven is paved with Oreos”, because she loved Oreos so much.

Instead of that, Sarah went again to the “Basilicata di Santa Maria del Popolo”, to watch the amazing painting of St.-Paul-falling-off-his-horse. While Sarah was in the church and looked at this painting, Z stood outside and looked at the people.

Wednesday, July 17:

Sarah and Z were on the plane while she wrote this entry. They had to wake up extremely early and walked to the train station. Then they flew to Chicago, transferred, and took the other plane to Minneapolis, were Sarah’s mom picked them up. While they were on the plane Z wrote something in her journal…

Once they were in the car with Sarah’s mom and Paul they had to recount all the adventures and they dropped Z off in front of her apartment. Z gave Sarah the journal and a kiss and she went into her house.

Thursday, July 18:

On this day, Sarah got up very late and had a simple American breakfast. Later, she put Z’s notebook under her bed and maybe she wouldn’t even have read it…

Z’s notebook – for Sarah and Paul:

Z wrote this letter for her grandchildren, because they needed to understand from where they came. She never thought and talked so much about this, but now she had to be honest to herself and all the people around her.

Z was born in Two Geese, Wisconsin, a very small town, that was even smaller in 1949. Her mom Ann, had her, Johnny and Janie and Ruthie and then eight years later little Tommy. So Z was like a maid, a second mother. She had to do everything in the household, but she didn’t want to get married and have children like everyone. She wanted to know what she wanted first. Then she saw the Beatles, and discovered folk music, rock and roll and Motown. She couldn’t say if it was the music or herself, but she couldn’t stay in Two Geese, she had to get out.

Later she won a scholarship and finally left Two Geese for a fancy East Coast women’s college. The summer after her freshman year, a professor offered a tour of Italy. She would take part anyway!

On the trip, they visited Florence and Venice and Siena. Their first day in Rome, they went to all the Classic sights and the next day they were free. The girls went from Café to Café, drank some wine and of course didn’t go to Sebastiano. They vowed to finish the next day.

Also the next day, they couldn’t. A student made a tour with them in some churches. It was July 14, Bastille Day, Z’s birthday.

Then they went to Santa Maria del Popolo and as soon as they were in front of The Conversation of St. Paul, Z began to cry. Of course Paolo, the student, noticed it and took her aside to ask her how she was. They began to chat about music and Z found out that he also liked the Beatles and asked him if he has a Record player to play the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. He didn’t… but he could sing the song to her later, in the evening.

They were under strict curfews and so the girls helped Z to sneak out. Paolo said he would meet her in the evening on the Spanish Steps, and he did. Everything seemed like a fairy tale…

They were convinced they were in love and sang “When I am sixty-four” twelve times. Paolo and Z made a pact that they would be together when they turned sixty-four. They promised each other they would meet on the Spanish Steps on the evening of Z’s sixty-fourth birthday.

Well, on each day, Z truly didn’t think she could get pregnant, and didn’t pay so much attention…She snuck back to her hotel at 5.00 am and had to tell everything to her six friends.

She didn’t see Paolo again, and some days later they left and flew back to New York. Z spent the rest of the summer taking some odd jobs and whenever she had the possibility she went to some clubs. She never saw Bob Dylan, but she met many other brilliant stars. In fall she returned to college and her own brother Johnny went to the war in Vietnam. He was drafted in the U.S. Army. Z tried to help him flee, but she had her own problems: she was definitely pregnant and the college kicked her out immediately…

Although, she really didn’t want to get back, she returned to Two Geese and the judgment from the other people was terrible. She survived only thanks to Grandma Ann.

All the time, Z thought about giving her baby up to adoption, because she wanted to become an artist… She and Paolo wrote many letters, but she wouldn’t let him know about the baby; so she asked him, if he wanted to have a family. Her heart broke, as soon as he said that he wanted many years of freedom, before that to happen. After a while they stopped writing and then Z lost his address.

Then Johnny died. He had a terrible car accident in an army base. That’s when Grandma Ann said she wanted Z’s baby. She wanted a child to substitute the child she’d lost. Z named the baby Robert Rimmerman Zorn. If people wanted to think that it was Bob Marley’s son, that was fine for her.

She left Two Geese as soon as she could and changed her name to Azalea Zorn. Suddenly, when Grandma Ann got sick, she came back to Wisconsin to look out for her and Robert.

Sarah and Paul knew that Paolo didn’t come to the Spanish Steps on her sixty-fourth birthday, but she also never thought he would. As Z planned the trip, she didn’t want to go alone, but she also didn’t know whom she should take to Rome. At first she wanted to go with Robert, but he had to work and then she had the idea to take her granddaughter.

 

As soon as she understood, that Paolo wouldn’t come she fell apart and now she was extremely sorry about this… She only wanted everyone to be happy…

Grandmother Z

IL GIORNALE:

Friday, July 19:

Sarah began using her new journal, that one she had bought in Rome.

She read Z’s journal, even if it was hard for her and now she was really furious with Z. She also wrote the reasons, why she was furious:

  1. Z said she would go back to Rome to reconnect with God, but really she wanted to reconnect with Paolo.
  2. Paolo didn’t show up. But what if he did? He would have been shocked to see his granddaughter. Z could have given him a heart attack! She should at least have warned him and also Sarah.
  3. Paolo didn’t come. Why did she tell Sarah all the story then? Now Sarah could only think about her grandfather and all her beautiful Italian cousins. She wanted to meet them, and she could not.
  4. Z, was the reason why they stopped writing letters. Paolo wanted to keep on writing, but she stopped. She also never told him, she had a baby. She only “hinted” at it. Z would have never known his reaction, because she never told him about his son. Perhaps, he would have moved closer to her…Nobody knew.
  5. What about Sarah’s dad? Of course he knew about Paolo, or he wouldn’t have named her brother Paul.
  6. What would Sarah’s mom say, if she found out that Z, wanted go to Rome only to see Paolo again? She would freak out, like she did when she found out that Sarah bought some pizza alone.
  7. Sarah was still mad, because they didn’t see all the churches…

Even, if Sarah didn’t want to see Z or go to Prophetstown, she had to. Paul didn’t want to go there alone with D.J.

The ride was terrible: D.J. didn’t say anything. Sarah wanted to ask her something about Curtis, but she didn’t have the courage.

The back ride wasn’t better; D.J. said only one thing as she was pulling her car onto Sarah’s street: She and Brian had broken up, that’s why she was so mad. And then she said that she was sorry about Curtis, because Sarah and he really liked each other.

Only at that point Sarah understood that she wanted Curtis as a boyfriend and not only as a friend and she felt bad about this, because in fact she behaved like Z with Paolo.

Monday, July 22 – Friday, July 26:

D.J. and Curtis were both away at tournaments all week and so Sarah’s mom had to drive her and Paul to Prophetstown.

On Friday both were still gone. Her mom was still irked by her bad mood and so she was happy that her dad had to work so she didn’t have to talk with him about Paolo or about Z. Eke this day, Sarah’s mom had to drive her children to Prophetstown. On the ride they didn’t say anything and as soon as they arrived they did the usual activities. During the walk with Jack Russell George, she thought about the giornale that she wanted to give Curtis.

 

Monday, July 29:

On this day D.J. came back, Curtis didn’t. Sarah was relieved that she could drive again with D.J.to Prophetstown. On the ride, Sarah recounted her the story about Z and Paolo and asked for advice. D.J. explained her, that the only way to solve this, was to tell her father the truth. Even if it wasn’t easy.

On the way back home Sarah and D.J. talked all the time; about Curtis. Sarah’s biggest fear, was that Curtis wanted only Emily. But D.J. assured her, that he didn’t want anything from her. Sarah’s duty, was now to tell Cutis the truth, because he was not going to talk to her, that was clear.

Wednesday, July 31:

The night before Sarah asked her dad if he wanted to have ice cream with her, but he didn’t have enough time. The next night, the two went to Jorgensens’ for some ice cream and talked about Z and Paolo.

At the end of the conversation, Sarah knew that also her father knew only that Paolo was his father and not more. She also found out that they called Paul Paul without any intention. Well, universe works in mysterious ways.

After this long discussion, Sarah asked the most important question: “Was Z a good mom?”

He answered, that she was pretty and everything, but she was never at home… she was like an eighteen years old grandma.

Thursday, August 1:

Sarah went to the park, at a picnic table and suddenly D.J. came. Two other girls were with her: Amber and Dale. Together they had ice cream and talked.

That night Mom, Dad, Paul and Sarah had a big talk about the common story. Sarah had to recount all about the pilgrimage, with all the details and the truth. At the end of the conversation, Sarah asked another question to her mom: “Do you like Z?”. Her mom obviously liked her and was also a bit jealous about her…

Friday, August 2 – Saturday, August 3 – Sunday, August 4 – Monday, August 5:

Sarah went to Prophetstown again, with D.J. and they spoke about Two Lady Pilgrims, when Paul suddenly asked if D.J. and his sister wanted to go at the Dog Days of Prophetstown, where he would have a show.

In Prophetstown, Sarah saw Z and as soon as she could, Sarah concluded the conversation.

On Saturday Sarah wrote a little reflection about Emily in her journal and figured out three key facts about her:

  1. Emily was an extremely good girlfriend, but she could not tell other people how they had to be.
  2. Sarah was extremely sure that Emily would never go to Rome.
  3. Emily was not D.J. Schwenk’s friend.

Curtis came home on Sunday. He had a baseball game that afternoon and Sarah wen, too. Of course Emily was there, too, with other girls and cheered like every time. After the game Curtis went to Sarah and together they went to have ice cream.

On Monday D.J. actually asked Sarah about Curtis and Sarah told her that things were looking up… Like on Friday, they talked about the show and the surprise-song for Z.

 

Sunday, August 11:

Sunday was the day of the DOG DAYS OF PROPHETSTOWNT! That week was soooo crazy: they had to prepare so many things for that show and everything was ready for it.

Sarah spent all her time at the party with Curtis and she wondered why D.J. kissed Brian, when they had broken up not that long time ago…But that wasn’t so important for her.

After a while Sarah decided to tell Curtis the truth about everything: She finally found the courage and told him that she wanted to be his girlfriend and he agreed, too! Later Paul was on stage and did his performance. It was amazing! He had become such a good guitar player and singer. No one expected this about him. A little time later, Curtis went to get some ice cream and brought Sarah a new flavour: vanilla cream with Oreos… She loved it.

And then, the big moment came: Paul played a song especially for Z. Fortunately it wasn’t “When I’m sixty-four”, but another song remixed by Paul only for his grandma. It was a sad and slowly song so everyone began to dance. Even Sarah danced with Curtis and put her forehead on his T-shirt. It was one of the most beautiful moments for the two and as soon as the song finished, both danced along…

COMMENT:

I have to say, that I have never seen this book before, but only the title made me curious, so I started to read it… At first it was a bit boring, but then it became more and more interesting.

It isn’t the kind of book I normally read, but I enjoyed it, because in the whole story, there was another story about the past.

