The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Analysis

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is Douglas Adams’ brilliant attempt to fuse science fiction and comedy. From the first chapter of the story, unbelievable events begin to occur. Throughout Arthur Dent’s story, nothing can be expected but the unexpected. When he goes to the pub with Ford and finds out that the world will be ending in minutes, he doesn’t quite believe it until he is flung into space and onto the ship of the evil Vogons. The trend of unexpected events continues when they are thrown out of the Vogon ship and saved at the last second by the Heart of Gold ship.

The improbability drive on the Heart of Gold is what ultimately makes every infinitely unlikely event occur. It is operated by clueless President of the Galaxy Zaphod Beeblebrox and leads many strange things to happen, including a fleet of missiles turning into a sperm whale and a bowl of petunias.

One of the most significant scenes of the story which tells us some of what is really going on is when Arthur goes into the middle of Magrathea with Slartibartfast and sees the hologram. This shows that the earth was in fact built in order to serve a scientific and philosophical purpose: to find the Ultimate Question to which the answer is “forty-two.” Arthur and Trillian, the two remaining people from the destroyed Earth, are shocked to realize that the earth was actually commissioned for and run by mice. Although mice were seemingly a common research tool for humans, the earthlings find out that the mice were actually running experiments on them. This realization is actually Douglas showing the reader that absolutely nothing is what it seems in this ridiculous, funny, spontaneous narrative.

At the end of the story, when the crew of Arthur, Ford, Zaphod, Trillian and Marvin escape from the planet Magrathea on the Heart of Gold, Zaphod mentions that they will get a quick bite to eat at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, which is a prelude to the second book of the Hitchhiker series, titled “The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.”

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