I have been musing a bit more on some questions that the Prologue seems to raise.


Are Hobbits supposed to be “foils” to Men?  “Their faces were as a rule good-natured rather than beautiful, broad, bright-eyed, red-cheeked, with mouths apt to laughter, and to eating and drinking…. It is plain indeed that in spite of later estrangement Hobbits are relatives of ours: far nearer to us than Elves, or even than Dwarves.  Of old they spoke the languages of Men…. But what exactly our relationship is can no longer be discovered” (11).


Why are the Hobbits interested in genealogy?  If their size is a diminution of the stature of Men, perhaps their genealogical interests is a diminution of the study of History.  In fact, Hobbits don’t go in much for real history—and this, curiously, is the characteristic to come up most strongly when they first fall in with a Man.


Granted Meriadoc’s subsequent treatises on herblore, linguistics, and calendars, as well as Pippin’s compilation of a library of Gondor texts, why does the War of the Ring turn the hobbits into scholars?