I recommend this book especially to girls, because it is a kind of love story…and it isn’t so difficult to read.

Catherin Gilbert Murdock was born in Charleston, South Carolina and grew up in small-town Connecticut, on a tiny farm. The family lived in the country with no neighbors and had a very old TV. Consequently, they all read a lot.

Her father was a chemical engineer and her mother a nurse. Her sister Liz, is now a very famous writer and the author of Eat, Pray, Love and many other books.

Her first book was Dairy Queen, a novel for young adults, that has also a sequel.

Now, she lives in Philadelphia with her husband and children.

Anna Costa

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Anna Costa and Heaven is Paved with Oreos

Beatrice Baldotto and The Hobbit by Tolkien

wizardmerlin

I

Bilbo Baggins was a hobbit. The hobbit is a creature that is tall half human, he has no beard and wears no shoes because of his natural tough feet. Anyway, Bilbo lived in a simple and pretty cave. It was full of rooms and, more important, full of food, because a hobbit could eat more than three times a day. One morning Bilbo was sitting on a chair, and while he was smoking his pipe he saw a wizard that was coming closer to his house. He hailed him: his name was Gandalf. Gandalf started to talk to Bilbo about a great adventure but Mr. Baggins, who was just a placid hobbit, did not want to listen. He invited Gandalf to have some tea the day after only because he did not want to give a bad impression of him-self.

The next day at tea time somebody knocked on the door but it was not Gandalf. It was Dwalin, a dwarf. After Dwalin arrived: Balin, Kili, Fili, Dori, Nori, Ori, Oin, Gloin, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Thorin and finally Gandalf. So the meeting could begin. During the conversation Bilbo understood that all those dwarves were in his house because Gandalf had signed his door with the symbol of the “Burglar that is looking for a job”. He became, without knowing it, the official burglar of the group. He had to start a long trip to find a hidden and secret door together with the others. Bilbo did not want to go, but a part of him, his mother part, wanted to go. In fact he was half Tuc, a family of adventurers. At the end everybody wanted to go to sleep, so they said that they would start their trip on the following morning.

II

When Bilbo woke up nobody was there anymore. The hobbit was half happy, but, like the day before, his Tuc part wished to go with the dwarves. He was washing all the dishes when Gandalf arrived and told him that he was late: all the dwarves were waiting for him at an inn.

He finally arrived at the inn and he saw all his friends that were ready to begin the adventure.

They went through the Lonely Land: nobody lived there. The weather started getting worse and cold. And after a while it started raining cats and dogs. They lost a pony and a great part of the stocks. So they looked for a shelter for the night. Two dwarves tried to light a fire, but then they saw a light and decided to send Bilbo there to check what the light was. In silence the hobbit went up to the hill, and glimpsed three Trolls through the trees. They were full of food and Bilbo wanted to steal the pocket from one of them. So he tried but the pocket screamed (it was a magic one) and the Troll captured him. The three asked him if he was alone and other questions, and Bilbo tried to answer in a way that the troll could not understand where his companions were. At the same time Balin arrived. He was looking for Bilbo and the troll captured him, and all the other dwarves that came after. They began to argue because Gandalf, with his magic, confused them. They hit each other and so the company could escape. They found a door, and with a key that Bilbo had found before they could open it. Inside it was full of food and treasures. They took some stocks and also two swords. They finally ate and slept.

III

The company went on with their trip, but the lands and the territories that they had to go through were getting harder and harder. They were without any stocks and tired. Gandalf told them that at the end of this part of the trip they would be hosted by Elrond (the king of the elves) and by his population. Finally the 16 arrived. They stayed there to rest for two weeks. But when they had to resume their way the king saw the two swords that they had stolen from the troll’s cave and told them that their names were Orcrist and Glamdring. They were magical swords that came from Gondolin. Elrond also read the old rune thanks to the moon’s light. The dwarves, Gandalf and Bilbo left the Land of the Elves.

IV

They went up to the mountains and it was really cold. They were all doing a great effort to go on. One night, unfortunately, there was a terrible storm, so the company looked for a shelter. They found one, but when the rain started to enter their hut they had to find another one. Dori found a cave: they went there, ate and finally could sleep. Bilbo woke up in the middle of the night and saw that some ponies that had disappeared. He didn’t have the time to wake up the others that the ogres kidnapped them. Gandalf was the only one who could escape, and so he did. The ogres took them to their master. But, when the dwarves and Bilbo thought that it was the end, the sword Orcrist (with magic powers) killed the ogre’s master. All the light turned off and the monsters started being scared. Gandalf appeared and fought against some ogres, so Bilbo and his companios could go down into a tunnel. They had to be quick because the ogres -now that their fear had dissolved- were really really angry and wanted to kill them all. Bilbo could not run, and so Dori took him on his shoulders. The ogres arrived but the other sword, Glamdring, fought them. The second time that the ogres reached them they could not escape. One monster grabbed Dori, and Bilbo fell down. He immediately collapsed.

V

Bilbo woke up and it was totally dark. He could not see anything, so he decided to find an exit by moving only with his sense of hearing. When he touched the ground he found a ring. He picked it up.

He continued walking in the dark when suddenly he arrived at a big underground lake. Here he met Gollum, a creature that wanted to eat him. Bilbo thought up a trick to earn time: they played the game of the riddles. By these rules: if Bilbo won Gollum would help him find the exit, but if Bilbo lost Gollum would eat him. At the end Bilbo asked Gollum the question “What’s in my pocket?” but Gollum understood that it was another riddle, he answered wrongly and so he lost. Gollum had a second plan. He went back to his little island where he hid his birthday’s present even if Bilbo was screaming that he had to respect the agreement. Gollum believed that with this present he could take Bilbo by surprise, and then eat him. Bilbo understood that Gollum did not have pacific intentions, and so he started to run. He put his hand in his pocket and, accidentally, he wore the ring. Gollum arrived, Bilbo was terribly scared. But Gollum did not see him. The creature was sure that Bilbo had stolen his present, so he went to the exit to capture him. Bilbo silently followed Gollum and, when they arrived at the exit, it was full of ogres. Gollum spoke with himself and Bilbo understood that the ring had the magic power to make the person who wears it invisible. Bilbo, because of an unexpected bravery, jumped on Gollum’s head and -avoiding the monsters- finally saw freedom.

VI

Bilbo realized that he had passed through the entire mountain and now he was on the “other side”. He also realized that, even if he did not want it, he had to go back and look for his friends. But suddenly he heard the voice of Gandalf that was arguing with Thorin because they had lost Bilbo. The hobbit was still invisible, so he got more closer to them and he took his ring off. Everybody was surprised, and finally they restarted their adventure.

Like the other times the roads were dangerous and insidious. In fact they had to cross a path that was pebbly. They failed, because there was a landslide and they all fell down in a clearing. The company immediately heard some howls that got closer and closer to them. Gandalf screamed to the other to hide themselves up in the trees, because the wolves could not climb them. Dori helped Bilbo before a wolf could bit him. They were not common wolves, they were werwolves. Gandalf understood their language: they were waiting for the ogres to come, because they were allies. Gandalf threw some burned pine cones to the wolves. The company was not the only one who was watching the werwolves from the top. In fact the Lord of the Eagles had noticed the light of the pine cones and became interested in what was happening there. Eagles hated the wolves and the ogres. They helped our friends and took them to their secret shelter. There Gandalf spoke to the Lord and asked him if they could take him back to their way. He accepted.

VII

The day after all the eagles left the company on a enormous rock. Gandalf said to all the dwarves -and Bilbo- that in those lands lived a friend of him, but he was a bit raw and sometimes rude. So the company had to be absolutely kind and polite, if they wanted to get some help. The name of this man (that could also become a bear) was Beorn. He lived with many animals, and ate only honey and crackers, because he respected all the animals and they were like his children. After the story of the company’s adventure Beorn, fascinated by it, decided to help them. The day after all the 16 remained at Beorn’s home and relaxed a bit, but there was no sign of the man. He arrived the next morning and he told to his new friends that, undoubtedly, he had gone to all the places of their story to check if their tale was true. And so it was! He also told them that all the werwolves and the ogres were looking for them, so they could not resume their normal way, they had to go through the Dark Wood. Nothing was healthy to eat or drink there. Also the water was cursed. For this reasons Beorn gave them a water bag to each one, and also crackers and honey. Everybody straddled on a pony, and Beorn warned them: They absolutely did not have to leave the main road. They started their trip and after four days they arrived at the Dark Wood’s border. There they sent back the ponies to Beorn, and Gandalf had to leave them because of some tasks. So the dwarves and the hobbit were alone. Sad and disconsolate they entered the forest.

   VIII

This was the hardest part of their trip since now. In the wood it was always dark, and they would finish soon all the stocks. The forest seemed to be unending. At a certain point the company arrived at a river, and the only way to cross it was by boat, but the boat was on the other side of the river. Fili, who was the youngest dwarf, threw a rope to catch the boat and succeeded. Everybody crossed the river but when it was Bombur’s time a deer came out from the wood and Bombur fell into the cursed water. They caught him in time, but he was the victim of a magic and he could not wake up. They went on, carrying Bombur on their shoulders. They were so tired and in the middle of the way there was an enormous oak. So Bilbo climbed it to see how much they had to walk. What Bilbo did not know was that the tree was in the middle of an hollow, in fact they were not far away from the end of the forest, but the hobbit could only see trees and trees. So he thought that the road was long, and the exit far away from them. They walked for another day, and then, suddenly, Bombur woke up. He lost all the memories about the trip. He did not stop talking about the dream that he had during his sleep: he was at a banquet in the middle of the forest, and he ate like never before. So he started to complain. He, like the others, was terribly hungry. Bad luck was not enough: the next morning the company woke up and it was raining. They went on but near to evening Bombur saw a light in the wood. It was exactly like in his dream. Everybody was too tired and hungry, so they decided to leave the main road and go and see what was there. When they entered in the lightning zone all the elves and the banquet disappeared. They had other three hallucinations like this one. The third time Bilbo collapsed, and when he resumed consciousness he was alone, and trapped in the net of an enormous spider. He fought against him with a little sword that he had found in the troll’s cave at the beginning of the journey. When he was finally free he started looking for his friends. Bilbo found them in his same old conditions: trapped by the spiders. He put the ring on his finger and became invisible. Thanks to this power he threw some rocks to the spiders, so they became angry and left the dwarves in peace. When the spiders were finally defeated Bilbo told the others all the story about the ring. At the end they discovered that Thorin was not there. He was the prisoner of the Wood’s Elves.

