Mr. Richard Bernard
December 4, 2017
Essay on The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Douglas Adams’ science-fiction novel, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a humorous novel which teaches us about friendship, impossibility, and especially the meaning of life. In this essay, I will talk about Adams’ take on how humans cope with things that they cannot comprehend. The main character, Arthur Dent, is a thirty-something year-old man who’s never at ease with himself. In this story, we see him try to discover the meaning of life, while going through many improbable events. Every time Arthur is faced with these seemingly impossible obstacles, he would attempt to understand the situation. He would fail to understand and wonder why no one else was asking questions. For example, in chapter 18, two rockets turn into a whale and a bowl of petunias. Arthur, because he is human, wonders how this happened. Meanwhile, all the characters acknowledge that it has happened, and do not care to find out why. Since Arthur is the only human in this story, he is the only one to ask himself useless questions, as humans tend to do. This book teaches us not to ask questions, because the universe is a very big and mysterious place, and we will never be able to find an answer without creating more questions along with it.
The way Arthur copes with these impossible events seems stupid compared to the other character’s reactions, but it is the most human way to react, and it shows that humans always try to find an answer even when there is no answer. When Arthur is faced with these events, he attempts to understand them. He states the obvious. For example, at the start of the book, when he finds himself on a spaceship, Arthur has no idea where he is, but says: “It’s dark.” His friend, who is not human, says that “one of the things [he] has always found hard to understand about humans is their habit of continually stating and repeating the very very obvious.” We know that this is because by stating what we know, we can try to connect ideas and figure out what we don’t know. Arthur also tries to connect the event to something simpler. He says, at page 57, that he “wished there was something simple and recognizable [he] could grasp hold of” to help him understand the...