Samwise Gamgee is the only ordinary hobbit of the four. Frodo is a Baggins, part Took and raised in Buckland. Merry is a Bucklander and Pippin is a Took. All are in some way associated with the “un-hobbitlike” behaviors. Tooks have always been considered odd and prone to adventuring. Bucklanders are odd for their liking of boats. Also Buckland, to some hobbits, is outside the Shire, being across the Brandywine and under the shadow of the Old Forest. Sam, on the otherhand, has no predispositions or oddities excepting a desire to see elves.
Sam is essentially the exemplar hobbit. He has an aversion for adventure and boats, all he wants is to lead a simple life with a garden of his own. Even his name is against him; Samwise means “halfwit.” This is what makes Sam’s commitment and strength in the quest so outstanding. He has no special virtues or abilities. He is just a plain hobbit, with much hobbit sense. His lowly station sets the stage for his unparalled devotion and love for Frodo.
This is what makes Sam so different. He is like us, unwilling and unprepared for adventure. His greatest asset is his love and loyalty. If not for Frodo, Sam would never have left the Shire. If not for Sam, Frodo would have never made it to Mount Doom.
This is why I think Sam is so often overlooked, for his “hobbitness.” He is ordinary in a field of extraordinary characters. The extraordinary deeds of Aragorn or Gandalf are plausible, their abilities coincide with their actions. Sam’s actions, on the other hand, so exceed expectations they’re almost hard to believe. He’s so ordinary it’s often hard not to overlook him. And yet, in many ways, he is the heart and soul of the story.