Urges us to take a step back from the well-known and thoroughly examined Ring Quest in The Lord of the Rings and consider its frame, the beginning and ending chapters set in the Shire, as representing an important Quest in their own right. The ‘Shire Quest’ is ultimately seen as the real focus of the book, with the ‘Ring Quest’ providing the necessary maturing experiences that allow the hobbits to succeed in reclaiming their homeland.
Waito, David M.
"The Shire Quest: The 'Scouring of the Shire' as the Narrative and Thematic Focus of The Lord of the Rings,"
Mythlore: A Journal of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams, and Mythopoeic Literature: Vol. 28
, Article 11.
Available at: http://dc.swosu.edu/mythlore/vol28/iss3/11