I love that we get to see what's going on back at Crickhollow here. Fatty Bolger has a narrow escape, but it shows that Frodo's subterfuge about moving to Buckland did trick the Enemy, at least somewhat. I think this is why all nine Ringwraiths aren't after Frodo at the same time, right?
After their own narrow escape, Frodo and company head out into the wilds, and their journey turns uncomfortable, then unpleasant, and finally dangerous. I find the part with the Neekerbreekers particularly memorable, for some reason. Probably because they keep the hobbits from sleeping, which makes me feel terribly sorry for them.
I tend to think of Sauron as a Satan-figure, but here we read about "the Great Enemy, of whom Sauron of Mordor was but a servant" (p. 189). I really need to read The Silmarillion, don't I?
"What do they live on when they can't get hobbit?" asked Sam, scratching his neck (p. 178).
In that lonely place Frodo for the first time fully realized his homelessness and danger (p. 183-4).
Possible Discussion Questions:
When Strider begins to tell the tale of Beren and Luthien, he says, "It is a fair tale, though it is sad, as are all the tales of Middle-earth, and yet it may lift up your hearts" (p. 187). Do you find this story sad? Do sad stories ever "lift up your heart?"