IX

The morning after the company was extremely tired and finding a way to escape from the forest was the last of their problems. At a certain point the dwarves and Bilbo heard some noises and they knew that it was the elves but they stayed still where they were and they let the wood’s creatures take them away. But Bilbo, like he had done before, put on his magic ring, so the elves did not know that he was there. The hobbit followed them, and he arrived at the “royal palace”. There all his friends were caged. There was a positive side: Bilbo discovered that also his lost friend Thorin was in a cage. Bilbo stayed there for days thinking of a great plan to free his companions. Studying the habits of the guards and of the elves in general he saw that when a barrel was empty they threw them through a drain that flowed in a river. So Bilbo waited, and a night there was a party and the keeper of the keys of the cages drank too much and he fell a sleep. Bilbo stole the keys and finally fred his friends. Then he told them his plan: they had to enter the barrels. At the beginning they complained a bit but then they understood that it was the only possible solution. When all the dwarves where “packed” Bilbo realized that none could close his barrel. So, at the last moment, he jumped on a barrel before the elves threw them in the drain. The little trip was very insidious but at the end he and the dwarves were free.

X

They arrived at the first stage of the barrel’s trip. Bilbo knew that he could not free the dwarves from the barrels because they were too much and the next morning they had to restart their journey hidden in the casks. And so it was. After another stretch of the river the company finally docked at a wharf. Bilbo immediately freed Thorin, and the dwarf started to complain but then, together, they opened also the other barrels.

As soon as each dwarf was freed they all decided that Thorin should go and speak with the Master of Dales. Since Thorin was an Oakenshield he had been welcomed and thanks to his speaking skills, he got medicaments, food and a house where the company could sleep. After a week and after having been restored they got three ships, ponies and food in order to have the possibility to continue their path.

XI

They arrived at the River Running (from up there you could see the Mountain). From there on they followed the road until the Desolation of Smaug (Smaug was one of the worst dragons in the whole land and this land was desolated: he guarded the precious treasures). Winter came when the squad arrived down on the hill in the Desolation and there a few dwarves looked for the Front Gate. The Gate was closed but nobody knew how to open it. Luckily, the morning after the sunlight appeared and so did a lock. Thorin opened it.

XII

Bilbo was a burglar so he entered first. Entering this castle that was inhabitated by Smaug, Bilbo took his courage and wore the ring. He arrived soon in the dungeon that was full of the most beautiful treasures. There was one problem: Smaug was lying on them asleep…but he seemed to be aware of everything. The hobbit was astonished in front of all that sparkling and he stole a cup, but Smaug felt it and he wasn’t really happy about it. Smaug was bad and evil but also really intelligent, therefore as soon as the burglar returned there he basically confused Bilbo with all his maleficent speeches. Bilbo wasn’t feeling confident anymore.

XIII

Two days passed without knowing where Smaug had flown but the squad decided to enter the castle again and tried to look after the most precious jewel in the world: The Arkenstone, better known as the Heart of the Mountain. Bilbo found it but kept it for himself.

XIV

Smaug flew all the way down to Lake-Town and attacked it, there a terrible battle took place: houses were destroyed, inhabitants died and mess was everywhere. Even if this battle took pain and destruction the dragon was defeated, Bard defeated him. As a symbol of gratitude the ones that survived the attack, wanted him to be the king, but he refused because he wanted to rebuild Dales. Since building the city was not easy the elves decided to help Bard.

XV

Meanwhile a raven flew on the way to the camp where the dwarves were staying, with the intention of announcing them the great news. Then the brave Bard appeared and after some very long talks, Bard declared the Mountain besieged.

XVI

Thorin called something like 500 dwarves from the Iron Hills and the hobbit wanted to stop the fight that would happen shortly. He took the tour from Bombur and wore the ring and then he ran as fast as he could, in order to avoid the inevitable, therefore he took the ring off and had a brief but effective chat with Bard. After he had given him the Arkenstone Bilbo got back to his steps to the camp.

XVII

The day after Bard came with 20 ambassadors and a purpose: the Arkenstone in exchange with 1\14 of silver and gold but Thorin declined the offer. Now the story has come to the battle of the five armies: Goblins and Wolves against elves, men and dwarves. Bilbo tried to escape but he saw eagles and got scared and also hit on the head by a stone.

XVIII

Bilbo woke up and a lovely man dragged him where Thorin was recovering with Gandalf. Sadly Thorin died because of his injures and was buried beneath the Mountain. Fili and Kili died as well. Gandalf and Bilbo started their return trip, road up to Beorn’s house; they arrived in winter and left in spring.

IXX

Bilbo finally arrived in his hobbit hole. He found as a welcome greeting the fact that everyone thought he was dead, and that they had sold his furniture.

MY OPINION

The Hobbit is surely the greatest fantasy book I have ever read. Usually I am not a fantasy’s lover, but reading a book by Tolkien is like visiting Rome: you must do it once in your life.

At the beginning I was full of prejudices about the Hobbit, I thought that it had to be a boring and childish tale, but it wasn’t at all. Tolkien paint a fantastic world, and he did it so perfectly that Bilbo, his friends and his story seemed to be real. I have grown fond to this little burglar hobbit, to all the dwarves and to Gandalf the wizard. As soon as I have finished the book I immediately borrowed the film, and then I bought the first book of the trilogy “The Lord of the Rings”. I didn’t want to leave all the characters, and this feeling of magic that was everywhere while I was reading the Hobbit.

Finally I can say that this book is, first: completely different from Frankenstein by Mary Shelley; second: the most epic fantasy that I have known in the whole fantasy series; third: a masterpiece.

(c) Beatrice Baldotto

Beatrice Baldotto and The Hobbit by Tolkien

Mirna Vezzali with

 Coraline

By

Neil Gaiman

coraline

 

Chapter I :

Coraline Jones discovered the door after she and her family had moved in their new house. The home was big but Coraline’s family didn’t own all the house, they owned only a part because two sisters lived on the first floor: Miss Spink and Miss Forcible. They were two actresses when they were young. In the flat above Coraline’s lived a man who said he was going to create a circus with rats but didn’t want to show it. Coraline thought that he was mad and that he had invented it all.

The house had a big garden with a tennis court.

Coraline, went out in the park to explore because she loved exploring. She wanted to find the well that Miss Spink and Miss Forcible talked about. They warned her because they said that it was dangerous. When she found that well she saw only bricks and saw that the well was covered with wooden boards.

She continued to explore.

The following day it rained, so Coraline couldn’t go out to explore. She didn’t know what to do, her parents worked at the computer and didn’t pay her attention. Her father suggested she should count every door, window and everything that was in the house.

She counted everything that was in blue (153), the windows (21) and
the doors (14).

13 of the doors opened but the 14th didn’t. It was a big brown door. She asked her mother where that door took so her mother took a bunch of keys and with the oldest key opened the door. The door didn’t take anywhere. There was only a wall of bricks. Coraline’s mother said that, that door, before the house was divided, took to a room that now was an empty apartment on sale.

When the night came, and Coraline was falling asleep, she heard a noise, and then she saw a shadow. She followed the shadow that took her into the living-room. When she turned the light on she didn’t see anything so she went to bed.

Chapter II :

The following day it had stopped raining. Coraline went out for a walk. She met Miss Spink with her dogs and she met also Miss Forcible who was locked out of her house because Miss Spink had the keys. She also met the crazy old man who lived above her. He told her that she was in danger.

When Coraline was at home she didn’t know what to do because her parents worked. She went to Miss Spink and Miss Forcible. They offered a cup of tea to Coraline and then the two women started talking to each other about their past careers. Suddenly Miss Forcible said to Coraline that she was in danger, she didn’t know why. Miss Spink gave Coraline a stone with a hole in it and said that It could help her.

 

Chapter III:

Coraline and her mother went to the nearest shopping centre because Coraline needed some new clothes for the beginning of school. When they got home Coraline’s mother went out to buy something to eat. So she was alone in the house because her father had to go to London for work. She was bored, so she took the key of the door that led to nowhere. She opened it and didn’t find the wall of bricks but a dark hallway. That hallway was spooky. When it ended she found herself in her home again but something felt different. It was all the same except for her mother and father. She was tall, skinny and she had buttons instead of eyes, she was her “other mother”. The two of them sat at the table with her father. He also had buttons instead of eyes. Coraline went to her other room that had walls in pink and green colours. There were a lot of toys, she also found rats under her bed, they couldn’t talk but they could understand her. On the doorway there was the crazy man that lived above her. He had buttons too. He asked her if she wanted to go with him to his flat so she could watch him while feeding the rats, but Coraline said no, she preferred to go out and explore.

 

Chapter IV:

She met a black cat in the garden. She saw that cat before, it was the same cat that existed in the real world. The cat could talk. Later he said that Coraline did well to bring protection with her (referring to the stone that Miss Spink gave to her). Then the cat vanished.

Coraline went to Miss Spink and Miss Forcible’s home. When the girl entered the house she found herself in a theatre hall. There was a dog with a torch that could talk and that brought her to sit. The audience were all dogs. When the show began Coraline saw Miss Spink and Forcible. It was their show. The two of them made talent shows. Coraline asked how much the show lasted and the dog near her said “Forever”.

She went out of her home where her other parents waited for her.

They asked her if she wanted to stay there so they could be a real family. But if Coraline stayed, they wanted to do a little change. They wanted to replace her eyes with buttons. Coraline didn’t want, so she greeted them and went to the door that led to her real home. While she walked in the dark hallway she closed her eyes and when she opened them. Coraline was in her real living-room in her real house.

 

Chapter V:

Her mother wasn’t at home. So Coraline ate something and then went to sleep. The following day Coraline looked in the bedroom of her parents but she didn’t find them. They hadn’t come home. The little girl went out. She met Miss Spink, who said that she and her sister, Miss Forcible won’t be at home for a little bit because they would stay at Miss Forcible niece. Coraline returned back home where she wrote a story, watched television, cleaned the house and ate.

She tried to sleep but she missed her parents too much. When she woke up, she found the black cat who stared at her. The little girl asked him if he knew where her parents were, so the cat stood up and began to walk in the direction of the stairs. Coraline followed him. They stopped in front of the big mirror. At first it showed the hallway but then her parents who seemed sad. Her mother wrote something on the mirror: “HELP US” then they vanished. Coraline wanted to help them so at first she called the police but the policeman didn’t take Coraline’s words seriously so she decided to go to her other mother. Coraline knew that she had kidnapped her parents because she wanted Coraline to stay forever with them.

The little girl dressed up, and with the company of the black cat, went downstairs to the big brown door. They entered the door and when the big black hallway had an end she hugged the other mother saying that she missed her parents. The other mother said that they were there, both of them but Coraline wanted her real parents. So the other mother said to her that they were bored of her, they were in a better place. They went near the mirror which showed Coraline’s real parents happy. She didn’t trust the other mother who, using a rat, got the key of the door and locked it. When both the other parents where asleep, Coraline went out where she met the black cat. The cat explained that the other mother might want something different from herself to love and he also said that in order to defeat her, Coraline had to challenge here, because the other mother loved challenges. Coraline began to think about what the cat said. She went to her other room and fell asleep.

 

Chapter VI:

Coraline woke up in her other room. At first she felt like she didn’t know who she was but then she remembered who she was and what she had to do. Coraline dressed up and went downstairs. Everything was the same in the house but there wasn’t anybody. Her other mother wasn’t there but she found her other father that looked a bit different than he used to be.

