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Clap! Snap! the black crack!
Grip, grab! Pinch nab!
And down down to Goblin-town
               You go, my lad!
 
Clash, crash! Crush, smash!
Hammer and tongs! Knocker and gongs!
Pound, pound, far underground!
               Ho, ho! my lad
 
Swish, smack! Whip crack!
Batter and beat! Yammer and bleat!
Work, work! Nor dare to shirk,
While Goblins quaff, and Goblins laugh,
Round and round far underground
               Below, may lad!
                                      –Chapter Four, The Hobbit
 

The Goblin’s song is one of my favourite moments in The Hobbit. It’s fun, clever, threatening and thrilling all in the same moment. And from an English perspective, it certainly trumps all examples on the usage of onomatopoeia.

Chapters four and five are fairly intense for poor Bilbo Baggins and, I must admit, for my five-year-old son as well. Meeting the Goblins he asks: “Are they going to kill Bilbo?” With Gollum he questions: “Is Gollum going to eat Bilbo?” But before I’m able to offer a response, he assures us both: “Don’t worry, mom, I know Bilbo will be okay.”

How wonderful is the world of story!? To be able to journey alongside a character and share in their emotions and yet to also transcend the moment. To be safely afraid.

I leave you with the Goblin’s song performed by Rob Inglis:

What’s your favourite part of The Hobbit? Do you have an amazing example on the use of onomatopoeia? What did you read over the holidays? Comments are welcome.

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