bilbo baggins with complex intentions | vanhoozer
A text, then, is a communicative act with matter (propositional content) and energy (illocutionary force). … It is important to acknowledge that authors may intend to communicate complex, multilayered intentions.
There is an instructive dialogue in the opening pages of The Hobbit. The scene is Gandalf's first visit to Bilbo Baggins:
"Good morning!" said Bilbo, and he meant it…
"What do you mean?" he [Gandalf] said. "Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?"
"All of them at once, " said Bilbo. And a very fine morning for a pipe of tabacco out of doors, into the bargain."
A bit later Biblo uses the same locutionary act [Chris: words] with a very different illocutionary intent [Chris: purpose]:
"Good morning! We don’t want any adventures here, thank you!"
"What a lot of things you do use Good morning for!" said Gandalf. "Now you means that you want to get rid of me, and that it won't be good till I move off."
I love it. From Vanhoozer's First Theology: God, Scripture and Hermeneutics, 178