Coraline began to speak with him and he said that he should not speak with her if the other mother wasn’t there. He also added that the other mother created all this other world.

Coraline went out exploring. She went really far. The trees didn’t seem trees anymore, instead they seemed more like drawing sketches. Everything was white. There she met the black cat who spoke with her.

Coraline thought that they were in the middle of nowhere but the cat showed her that she didn’t go too far. She went back where she started, like walking around the world. You start out walking away from something and end up coming back to it.

The house was silent. The little girl walked to the mirror, then the girl heard the other mother near her. The mirror didn’t reflect the other mother.

Coraline wanted to talk with her so they went to the living-room and started to talk. Coraline wanted to know where her real parents were. Coraline was being too disrespectful with the other mother , so the “woman” took a black key out, took Coraline in front of the mirror, opened the mirror and pushed Coraline in it.

Chapter VII:

Coraline was in a little space in the darkness. She thought that she was alone until she felt something soft like lips or cheeks.

Someone began to say to stay quiet. When Coraline’s eyes began to see something in the darkness, she recognised three figures. They had her same height. They told Coraline that they didn’t remember their names, they had been there for too long. They said that “she” had removed their hearts, they were dead. Empty.

Coraline asked if she could do something for them and they answered that She had their souls. They asked her if she could save them.

Chapter VIII:

The other mother brought Coraline out of the mirror. She brought her to the kitchen where she was cooing. Coraline said that in the mirror there were three children. The other mother didn’t listen to her. The little girl asked her if she wanted to play a game where Coraline had to look for the souls of the children. If Coraline was able to find them, the other mother would leave her alone and give her parents back, but if she failed to find the souls, she would stay forever where she was, and be an obedient child. The other mother accepted the challenge. Coraline began to search but she didn’t know how big a soul was. She went in front of the mirror, she looked in the stone with the hole which showed a way to her room. She went there, she searched everywhere but, at first, Coraline didn’t find anything. Then she looked again into the stone and saw that something was shining. It was a little grey ball. Suddenly she heard someone whispering that she needed to be fast because the other mother was angry. Coraline went out to the theatre of Miss Spink and Miss Forcible. The theatre was empty and ropy. Coraline looked through the stone where she saw something that shone on the stage. There was something like a bag but there were two people in it. Coraline grabbed the little ball and ran away.

Coraline found two souls of the three children. She needed to find the third one.

Chapter IX:

Coraline went out the garden where she found the other mother. She gave the girl a key which opened the door of the empty apartment. Coraline knew there was something wrong.

She entered the empty apartment. Coraline didn’t find anything, only a trapdoor which she opened.

She went down and turned the lights on. She found there her other dad. He was like a spider, with long legs. He didn’t want to hurt Coraline but She, the other mother, told him he had to do it.

Coraline ran up the stairs and closed, really fast, the trapdoor. She ran out of the apartment and went up the stairs of the house.

Chapter X:

She entered the house where the mad old man lived. She heard whispers that said that if she would stay there the other mother would do anything for her. She would give her anything, but Coraline wanted her parents and she already knew where she could find them. Coraline didn’t fear the man. In fact when the little girl got closer to him, he vanished. Coraline immediately looked in the stone where she saw that a rat was holding the little soul of the last child. The rat began to run and so did Coraline.

Coraline chased the rat but at the end the girl fell and hurt her knee. Fortunately the cat arrived with the little ball and gave it to Coraline.

The cat said that, now, everything had become a sketch, there weren’t entries or exits, but Coraline was brave, she took the cat with her and she went to the sketch of the house.

Chapter XI:

She entered the house but the house wasn’t a sketch. There were pieces of furniture and all. There was also her mother.

Coraline knew that she wasn’t going to keep the promise, so she had a plan.

When the other mother asked if she knew where her parents were Coraline said that they were in the corridor behind the door. The mother unlocked the door but there was nothing.

The other mother said that she had to stay there, but Coraline threw the cat to the mother, took the ball of glass and ran to the door. There with the cat, she closed the door, ran until they saw the exit.

Coraline was finally at her real home.

Chapter XII:

Coraline was woken up by the mother. The real mother. She was finally at home, Coraline hugged the mother and went in the bathroom to medicate her wounds.

She and her parents passed a nice evening together.

When Coraline was asleep she had a dream, she was having a picnic with the three kids that now were free but they said that for them everything had ended, not for Coraline. They thanked Coraline for what she did and then Coraline woke up. She saw a shadow and she knew what that was. That was the right hand of the other mother who wanted the key back.

Chapter XIII:

Coraline made a decision. She wanted to put an end to this story. She asked her mother if she could have an old table-cloth because she wanted to play dolls.

The little girl went to the well where she removed the wood boards and instead of those she put the table-cloth with the dolls and the cups and also the key.

She began to play and when the hand jumped out of the woods Coraline tried not to look. When the hand jumped on the well she saw exactly it falling down with the key. Immediately she covered the well with boards of woods and went back at home with the dolls.

It was the day before school began and usually Coraline was always nervous but not this time. She was not afraid of anything.

Comment:

I really liked this book, but i liked also the story itself. I think it is another version of “Alice in Wonderland” and the idea of the story, in my opinion, is really interesting. While in the story of Alice, the protagonist doesn’t run away from her world, in “Coraline” the protagonist has the need to escape her reality of boredom. I have noticed many moral teachings veiled in this story, the first of which is that you should always be careful at what you want. Some time after reading the book, I saw the movie and I really loved it, it can trap the idea of ​​boredom and dissatisfaction and then develop into a completely different world, full of color, music, life, but, which hide something sinister. You have that feeling from the beginning. In fact, since the beginning of time we have been taught that to come to terms with the devil there is always a price to pay and here again the protagonist has to pay the price for her desires. In short, I found it a really nice book, that makes you think. At times I was also afraid, especially when the true identity of the antagonist was given in the last chapters.

The book teaches one of the most important values, being happy with what you already have.

Author

Neil Richard MacKinnon Gaiman is an English author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, audio theatre and films.

His notable works include the comic book series The Sandman and novels Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book. He has won numerous awards, including the Hugo, Nebula, and Bram Stoker awards, as well as the Newbery and Carnegie medals. He is the first author to win both the Newbery and the Carnegie medals for the same work, The Graveyard Book.

In the early 1980s, Gaiman started to work as a journalist, conducting interviews and writing book reviews. Then Gaiman started writing also comic-books and novels. Several of Gaiman’s original works have been optioned for film adaptation, the most famous one is Stardust. Also a stop-motion version of Coraline was released on 6 February 2009.

Gaiman frequently performs public readings from his stories and poetry.

(c) Mirna Vezzali

Mirna Vezzali with Coraline By Neil Gaiman

Celine Lantschner,  2nd A

Summary of “The Hobbit”

by J.R.R. Tolkien

the-hobbit-banner1

Chapter 1: An Unexpected Party

Bilbo Baggins, the son of Belladonna Took, who is herself one of the daughters of the Old Took, is a hobbit. Hobbits are usually fat, small, have no beards and wear bright clothes but no shoes. Bilbo lives in a hole near The Hill, which has a green painted and perfectly round door with a long tunnel with a lot of pegs for coats after it. There are no stairs in that strange kind of house, all rooms are on the same floor and the windows are only on the left side of the house.

There were two kinds of hobbits: the Baggins and the Took. Baggins didn’t use to have adventures or to do something unexpected. Tooks instead, would have gone on adventures. One day, Belladonna Took and Bingo Baggins married. Bingo, Bilbo’s father, built a big and wonderful hobbit-hole in which he lived, together with his wife and his son until his and Belladonna’s death.

One day, Gandalf, who was a well-known wizard and who had not been seen for a long time since the death of the Old Took, appeared in front of Bilbo’s house. He searched someone to join a journey that he was organising at that time. Bilbo, who didn’t like adventures, sent him away, but invited him at his house for tea on the following day. The day after, Gandalf wasn’t the only one to come, but at the same time, Bilbo didn’t expect anyone else to come and enter his house that day. Strangely, short time after the arrival of a dwarf, who wasn’t even expected, many other ones arrived. At the end, Dwalin, Balin, Kili, Fili, Dori, Ori, Oin, Nori, Gloin, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, the leader Thorin Oakenshield and Gandalf were inside his house. Thror was Thorin’s grandfather and Thrain’s father. He once was the king of a Mountain, where he had all his gold and jewels. Unfortunately, in that area lived and hid dragons that used to steal everything, particularly the hobbits’ treasures. There was one particular dragon called Smaug, that still lived in the mountain with all the jewels that he had stolen a long time before. A lot of hobbits had died at that time, when the dragon attacked them. The dwarf’s plan was to approach the mountain and revenge themselves by defeating Smaug.

 

Chapter 2: Roast Mutton

The dwarves, Thorin and Gandalf slept at Bilbo’s house that night and the next morning, the hobbit prepared breakfast for all of them. Then, he washed the dishes, which took him a lot of time and after doing that, he wanted to have a second breakfast without any stress, but Gandalf reached him short time after and told him that the dwarves were waiting for him. The hobbit couldn’t finish his breakfast, didn’t take either money or his hat with him. When he arrived, he saw a lot of ponies that were carrying baggages and packages and the dwarves were just around them and preparing themselves for their journey. The weather wasn’t good that day, it was cold and wet and it soon became dark, so the group had to search a refuge where they could sleep and pass the night. They stopped and some dwarves tried to light a fire, but it was too windy. Suddenly Balin saw a light and they all decided to approach it, in order to see and discover what was happening there. They moved all together, but at the end the dwarves sent Bilbo and told him it was his issue to find out what was going on. Bilbo went and saw that there were three trolls sitting around a fire. The three beings were much bigger than him and caught the hobbit. In the meantime the other ones reached Bilbo and the three trolls, because they were worried for their burglar (Bilbo was their burglar). At the end Gandalf, who was the only safe one, helped and saved his companions thanks to his magic powers. The intention of the trolls was to cook the dwarves and eat them later, but the wizard was able to stop them by causing a fight among the three trolls. In fact the beings shouted all night and became stone when the sun came out.

Afterwards the group discovered the trolls’ cave and took all the food, clothes and “weapons” that they could find and travelled towards the East.

 

Chapter 3: A Short Rest

They travelled for a few days. The weather didn’t improve, they camped under the stars and their ponies had much more to eat than them, even with what they got from the trolls’ cave. The group could finally see The Mountain that they wanted to reach and it didn’t seem so far anymore. Obviously that was just the beginning of a long journey, they had to cross the Misty Mountains in order to reach the Lonely Mountain, where Smaug was hiding with their treasures. The dwarves, Thorin and Bilbo were tired, but the wizard reassured them by telling his group that in the valley of Rivendell, at the Last Homely House, Elrond, an elf, was waiting for them. The dwarfs were pleased by hearing that and went on. They finally reached the valley and met some elves that were singing joyfully and who invited the group to come with them. Bilbo would have liked to stay with the elves in order to ask them about their opinion of his adventure. Moreover the elves were a folk that knew a lot of things and the hobbit wanted to ask them what was going on in that area and among the people that lived there, but the group decided to go. They reached Elrond’s house and had supper there, they stayed for fourteen days. He was very wise and gave them some advice for their journey, he also told them about the swords that Gandalf and Thorin took from the trolls’ cave. Those swords were made in Gondolin for the Goblin-war. At the end he helped them to understand the map of the Lonely Mountain.

