As Frodo and the hobbits attempt to take refuge in a warm and cozy inn they are told the inns are closed, and that they can instead take refuge in a “Sheriff House” at the edge of the village. They make the impression of broken, defeated hobbits, terrified of any rule breaking, terrified of simply saying the wrong thing.

Pretty much every article and discussion I could find on the chapter tells the same story, that the Scouring of the Shire is based on Tolkien’s experience from World War 1. As soon as the hobbits enter the Shire, it’s clear that a new political structure has taken shape, and for the worse. Merry and Pippin lead the hobbits to victory in the brief Battle of Bywater. Frodo has always been a pacifist really – remember him trying not to wear a sword in “The Field of Cormallen”? The image of Saruman’s shadow being blown away seems rather gripping to me.

"[13] Shippey draws a parallel with a contemporary work, George Orwell's 1938 novel Coming Up for Air, where England is subjected to a "similar diagnosis" of leaderless inertia.[13]. It’s… hard for me to not read this and hear echoes of some sort of Stalinist Hobbiton (or, if you’re less generous, an echo of the critique of the rise of welfare states in Allied countries after World War II). 6. His forces had not reached 50% losses, all the holes and the inn were burning, and the hobbits held the bridge. Frodo, perhaps, understands how to beat Saruman more than anyone, and that is to never turn into him, never give into the hate that Saruman so clearly let’s control him at this point. I enjoy the references (around since Bree) to the Shirefolks’ utter indifference to the hobbits’ journey. The fruit was so plentiful that young hobbits very nearly bathed in strawberries and cream; and later they sat on the lawns under the plum-trees and ate, until they had made piles of stones like small pyramids or the heaped skulls of a conqueror, and then they moved on. What is worse, is the sense of familiarity you get from the native hobbits. View from the North – Sackville, Hobbiton and Tallman’s Tavern.

Frodo, passive for nearly all of The Return of the King, makes an active choice.

[16] Kocher adds that the devastation and people's responses in the Shire after the War would have been only too familiar to people in the 20th century. Lotho’s scheming has turned the Shire into a police state in a very easy manner, as the place turned from rural paradise to Nazi Germany in just a year, only the Tooks resisting in arms. It is a simple enough plan, taking full advantage of the hobbit numbers and probable over-confidence of the enemy. He even kills the lead ruffian in the final battle. [34] Tolkien acknowledged Haggard as a major influence, especially She.