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Old 09-25-2002, 03:43 PM   #1
Beatrice
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Question exactly what did they teach in hobbit schools?

Okay, first they say Sam learned his letters from Bilbo who was booklearned or whatever. But then later when Sam is reciting his Troll poem it says he felt like he was back in school or something.

Quote:
Mr. Bilbo has learned him his letters
That's the Gaffer talking in The Ivy bush.

Quote:
Standing up, with his hands behind his back, as if he was at school
And THAT'S Sam standing up to sing his Troll song. So what's the deal? If Bilbo taught Sam his letters what did they teach at school? How to grow pipeweed?

[ September 25, 2002: Message edited by: Beatrice ]
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Old 09-25-2002, 05:09 PM   #2
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It is possible that Bilbo taught Sam before he started attending school.
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Old 09-25-2002, 05:14 PM   #3
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That scene's told more or less from the point of view of Frodo, who, being of a wealthy, scholarly (Bilbo) and somewhat eccentric (Bilbo again) family could have been at school, and could have thought that Sam looked 'as if' he'd been there too-- although Frodo well knew that Sam wasn't. I'm not sure if hobbits had schools, but they probably did have small private ones, which ended about late adolescence. They certainly didn't have later secondary schools (for ex., high schools in the U.S.) or universities.

The other answer is that JRRT's style in the early part of the book was more informal and colloquial, with insouciant out-of-period references. So when he says 'school' he's talking to a reader much like him who had been to school and not worrying if that's the correct point of view for Sam's or Frodo's experience.

Sam definitely did not go to school: he was of too poor and humble a family and it was an act of generosity and a blow against the local social strata that Bilbo taught him his letters and some elvish poetry. That's one reason Sam was so determined to take care of Frodo; he was very grateful to Bilbo for seeing more in him than a pair of hands and a strong back. No one in the gaffer's generation thought he had a mind, so his intelligence was spent in crusty wit and crankiness-- the only reason it was different for Sam is that Bilbo took a generous and RESPECTFUL interest in him. Bilbo was always very casual about it, but in his own way, he came back from the Misty Mountains a radicalized hobbit-- which we can attribute to the effect of Gandalf's company and the experience of watching the highborn and 'noble' get it all disasterously wrong (Thranduil and Thorin).

[ September 25, 2002: Message edited by: Nar ]
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Old 09-25-2002, 06:24 PM   #4
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oooh, that makes some sense! I'm sure they had schools- not high schools or colleges, that's for sure. But I imagine a school being one of those old-fashioned one room schoolhouses, you know? Your explanation DOES make sense though...
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Old 09-25-2002, 07:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
All hobbits, of course, can cook, for they begin to learn the art before their their letters (which many never reach)...
-- TTT, Ch: Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
I know this isn't specifically school, but this passage made me think that school in the Shire was not a prevalent priority. It hints that most hobbits learn the basics of subsistence, but have no need to learn much more than that. Bilbo and Frodo were exceptions in that they were very learned.
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Old 09-25-2002, 08:06 PM   #6
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I disagree. Tutors if anything.
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Old 09-26-2002, 07:07 AM   #7
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I think small, private fee-based schools through reading and 'rithmetic, then tutors if wanted.
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Old 09-30-2002, 04:20 PM   #8
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I agree with Nar.
I think there were maybe a few small, private schools for the higher and, well, richer hobbit families.
Families like Sam's wouldn't have the money or the time to go to school.
Bilbo, who, as a member of a higher family, probably taught little hobbits in his and their spare time.
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Old 09-30-2002, 06:22 PM   #9
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Maybe Sam standing like he was in school was a literary device that Tolkien used to paint a picture for the modern reader, and not an effort to present some new fact about hobbit sociology?

[ September 30, 2002: Message edited by: Bill Ferny ]
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Old 09-30-2002, 06:32 PM   #10
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Yes, Bill, Nar already suggested that:

Quote:
The other answer is that JRRT's style in the early part of the book was more informal and colloquial, with insouciant out-of-period references. So when he says 'school' he's talking to a reader much like him who had been to school and not worrying if that's the correct point of view for Sam's or Frodo's experience.
[img]smilies/tongue.gif[/img] (Throws apple)
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Old 09-30-2002, 07:14 PM   #11
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They teach nothing in the Hobbits schools, no, that is why hobbits are dumb enough to go stealing rings from strangers, yessss, poor pathetic hobbits... WE HATES THEM FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 09-30-2002, 07:23 PM   #12
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Nar's too wordy for me [img]smilies/tongue.gif[/img]

JK!

OK, how's this: I agree with Nar on his second point.

(Dodges apple, but picks it up and eats it anyway)

[ September 30, 2002: Message edited by: Bill Ferny ]
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Old 09-30-2002, 08:43 PM   #13
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Uh, great, Bill, but Nar's a "her." [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]

BTW, welcome to the Downs!

**retreats back to pick up thrown apple and starts munching**
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Old 10-01-2002, 08:58 AM   #14
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Much obliged, Arwen and Diamond for the quotes, Evenstar1 for the clarification of essential facts!

Bill-- words fail me! [img]smilies/tongue.gif[/img]
*Throws turnip* Feed it to your pony!

[ October 01, 2002: Message edited by: Nar ]
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Old 10-05-2002, 09:22 PM   #15
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I like turnips too much to feed to that mangy pony. [img]smilies/tongue.gif[/img]
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Old 10-06-2002, 10:12 AM   #16
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Poor mangy micro-horse! Hmm, better throw something that orcs don't eat. I know! Ultimate frisbee-lembas! *slings lembas* There you are, pony! Leap the fence and go! You can gallop for miles on that stuff; make for Rivendell!

Subjects for Hobbit-School:

Introduction to Family Trees
Literature of the Common Tongue (such as it is)
History of the Shire: From the Crossing of the Brandywine to the Battle of Greenfields
Accounts and Bookkeeping
Shire Songs: Humorous
Shire Songs: Serious (cancelled due to lack of interest)
Advanced Family Trees: first cousin vs. once removed
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