 

Chapter 4: Over Hill and Under Hill

So, the journey continued and their path was hard and very dangerous. It was cold and the nights were comfortless. Gandalf, who had already been several times in that area during his life and who was leading them, felt that something unexpected would happen. Indeed they got in a thunderstorm. The group hid somewhere, but had to find a better shelter. They sent Fili and Kili, who came back short time after and guided their friends to a dry and big cave. There was also enough space for their ponies, it was a perfect shelter. At that point they tried to dry their clothes, ate something and went to sleep. During the night, Bilbo had a nightmare. He dreamt that the cave was cracking and that their ponies were disappearing in a passage. He woke up and saw that it was really happening. Bilbo yelled and he and his friends were kidnapped by some goblins who jumped through the passage and reached the cave. The goblins brought them to their town and showed them to the Great Goblin. The goblins hated the dwarfs and recognized the sword of Thorin, with which many goblins were killed long time before. They wanted to kill them, but Gandalf was able to save his friends by killing the Great Goblin. The goblins were very angry and ran after the group, who was trying to escape. Suddenly Bilbo fell and couldn’t remember anything anymore.

 

Chapter 5: Riddles in the Dark

Bilbo woke up and realized that he was alone, alone left in the dark. He couldn’t see anyone, the dwarfs, Thorin and Gandalf weren’t there with him. He wanted to find the exit, so he started to walk around in the dark. Suddenly he found a ring on the ground, but it was futile in that moment, so he put it in his pocket. He was walking around for a while, when he reached a lake. Gollum, who was a bad creature and lived on an island in the middle of the lake, saw him. He approached Bilbo, who was scared by hearing Gollum’s voice. Gollum was awful and wanted to eat Bilbo, so he proposed a riddle contest, if he won he would eat Bilbo, if Bilbo won, Gollum would show him the exit. At the end, Bilbo asked his last question: “What have I got in my pocket?”. Gollum had three chances, but wasn’t able to answer the question. The hobbit won. At that point, Gollum went back to his island and searched for his ring. The ring could make him invisible and that would permit him to eat Bilbo nevertheless. He couldn’t find his ring, became angry and understood everything. Bilbo ran away and put the ring on. Gollum searched for the hobbit, but didn’t find him. Bilbo found finally the exit, but the area around it was full of goblins. It was difficult, but he escaped thanks to the ring.

 

Chapter 6: Out of the Frying-Pan into the Fire

So, Bilbo escaped and started to search for his friends. Fortunately after some time, he heard the voice of Balin and reached the group, that was worried for him. Bilbo explained how he fled, but didn’t mention the ring. Gandalf told them they had to move on, because the goblins would get out of their caves and catch them as soon as it would become dark. So, the 15 creatures walked and travelled for a long time. They were hungry and tired, particularly Bilbo. It became dark, the moon came out and they reached an opening area where no trees grew. They heard a howl, wolves were around. They got in a panic and didn’t know what to do. Gandalf suggested to climb on the trees. The dwarves, Thorin and the wizard did, but the hobbit wasn’t able to reach a branch. Dori saved him just in time. The wolves surrounded the trees, they thought the creatures were friends of the human beings that lived in the valleys. Indeed the wolves’ intention was to plunder and kill those people and they were also allied with the goblins whom they were waiting for. The wizard lit a fire in order to scare the wolves and a short time after the goblins arrived. The goblins’ arrival was terrifying, because they used Gandalf’s fire to burn the trees. It was a complicated situation for the group. Fortunately, the Lord of the Eagles and his eagles arrived. They hated the goblins and chased them away. The eagles saved the group, by carrying them to a safe place, without any danger.

 

Chapter 7: Queer Lodgings

The eagles brought them to the Carrock, where the group passed the night. The day after, they ate something and asked the eagles for help. They accepted and told the dwarves that they would carry them on their backs for some miles. So they did and the group thanked the birds. Their dangerous journey continued and while they were travelling, Gandalf remembered that Beorn, an old friend, lived in the area, some miles apart, so they decided to reach him. Beorn was an unusual and strange creature, a skin-changer. When they arrived, Gandalf warned his friends: Beorn wasn’t friendly and got angry very easily. By hearing those words, they decided to approach and reach the house two by two, because the creature didn’t like to have a lot of people in his house and they had to be prudent and act correctly. First, Gandalf and the hobbit entered the house. The wizard started telling their story and his friends joined them two by two. Beorn was interested and listened with attention. He offered them to stay by his house and gave them some food. They remained for two days and the creature soon became their friend and was very kind. He helped them by giving his new friends: food, skins (for water), arrows, ponies and horses. Finally the group left and greeted Beorn. They travelled for some days and then, Gandaf left the group, because he had some businesses. The dwarves felt helpless and were worried without their wizard.

 

Chapter 8: Flies and Spiders

So, the dwarves’ journey continued without the wizard. They entered a forest, which was very dark and they couldn’t see so much, but they soon got used to the darkness that surrounded them. The group heard some noises around them and saw a lot of eyes watching them from every direction. It was quite horrifying. After some time, they reached a black river, the stream was strong. Moreover they couldn’t drink or touch that water, or something terrible would happen to them. Fortunately they saw a boat and used it to cross the river. The group had some difficulties, because Bombur fell into the water and when they helped him to come out, he fell asleep and it was impossible to wake him up. He slept for several days and the dwarves had to carry him on their backs during the travel. However they didn’t have much food anymore and were also thirsty, darkness always surrounded them and the forest seemed to have no end. When Bombur woke up, he told his friends about a beautiful dream that he had while he was asleep. That dream came true. In fact the group saw a light, which was very distant, they approached it and observed an elvish-folk that was having a feast, drinking and eating. They couldn’t wait to beg for some food and they were reaching the folk, when suddenly everything became dark again and the feast disappeared. This happened three times at different places and during the last time, when they were trying to reach them, Bilbo got lost. The hobbit got attacked by a spider, but was able to defend himself and kill the spider with his little sword. He looked for his friends, but he put on his ring this time, in order to avoid attacks. There were a lot of spiders around him and then he saw his friends. The spiders captured them. He began to throw stones, to kill the spiders and to make them angry. It was a hard battle and as soon as he had the chance, he saved his friends. He also used his ring during the battle and explained his friends all about it after they had fled. However the group discovered something terrible: Thorin was not there. He was captured by the feasting creatures, the elves.

 

Chapter 9: Barrels out of Bond

The day after, the group started to search for their path, for some food and water. They had to survive and then find Thorin, their chief. Unfortunately they were captured by the elvish-folk, that brought them to their king, who started to ask some questions, but the group didn’t answer. So, the king ordered his servants to put them in different cells. The only one who was able to escape was Bilbo, thanks to his ring. Fortunately the elves weren’t that cruel and gave them some food, but the dwarfs remained there for a lot of days without even knowing that Thorin was there, too. The hobbit was able to leave and enter the cave, which wasn’t as big as the goblins’ one. He had to invent a plan and he luckily discovered the water gate of a stream, where a lot of barrels were pushed into the water by the elves. Those barrels once carried food and came from a distant place to the king’s cave and after consuming the food, the elves had to sent the barrels back again. That was the reason for rolling them down the stream. It was a good opportunity for the group. Bilbo was able to steal the keys of the cells and to set them free. They reached the water-gate, hid themselves inside the barrels and waited for the elves to push them down. The hobbit just followed them by jumping into the cold water.

 

Chapter 10: A Warm Welcome

Bilbo was still invisible and sat on a barrel. He looked around a saw that the landscape had changed a lot since the beginning of their journey. Then, surprised, the hobbit saw the mountain that they were seeking. He wasn’t pleased by seeing it, but after all, they had had a lot of adventures and difficulties and it was good to see that they were on the right path. The river seemed to have no end and he was tired of travelling on that barrel. Finally, the hobbit and all the barrels reached the Long Lake. It was evening when they arrived and the men, who lived there and who were the ones that were sending the barrels with food inside to the elves, were having a feast. The elves, who once captured the dwarves were there, too. Bilbo set his friends free and they went all together to the Lake-town. Thorin presented himself to the Master and explained him their situation. The Master didn’t believe in dwarves or in the story of the Mountain and Smaug at first. Those were legends, which were remembered by the men not very often. However they sometimes sang songs about these stories during their work. The elves, by seeing the group, complained, but couldn’t do anything and went back to the king’s cave and told him everything. In the meantime, the Master decided to help the group and offered them food, water, ponies and all the equipment they needed. They remained for some time and when left, they thanked the men very much.

 

Chapter 11: On the Doorstep

They left the Long Lake and travelled for two days. They could see the Lonely Mountain in front of them. The group was, some time later, joined by horses and men with provisions. The dwarves packed everything on their ponies and the men returned to the Lake-town. Even if they saw the Mountain and their jouney was already ending, their hopes vanished and their spirits fell. The group didn’t dare to sing or to talk loudly. So, they reached the Desolation of Smaug. They were frightened and searched for the secret door in order to enter the mountain. They seeked for a long time. One day Bilbo, Kili, Fili and Balin had enough courage and started to search for the gate.They found a strange path and followed it. The four friends arrived at the top of a cliff and saw an entrance. It was like a cave, but at the same time it was open at the top. Just the inner part was covered and couldn’t be seen. They were quite sure: they had found the door. Then, they went back down and reached their friends, who were waiting for them in their camp. The day after, the group decided to go and explore that strange entrance in the mountain. Just Bofur and Bombur were left behind, they had to look after the ponies. They weren’t able to open any doors and they felt desperate. Fortunately, Bilbo understood everything, when suddenly a red ray of the sun came straight to the inner part of the entrance and lightened the rock face. He was exited and called Thorin, who had the key for the door. The rock moved and the locker appeared, finally they could enter the mountain.

 

Chapter 12: Inside Information

So, Bilbo and his friends were in front of the door. As a soon as it opened, the hobbit entered. It was his issue to enter the mountain, as a burglar. Balin followed him, but didn’t have the courage to come with him until the end. A very long tunnel followed the secret door and it became hotter and hotter. At the end of it, Bilbo could see a red light. He entered a big hall and saw Smaug, the dragon, who was asleep. Around and under the dragon there were a lot of precious things and the hobbit was able to steal a cup and bring it to his friends. The group was glad and pleased by seeing him alive and safe. However, a short time later, Smaug woke up. He could smell something strange and looked around. He saw that something was missing: the cup. He became angry as never before and went outside. The dwarves felt that something was happening. The group started to tremble and they didn’t have that much time. Fili, Bili, Kili and the hobbit hid themselves in the tunnel and the other ones reached Bofur and Bombur, who were still at their camp and watching after the ponies. Smaug didn’t find anyone, except for the ponies, which were so scared and ran away. The dragon found and caught them. Six were eaten by him. Some time later, the hobbit went again into the mountain and put his ring on. He entered the hall and thought the dragon was asleep, but suddenly he opened his eyes and Bilbo trembled. Fortunately Smaug couldn’t see him, but he could smell him. However the dragon didn’t know what kind of creature Bilbo was, because he had not ever smelled anything similar before. Unfortunately he knew that Bilbo was accompanied by dwarves. The dragon discovered it by eating the ponies, that smelled like them. The two had a strange conversation, but Bilbo didn’t reveal his identity neither got killed by the dragon. The hobbit returned to his friends and felt that something would happen. They all hid inside the tunnel, shut the door and waited there. The dragon went outside and they could hear him destroying the rocks, which cracked and some of them fell on their heads in the tunnel. The dragon didn’t want them to enter his hall again. Then he flew towards the Lake-town.

 

Chapter 13: Not at Home

They passed a lot of days in the tunnel and ate nearly nothing. They didn’t hear any noises and couldn’t understand if the dragon was in his hall or not. Then, desperate, hungry and tired as they were, they decided to go down the tunnel in order to check the situation and look for the dragon. Bilbo, put his ring on, as usual and went forward. The other ones followed him in silence. He couldn’t see anything and fell suddenly into the hall. He was scared and first didn’t dare to stand up, but there was nothing, nothing at all, no dragon. He looked after him and controlled everything, then he went on the “jewels-mountain” and found the Arkenstone, a magnificent and acient stone. Afterwards the dwarves and Thorin entered the hall and searched for beautiful jewels and gold in general and put it in their pockets. They also armed themselves. However they didn’t want to get in trouble and followed Thorin, who knew the mountain perfectly and who showed them the Front Gate, because the secret door were blocked by broken rocks. They went outside and breathed fresh air. The group had to move as fast as they could and look for a safe place. They didn’t know where Smaug was and if he was watching them. The dwarves feared an attack. They escaped and hid in a cave, where, after a long walk, they had a rest.

 

Chapter 14: Fire and Water

In the meantime, Smaug went to the Lake-town and attacked the men. The men armed themselves, but weren’t able to defend themselves that much. The only one who had the courage to fight against the dragon was Bard. Bard was the descendant of Birion, Lord of Dale. He was able to kill the dragon with his black arrow. It was his last arrow, the one his father gave him before he died. The dragon fell on the ground, dead. Everyone was pleased in seeing Smaug dead on the ground, of course some people died and a lot of their houses were destroyed, but at least the dragon was finally dead. The men thanked Bard very much and wanted him to become their new king. The Master, who tried to hide and escape during the battle, didn’t like the idea. However, the folk decided to build up their town again, indeed winter was coming. They also thought about leaving that place and to create a new town. The elves were called to help them and tried to contribute by caring for the ones who were injured. Soon everyone knew about Smaug’s death and their intention was to climb the mountain and look after the treasures that Smaug had left behind.

 

Chapter 15: The Gathering of the Clouds

The dwarves, Thorin and the hobbit were still worried and didn’t know anything about Smaug’s death. Fortunately some birds reached them, the only trouble was that the group couldn’t understand the birds, but the birds could understand them. So, the birds flew away and searched for a raven. They came back and when the raven spoke, they could understand what he was saying. The raven was Roäc, the son of Carc. Roäc informed them that the dragon was dead and the dwarfs couldn’t believe it, they were so pleased by hearing those words. The raven also told them that men and elves were preparing themselves and organising everything in order to reach the mountain. The group had to return to the Lonely Mountain, they did. When they arrived, they immediately closed and blocked the Front Gate and hid inside. Some days after the armed men and elves approached the mountain, the group could see them. They were still far away when they started to sing one evening. Then, a short time later, Bard went in front of the Gate. Thorin and Bard had a conversation. Thorin wanted the men to leave their weapons and send the elves back to their caves. Bard didn’t like that idea and annouced that they would besiege the mountain.

 

Chapter 16: A Thief in the Night

Dain and 500 dwarves were coming in order to help Thorin and his friends. The raven told Bilbo to do something, otherwise there would be a battle. So, Bilbo, who possessed the Arkenstone, went outside during the night, no one knew about his plan. The hobbit put his ring on and went to the men and the elves. There, he took the ring off and started to talk with Bard. He gave him the Arkenstone, because that stone would help him in his bargain. In fact, Thorin was desperately searching for it, it had a big value for him. Bilbo thought this was the right way to stop the battle. He also explained the men and the elves the reason of that gesture and told them that 500 dwarves and Dain would arrive in two days. Afterwards, the men thanked him and Bilbo returned to the moutain. During his little travel he met Gandalf, the wizard, who was very proud of the hobbit.

 

Chapter 17: The Clouds Burst

The following day, 20 men and elves reached the Front Gate. Among them also Bard and the Elvenking were there. They wanted to bargain and do an exchange. They would give Thorin the Arkenstone if he would give them some gold and silver. Thorin was angry and asked who was the responsible and who gave Bard the precious stone. Bilbo explained him everything and Thorin became mad by hearing those words. He didn’t want to see the hobbit ever again and sent him away. Poor Bilbo left the mountain and joined the men and the elves, who went back to their camp. Short time later, the 500 dwarves and Dain arrived and joined Thorin and his group. Messengers and ravens continued to go up and down. Everyone knew about Smaug’s death, indeed even the goblins and the wolves were approaching the mountain. A terrible and horrible battle soon began, “The battle of five armies”: the goblins, the wolves, the men, the elves and the dwarves. The hobbit was the only one out, he put his ring on and went on the Ravenhill. He looked around and observed the battle. He wished, as many times before, he was at home. Suddenly, looking up at the sky, he could see the eagles, flying towards them. He started to shout, but fell on the ground, because a stone fell on his head. He couldn’t remember anything after that.

 

 

Chapter 18: The Return Journey

When Bilbo woke up, a man found him and told him that Thorin and the others were waiting for him. Unfortunately the hobbit was injured and couldn’t walk properly. The man decided to carry him on his back and then they reached Thorin. Thorin was much more injured than Bilbo and had a lot of wounds. He was about to die, he just told the burglar that he wanted to part in friendship from him and so he did. Bilbo was sad, but had to accept that. Soon his friends explained him what happened after he became senseless. The eagles attacked the goblins and many of them died, the rest fled and hid themselves in their caves. Also Beorn arrived and punished them, no one dared to attack him. Afterwards the eagles and the Great Eagle departed soon, back to their eyries, Beorn, instead, was still there. The hobbit discovered that also Fili and Kili died, when they had tried to defend their chief, but failed. At least, the goblins weren’t a problem anymore, the dragon died and peace ruled. The dwarves opened the front Gate and gave the men part of the treasure and received the Arkenstone, which was buried with Thorin in the mountain. Dain became the new king of the mountain and offered Bilbo all the treasure, but the hobbit didn’t want all those precious things and took just two chests full of gold and silver. The men returned to the Lake-town and Bilbo, the wizard, Beorn and the elves departed and greeted the dwarfs. Soon the elves arrived at the borders of Mirkwood and had to say goodbye to their friends. Beorn, Gandalf and Bilbo went on and soon their arrived at Beorn’s home. The wizard and the hobbit stayed for a while and went on with their travel when spring had already come. Beorn became a very important chief in that region and ruled over it.

 

Chapter 19: The Last Stage

They reached the valley of Rivendell, the elves came out and Elrond invited them. They stayed by the elves for a week and Gandalf told them their story. Afterwards, their journey continued. Gandalf told his friend, that he wasn’t the hobbit he had been for a long time. Bilbo had changed. They finally arrived, but the hobbit didn’t find what he had expected to find. His house was full of hobbits and all his objects had been sold, because he was presumed dead. Of course it wasn’t true and he had to buy his own objects back. The hobbits didn’t respect him anymore, he had lost his reputation. But Bilbo didn’t care and didn’t really mind. He was happy now. So, time passed and he never forgot his friends and his adventure. One evening someone knocked on his door, he opened and Gandalf and Balin were in front of him. They entered and sat around a fire. The friends talked about their past adventures and remembered with pleasure everything what had happened a long time before. Balin and Gandalf also told the hobbit that Lake-town had been refounded and was prosperous. The Master died, but the new one was much better. Everything was going on well at the Lonely Mountain, their journey was worth it.

 

Author:

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born in South Africa in 1892 (on the 3. January) and was an English writer, poet, philologist (he was considered one of the best philologists in the world) and university professor. He is known for his wonderful fantasy works: The Hobbit, which is his first published work and it is the beginning of a tale that continues with three larger volumes, The Lord of the Rings. He was a close friend of C. S. Lewis. Both of them were members of an informal literary discussion group, called the Inklings. He was also appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in 1972. He served as a lieutenant in the First World War, too. A lot of authors had published fantasy books before him, but his works like The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings had an enormous success and the genre resurged. So, Tolkien was considered the “father” of high-fantasy literature. In 2008, The Times ranked him sixth on a list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945”. Christopher, Tolkien’s son, published some works, which were based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s notes and unpublished manuscripts. Those works included The Silmarillion, one of his best fantasy works. He awarded many prizes and died in 1973.

 

Comment:

I’ve never read such a book, even if like the fantasy genre. The hobbit is a well-written book and it isn’t difficult or too long. There aren’t too many details and the descriptions in it are perfect, because I as many other ones I think, who read the book, could see in front of me every single scene and every creature. Of course some creatures, like Gollum do not have a complete description, but it wasn’t that difficult for me to imagine him. There are a lot of characters in this story, but it was really easy for me to remember them all, thanks to Tolkien who was able to represent his thoughts in a very simple and clear way. The adventures are particular and full of fear and suspence. Everything was a surprise to me and that is what makes the book so interesting. It seems to me that everything is balanced in this work and nothing was written without a reason. I reccomend this book to everyone, because it gives the opportunity, not only to the youngest ones, but also to adults, to live an adventure and forget everything else. Logically it was written a long time ago, but I think it is one of those works that people can read any time.

(c) Celine Lantschner

“The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien – Celine Lantschner

About the author…

John R.R. Tolkien was born on the 3rd January 1892 in Bloemfontain (South Africa). He was a poet, writer, philologist and university professor. When he was three years old, he went to England with his brother and his mother, and they moved to Birmingham because his father had died. After serving in the First World War, he became best known for his books The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, selling 150 million copies in more than 40 languages worldwide. Those books, were published by his son Christopher after Tolkien’s death. The Times ranked him sixth on a list of “the 50 greatest British writers since 1945”. Awarded the CBE and an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Oxford University, he died in 1973 at the age of 81.

Hobbit_23

Chapter 1-un unexpected party

Bilbo Baggins was a Hobbit. He was the son of Belladonna Took and Mr. Bungo Baggins. He lived in a clean and comfortable hole in the ground. It had a round door, painted green with a shiny yellow brass knob in the exact middle. Inside there was a tunnel, where there were all the rooms: bedrooms, bathrooms, wardrobes, kitchen, dining-­‐rooms…which were all on the same floor and in the same passage. The Bagginses were a very respectable family for their wealth and because they had any adventures or did unexpected things. One morning, when there was less noise and more green and when hobbits were still numerous, and Bilbo was standing at his door smoking a pipe; Gandalf came by. He was an old man with a staff. He had a tall pointed blue hat, a long grey cloak, a silver scarf and a long white beard. Gandalf said that he was looking for someone to share an adventure. Bilbo didn’t want, he wanted him to go away, but the wizard didn’t move. Bilbo invited the wizard for a tea the next day, and he refused to share an adventure. Gandalf before going away, with the spike on his staff scratched a queer sign, the sign of burglars on the hobbit’s door. On the following day, a tremendous ring on the front-­‐door-­‐bell came, and Bilbo remembered the appointment with the wizard. It wasn’t the wizard, it was a dwarf with a blue beard called Dwalin. After a while, the doorbell rang again and more other dwarves came into Bagging’s house. They were: Balin, Kili, Fili, Dori, Ori, Nori, Oin, Gloin, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Thorin and Gandalf. They sat down around the table with the wizard, and they started eating, talking and singing. Thorin was the chief of dwarves, he was too important. All the thirteen dwarves told the story and their reason to this adventure: they wanted to reconquer Eldron, their home, and avenge Thror (Thorin’s grandfather). Gandalf asked Bilbo to share with them an adventure, but he refused again. After this, they went to sleep.

Chapter 2-roast mutton

The next morning, Bilbo woke up and he found nobody at the house. There was a fearful mess in the room, and piles of unwashed crocks in the kitchen. He was having breakfast when in walked Gandalf. Bilbo took the key and started running as fast as the great Mill, across The Water and then he joined all the thirteen dwarves. Thorin gave the hobbit a pony and they started this adventure. They hadn’t been riding very long, when Gandalf came on a white horse. They passed through hobbit-­‐lands, lands were people spoke strangely, Lonelands, lands were there wasn’t anything… One evening, one of the ponies took fright at nothing and bolted. He got into the river before the dwarves could catch him. Fili and Kili chased it, and they found a cave which came from a light. Thorin ordered Bilbo to go into the cave and to discover what it was…Bilbo found three very large trolls sitting around a very large fire of beech-­‐logs. Bilbo plucked up courage and put his little hand in William’s pocket (William is the name of a troll). Unfortunately William found the hobbit and fortunately trolls are slow in the uptake. Balin and all dwarves saw that scene and came up to defend Bilbo. Thorin, came last but Tom (the troll) captured him. All the dwarves included Bilbo were in prison. It was just then that Gandalf came back, but no one saw him. Gandalf saved all his friends and his voice kept the trolls bickering and quarrelling, until the light came and made an end of them. Mr.Baggins, Gandalf and thirteen dwarves searched and found a trolls’ treasure: swords of every sizes and types, gold, knives…The hobbit took a special sword made from elves then they brought up their ponies and continued the adventure.

Chapter 3-a short rest

They didn’t sing or tell stories that day. One morning they forded a river at a wide shallow place full of the noise of stones and foam. Bagging asked Gandalf where they were and he said that they were near the fair valley of Rivendell where Elrond lived. Morning passed, afternoon came and finally they reached Rivendell. They met some elves which brought them and their ponies to Elrond. Here all of them, the ponies as well, grew refreshed and strong, Their clothes were mended, their bags were filled with food and provisions. Elrond knew all about runes of every kind, and that day he looked at the swords they had taken from the trolls’ treasure. Elrond said that they were swords made by his family. Thorin also showed Elrond the map, and with the help of the moon, (that was shining in a broad silver crescent) he read the map. The elves loved maps, ruines and cunning handwriting; he said that the letters were moon-­‐letters (invented by the dwarves) that you could read only with a special moon. On the map there was written: “ Stand by the grey stone when the trush knocks, and the setting sun with the last light of Durin’s day (the first day of the dwarves’ New Year) will shine upon the key-­‐hole.” The next morning, thirteen dwarves and a hobbit started again their trip and they followed the path over the Misty Mountains to the land beyond.

Chapter 4-over hill and under hill

There were many paths that led up into those mountains, and many passed over them. Most of them were infested by evil things and danger. Long days after they had climbed out of the elves valley, they were still going up and up. Gandalf joined the group again and all the dwarves decided to sleep in a cave in the mountain. Before this, they inspected each corner of the cave and after this they went to sleep. Then came a wind and a rain, and a storm began. But that wasn’t only a storm, it was a battle between thunders. Bilbo was dreaming of a crack in the wall at the back of the cave got bigger and bigger and opened wider and wider…At that he woke up and found that part of his dream was real! Out jumped goblins, big goblins, lots of goblins! They captured Bilbo, his thirteen friends, ponies and baggage but not Gandalf. Goblins started singing and they brought all the prisoners in a big cavern to the Great Goblin. Thorin tried to convince the Great Goblin that they were there because they wanted to meet their families, and relatives; but the Great Goblin didn’t believe it because Thorin had Biter. It was the sword that killed hundreds of goblins. The king of goblins ordered to kill them, and in that moment Gandalf arrived, saved them and killed the Great Goblin. But Bilbo after all this mess, disappeared and lost his friends.

Chapter 5-riddles in the dark

When the hobbit opened his eyes, nobody near him was there. He decided to find a way to escape from there, but in vain. After some time, he felt for his pipe, so he smoked. The tunnel where he was seemed to have no end. There were a lot of passages and he just went only on and on, and down and down. His sword was shining and deep down here, Bilbo found Gollum, a small slimy creature, with two big pale eyes in his thin face. Gollum lived on a slimy island of rock in the middle of a lake. He was observing Bilbo. He took his boat and reached the hobbit. Bilbo understood that he always called himself my precious, he was hungry and angry. The two made a pact: if Gollum guessed three riddles, he could eat Bilbo; if Baggins guessed three riddles right, Gollum had to show the way to go away from there. Bilbo guessed the three riddles right, but Gollum in the third riddle “ What have I got in my pocket?” didn’t answer. Bilbo had a special ring, which he had found in the cavern, this ring had a special power: if you slipped it on your finger, you became invisible. That ring was the birthday present of Gollum, and after a while, the creature understood that Mr Baggins had it. Bilbo went away and wore the ring, and finally found the exit.

Chapter 6-out of the frying- pan into the fire

Bilbo had escaped the goblins and the terrible creature, but he had lost his cloack, food, hood, pony and his friends. Then he looked forward and could see that he had found the right path! He walked and suddenly he listened and heard some voices, it was Balin, Gandalf and all the dwarves! Bilbo reached them but before he slipped off the ring. They were all astonished, but anyway they started to walk, because goblins were looking for them, and they couldn’t loose time. So they ate something and they limped along now as fast as they were able down the pine forest in a slanting path… The moon was up and shining when all of a sudden they heard the howling of wolves! Bilbo and the others climbed up on trees and Dori helped the hobbit. For a time they were safe. Wolves arrived and they sat in a great circle; in the middle there was a great grey wolf. He spoke with Gandalf with the language of Wargs. The reason of their pursuit was the death of the Great Goblin. They started to sing in order to taunt them. Gandalf climbed up on the top of his tree and at that moment the Lord of the Eagles arrived and saved the wizard and the others and carried them off.

Chapter 7-queer lodgings

The next morning Bilbo woke up with the early sun in his eyes. The eagles had brought them on a great rock. Then they took off their clothes and bathed in the river. When they had dried in the sun, they began to march. Gandalf decided to go to the home of Beorn. Beorn was a skin-­‐changer. He was a bear descended from the great and ancient bears of the mountains that lived there before giants came. Beorn lived in an oak-­‐wood house he kept hives and hives of great fierce bees and lived most on cream and honey. After a while, Gandalf found the house. The wizard and the hobbit pushed open the gate and went down towards the house. Near it there was a huge man with a thick black beard and hair, and great bare arms. So Gandalf began to tell their story. He engaged Beorn, and as the dwarves come in pairs; the story included more people. Beorn invited all the dwarves into his house, he helped them and gave them room and board. The following day Beorn came back, and he gave some ponies, food and others useful things to continue the trip. He told them that they had to take the ponies back, as soon as they had arrived at Mirkwood.

Chapter 8-flies and spiders

They continued their walk, helped by Beorn’s advice. They didn’t lose the path. The hobbit was always hungry and thirsty too, for they were extremely careful with their provisions. After four days from the enchanted stream they came to a part where most of the trees were beeches. They lost the path, but fortunately two days later, they found it again. One evening, giant spiders captured the dwarves in webs; so Bilbo, alone, with the help of the ring, his little sword (which he named Sting) and some rocks, saved his thirteen friends… They laid for some time, but very soon, they began to ask Bilbo questions. The story of the ring interested them a lot! Days passed, and another danger came: the elves! They imprisoned Thorin and the other dwarves in one of the inmost caves with strong wooden doors and left them.

Chapter 9-barrels out of bond

The day after the battle with the spiders, Bilbo and the dwarves made one last despairing efforts to find a way out before they died from hunger and thirst. They arrived at a big hall with pillars hewn out of the living stone, the Elvenking sat on a chair of cavern wood. On his head there was a crown of berries and red leaves, and in his hand he held a staff of oak. The prisoners were brought before him, and the king started to ask Thorin why they were in his forest. Then the king ordered to put them in different cellars and to give food and drink. Bilbo in the meanwhile was trying to save them. He found all their cellars, also Thorin. At last after many difficulties, he managed to find the place when no one was about, and to have a word with the chief dwarf. Bilbo and Thorin made an excellent plan. Mr Baggins stole the key from a guard and saved his friends. First he unlocked Balin’s door then all the others. All together they passed through a door and reached a room where there were barrels. Bilbo went in one of them and escaped.

Chapter 10-a warm welcome

The day grew lighter and warmer. Bilbo and his friends reached Lake-­‐Town, a town populated by elves. Then they went to meet the Master of Lake town, who gave them ponies, room and board. Now they were all doctored and housed and fed and pampered in the highest fashion. Thorin received a large house, boats and rowers. Thorin and his companions stayed there for three days. At the end of a fortnight, Thorin began to think of departure. So he spoke to the Master and his cpuncillors and said that soon he and his company had to go on towards the Mountain. And the next day, all the dwarves and the hobbit left.

Chapter 11-on the doorstep

In two days they were right up the Long Lake and passed out into the River Running, and here they could see all the Lonely Mountain. At the end of the third day, some miles up the river, they drew in to the left or western bank and disembarked. They packed and rested with their ponies. They made their first camp on the western side of the great southern spur, which ended in a height called Ravenhill. Bilbo, Balin, Fili and Kili went to explore the area, and they discovered that the dragon Smaug was still alive. Thorin and all the company succeeded in opening a special door, made by dwarves, that took inside the Mountain.

Chapter 12-inside information

For a long time the dwarves stood in the dark before the door. Then Bilbo slipped on his ring and entered with Balin in the Mountain. It was almost dark, but rising from the near side of the rocky floor there was a great glow. The glow of Smaug! There he laid, a fast red-­‐golden dragon, fast asleep on countless piles of precious things, gold, gems, jewels, silver… Behind him there were helms, axes, swords… While Bilbo and the dwarves cowered just inside the passage, Smaug ate all their ponies. Bilbo tried to talk with the dragon, but he didn’t tell his name. Smaug after that, flew away and for some days Mr Baggins and his companions didn’t see him.

Chapter 13-not at home

The dwarves and the hobbit sat in the darkness and utter silence fell about them. Little they ate and little they spoke. They were trapped inside the Mountain, so they went to explore it, and they found the Arkenstone and the Heart of the Mountain. Oin had a small pine-­‐torch alight in his hand, and Gloin with a bundle of others under his arm. They even found the great chamber of Thror (Thorin’s grandfather).

Chapter 14-fire and water

Before long, they could see him as a spark of fire rushing towards them and growing ever huger and brighter. Bard, who was a descendant of the ruler of Dale, saw Smaug and decided to cut all the bridges. Bard used his arrows against the dragon, but in vain. Finally, Bard used his last arrow to fire into the spot under Smaug’s wing, and killed the dragon. The dragon fell on Lake-­‐Town and completed the work of destruction. Only five days after Smaug’s death, the elves came upon the shores and looked on the ruins of the town. Their welcome was good, as may be expected, and the men and their Master were ready to make some bargain for the future in return for the Elvenking’s aid. With the women and the children, the old and the unfit, and the Master began the planning of a new town, larger and fairer even than before.

Chapter 15-the gathering of the clouds

All the people acclaimed Bard. A bird informed Bilbo and the dwarves of Smaug’s death, and they rejoiced; but they also discovered that the elves were marching toward them. So the company retreated to the mountain and fortified it by building a formidable wall at the main gate. Bard informed Thorin and his friends that he killed Smaug and that Lake Town had been destroyed. The raven council’s peace decided to share the gold, but Thorin was adamant that the treasure was of the dwarves. The delegation requested that Thorin had to give one twelfth of Smaug’s treasure to Bard, as he killed the dragon, but Thorin refused and declared the mountain besieged.

Chapter 16-a thief in the night

Thorin was searching for the Arkenstone, that Bilbo had hidden in a bundle. Bilbo wanted to share the treasure and he decided that he had to convince Thorin. With the help of the ring, he went into the camp to visit Bard and the Elvenking. Bilbo showed and gave them the Arkenstone and told Bard and the Elvenking that he wanted use that stone in order to prevent a war and convince Thorin. They asked him to stay in the camp for his safety, but Bilbo decided to return to the mountain. Before this, Mr Baggins met Gandalf who had just arrived from his other affairs and he spoke a bit about their adventure. Then, Bilbo went away toward the mountain and he went to sleep.

Chapter 17-the cloud burst

In the morning, Bard returned with two messengers in order to persuade Thorin to accept a pact. Thorin refused again, so Bard revealed the Arkenstone, Thorin was astonished. Even better when Bilbo said that he was the one who gave Bard that stone. One of the two messengers was Gandalf, who commanded Thorin to let Bilbo speak. Thorin angrily offered to pay a fourteenth part of the treasure to regain the stone. But Thorin hoped that his family, who was marching toward them, could steal the magic stone by force. The night came and another danger was coming: an army of goblins and Wargs who intended to take the treasure for themselves. So the battle of five armies began. In the meanwhile, Bilbo stayed on the mountain watching the battle. Goblins and wolves were winning, when, Bilbo, with the help of his ring saw the great eagles flying toward the mountain. Unfortunately, a stone hit the hobbit’s head and he fainted.

Chapter 18-the return journey

When Bilbo woke up, the battle was finished and the dwarves had won. Bilbo took off the ring and went to the camp, where Gandalf was waiting for him. Unfortunately, Thorin was dying and Bilbo came toward him. Thorin understood his mistakes and asked to Bilbo to forgive all the words that he had said about the hobbit. Mr Baggins also discovered that Fili and Kili were killed trying to defend Thorin; but all the other dwarves were alive. Finally the dwarves were in peace with the elves and the lake men. Gandalf told Bilbo that the eagles helped win the battle, and that goblins were all death…Thorin was buried with the Arkenstone and Dain was elected the new king under the Mountain. Gandalf and Bilbo returned home with part of the treasure. They had some other adventures, and they went to visit the Elven king in Mirkwood and Beorn. They stayed with Beorn fore some months, then, at the outset of spring they left.

Chapter 19-the last stage

After a year, the wizard and the hobbit, reached Rivendell. There, Gandalf and Elrond spoke about many things: The Necromancer, The White Council of Wizards… Bilbo understood the reason why Gandalf left the company near Mirkwood. Gandalf had to participate in the the council of wizards to drive the Necromancer out of the forest… After a week, Mr Baggins and his companion, left Rivendell and finally, they reached Hobbiton and Bilbo’s house. His house was a disaster, and it was also on sale. Bilbo was never respected like before he left Hobbiton. Nobody believed in Bilbo’s stories, and he never spoke about the story of the ring with anybody. Fortunately, Gandalf and Balin often visited the hobbit. Bilbo didn’t care about it because he had his pipe, his house and all the comforts that he had never seen for many and many years to come!

Comment

I like this book. I love the way by which Tolkien tells and describes facts. My favourite character is Bilbo. I really admire his courage and his force although his height. Thanks to his intelligence, astuteness, and his abilities; he solved a lot of dangerous situations in a brilliant way. I like also the sense of union and solidarity between the dwarves, who welcomed Bilbo (more or less) immediately. I have never read the trilogy of The Hobbit, I just only saw the films; which are good, but anyway I prefer this book!

(c) Agnese Lorenzetto

The Hobbit by John R.R. Tolkien – Agnese Lorenzetto

Benjamin Franklin was born in 1706 in Boston, Massachusetts. His father emigrated from England to America in 1682 and he had two wives; from the first wife he had four children and from the second wife other ten. Benjamin was his last son from his second wife. In his childhood Benjamin worked for his bigger brother James in a print shop. On his brother’s newspaper “The New England Concern” B. Franklin published articles in which he talked about his ideas but he never signed the with his true name, but with the name of an elderly widow. He loved to spread his ideas in society. At the age of twenty one he traveled to London where he first heard about the Enlightenment. This was a historical movement in which people asked themselves about the origin if things trough reason. When Benjamin Franklin went back to America he began to spread his ideas and convinced the population of the new ideal. He always had different ideas, which were very well thought, because he was very intelligent man, much more than others, but he became a revolutionary only after he retired from the print shop he had opened in Philadelphia in 1742.

In those years he was already a famous man in America and a great politician. He was sent to England again to solve political problems by the government because everybody believed in his capacities and everybody knew how much Franklin loved America and wanted the best for his homeland. But Franklin was also in very good relationship with England and didn’t want the American population to hate it until 1765 when England asked higher taxes on stamps and tea. The Americans were furious, but Benjamin Franklin was able to calm them down and solve the situation, even if he had to use a dirty trick. But now even Franklin had to deal with the fact that England was using America only to maintain their own State financially, so he went to France in 1776 to ask King Louis XVI for help. France was the first country which recognized America’s autonomy and independence. France helped the Americans for over four years by sending them money and what the needed, because the American State was bankrupt and France hated Great Britain. On July 4th 1776 America proclaimed the Independence. The only one who waited until the last battle was Benjamin Franklin, because until the end nothing was sure. England had a lot of power and could have invaded America again.

Not only the Americans but also the French population honored Franklin as the Founding Father. Everything started from his idea of independence and democracy which he was able to spread and which convinced the Americans. He was born by simple parents, but his intelligence was the key to realize his ideals. Franklin was a religious man who was convinced of God’s existence. For everything he reached and gained in his life he thanked God for having assisted him. He was a very courageous man who had many new ideas, but instead of complaining of America’s situation he started by putting into action a change thus helping not only himself but the whole country. He was a great and selfless man and he was always happy in his life and proud of himself, even if he was often alone in France and England, because his wife didn’t travel with him.

Franklin was not the only one who was able to convince people to change. He has not always been a revolutionary and he had loved England very much. While he was in London he dedicated himself to sciences. He studied the atmosphere especially the lightenings which he connected to electricity. Besides being a scientist and printer he was a writer, publisher and philosopher. His knowledge was enormous, that’s why all American believed in him and followed his ideals.

Franklin never gave up his revolutionary ideas even if his son William was against him. He and his son had a very strong relationship. Franklin helped his son to succeed in political life and William became the governor of New Jersey.

Thanks to Benjamin Franklin America was able to gain the Independence. He was the man whose ideas changed the whole mentality of society. At the beginning of the XVIII th century people were still very primitive and superficial. When Benjamin died, in 1790, America had turned into a completely different country, as if in between there had passed a thousand years. With Benjamin Franklin started the modern era, not only for America, but also for France, whose population took example from Franklin and his idea of democracy. Before America was only an English colony, thanks to Franklin it became not only independent, but even a democracy, from where all other States took example. Until now, modern countries have followed Franklin’s government method.

© Jenny Kostner, 2nd A 2015/2016

 

Benjamin Franklin by Jenny Kostner

On the 12th of November, the students of the two second classes prepared a Russian show for children and their parents whose origins are related of the Eastern States.

Our intention was to represent the traditions of Russia through a well-known fairy tale.

The fairy tale tells the story of a man, who is similar to our Santa, called ДЕД МОРОЗ. Other important characters are ВЮГА and her granddaughter.

The characters wanted to celebrate New Year’s Eve with some children and friends, when suddenly a bad queen and her two snowmen soldiers arrived. She interrupted the party and, thanks to her assistants, kidnapped ВЮГА’s granddaughter. Everyone was desperate and scared by her arrival. The two assistants took ВЮГА’s granddaughter to their castle and locked her inside. The company had to free and help the poor girl in order to continue the celebration.

At this point, the evil queen requested three challenges. The group had to pass them, because otherwise the queen wouldn´t let the girl go.

Fortunately the company was able to save the girl. They even succeeded in changing the queen’s mind. Indeed, she became a good person and took part in the party. Everything ended well, they danced and opened the presents.

During the show, there were some cameramen who filmed a part of the student´s theatre.

Everyone was pleased by the representation. Afterwards, the Russian teacher talked with some of the mothers, who said that they felt as if they were children again.

The show ended being really playful and joyful. The two classes had much fun preparing the theatre even if it took them a lot of time.

(a) Celine Lantschner

  A little bit of Russia by Celine Lantschner