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Rhetorical Analysis and Summary

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy begins by introducing Arthur Dent and the situation
regarding his home. The council wants to build a bypass, however Arthurs home was in the way
of the building process, therefore they wanted to knock it down. When Arthur woke up one
morning, it took him a while to process that there were bulldozers outside his home, ready to
knock it down. When he realizes what was about to happen, he begins to argue with Mr. Prosser,
who was in charge of knocking down Arthurs home, and decides to lay in front of the bulldozers
in his front yard.
His good friend, Ford Prefect who does not realize what is currently going on, wants
Arthur to go with him to the pub because he has some news to tell him, however Arthur refuses.
He explains to Ford that he did not want to leave his home, or else they would destroy it,
therefore Ford gets Prosser to agree to lie in the mud in front of the bulldozer so that Arthur
could go with him to the pub. At the pub, he tells Arthur that the world is going to end in a few
minutes and that he, Ford, is actually an alien from Betelguese. No one believes Ford when he
says the world is going to end. If Arthur had trusted Ford, he would have never run to his
destroyed home, because eventually the Vogons appear and destroys earth to build a
hyperspatial express route.
Zaphod Beeblebrox is then introduced in the novel. Zaphod had surgically altered himself
in order to obtain an extra head and extra arm for ski-boxing. This man wants to become
President of the Galaxy in order to steal the spaceship with the Heart of Gold engine, which is a
secret science project. He enjoys to mess with the press by instead of giving a big speech, he just
says simple words like Hi and Wow until he mentions that he wants to steal the ship, and
once he mentions that, he actually does it.

At this point the Earth is destroyed and with the help of Ford, Arthur is the only human
being alivefor now. Both of them end up hitchhiking onto the Vogons spacecraft, thanks to the
Dentrassis who love to irritate the Vogons and are the cooks for them. Eventually, the head
captain, Jetlz finds out that there are hitchhikers on the spacecraft, which he despises, and calls a
search for them. Once they are in found, Jetlz reads poetry to them and after throws them into
space to kill them. Both only had thirty seconds of breath left until they would die, but on the 29th
second, they were picked up by the Heart of Gold spacecraft.
To both Arthur and Ford, the Heart of Gold spacecraft seems to resembles Southend
which is a vacation spot in England. Everything seems to be normal for a while, however Arthur
loses his limbs and Ford turns into a penguin. While this is occurring, there is a continuous voice
that is giving probability and eventually welcomes both of them onto the spacecraft.
Ford explains to Arthur that they are on a ship with the Infinite improbability drive. We
later learn Zaphod is not the only one in the ship, but also a lady named Trillian. They are both
accompanied by a robot named Marvin who is depressed and is sent out to bring the two
hitchhikers to Zaphod and Trillian.
When they finally meet with one another, we learn that that Zaphod Beeblebrox is Ford
Prefects semi-cousin. The shocking part is that Arthur has met Zaphod before. It turns out that
Zaphod was on Earth at one point and was at the same party with Arthur. Arthur was trying to get
at a girl, who turns out be Trillian (Tricia McMillian), but it did not go well. This is where
Zaphod, who was Phil on Earth, comes in and steals the girl from Arthur.
Trillian tells them that she decided to leave earth because she questioned was she going to
do with degrees in math and astrophysics on Earth, which she just learned was destroyed.

Towards the end of the section, we learn that Zaphod is headed to a planet Magrathea, which is a
mythical planet that is said to create planets for rich people. Zaphod and Ford continue to argue
about whether the planet is real or not, while Trillian plays with her mice, and Arthur longs for
tea.
Throughout the novel, Douglas Adams tends to use a lot of irony and repetition. For
example, in the beginning of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Arthurs home is meant be
destroyed by Prosser and his team with bulldozers in order to build a bypass. In the same sense,
the Vogons appear in order to destroy earth to build a hyperspatial express route. Both Prosser
and the Vogons use the excuse that both objects are in the way of their building plans. When
Arthur complains to the Prosser, Prosser tells him that the plans have been there months and if he
had an appeal for it he should have done months before. In the same, when the population of
Earth complains about knowing the Vogons plans, the Vogons tells them that the plans have
been there for months, and since they did not put in an appeal, they can no longer save their
planet.
Another situation of irony is when Arthur is dealing with a lot of chaotic situations, of
course the main one being losing home and planet and be lost within the universe trying to
survive. However, for being someone who is constantly panicking, there is a point in the novel
where he is still able to sleep even through the catastrophe The irony present here is that for
someone panics a lot, he has a moment where is calm and able to sleep peacefully, while Ford,
Zaphod, and Trillian are not able to do so.
Adams also uses the everyday in order to allow the readers to have some type of
relationship with the characters. This also allows him to make fun of our everyday and to make
us think why we do what we do. The Vogons every day is described in chapter 7 of the novel.

Ford questions one of the shouting Vogons of why he does what he does. He asks the Vogon if it
brings satisfaction into his life and if it is really worth it. The Vogons every day consists of
stomping around, shouting, and pushing people out of spaceships. When the Vogon to Ford, he
explains that his aunt believed it would be a good career, and basically does not really think
much of what he does.
This is how our everyday consist of. We are used to our normal routine that we really
think about why we do what we do, and when are asked that question, we are just like the Vogon,
we dont really have a definite answer, it just seems as if thats just how life works.
Trillian is another example of an everyday, but the difference is that her human life
everyday has been distorted once she left Earth. Her name, as mentioned earlier, is Tricia
McMillian, but was changed to Trillian to make it seem more alien like. She no longer
represented a human being, but rather an extraterrestrial being.
Through Arthur, we see that as humans, we take the small things for granted. Arthur, no
matter what people had said about his house, he loved it because it was his home that he was
comfortable in, and as people we tend want bigger and better without appreciating the small
things that matter. We allow ourselves to revolve towards materialistic things rather than morals,
family, our education, etc. We take those things for granted, when they should be the things we
cherish. Everyones probability is different, like the probability being shown through the Heart of
Gold spacecraft. Like there is a probability that someone does not have their real family around
them and is going through the foster care system, like the probability of Ford becoming a
penguin. Everyones chances are different. As people, we also have a different every day, but
what is common about it is that everyone has routine no matter what.

There are much more comparisons that Douglas Adams use to get his point across to his
readers, which I feel is rhetorical move. The comparisons of course indirect, however they can be
obvious if you pay attention to them. If we were to bring up the theme space, you can see it being
compared to our perspectives as humans. Throughout the novel, Ford is trying to describe space
by writing a guide, and whenever we try to explain space or the universe, we want to try to find
out why it is here and what it is for. However, whenever we are trying to explain that, that
explanation somehow disappears and is replaced by something bizarre and inexplicable.
Space brings up evolution, which is where religion is being questioned here. This
question is, if God is real or not. An example within the novel would be the Babel fish. The novel
explains how when they think of the Babel fish, they say God is not real however it is
contradicting because it could not have evolved by itself. When we think of the universe, we
think two theories that are a conflict within our reality which is God and the Big Bang theory.
Within this novel, evolution is accepted (Ford turning into a penguin and aliens are real).
Space in general is a reflection of the barriers that we face on Earth such as language,
race, education, etc. An example of that barrier would be the Vogons versus the Dentrassis. They
are two different races within the planet which brings that barrier of power abilities. Earth in
general, we try to explain our nature and why we do what we do such as Ford tries to figure out
why the Vogons do what they do.
The way Douglas Adams uses the guide helps us follow what is exactly going on within
the novel, and we can relate this to say the Bible which explains why things happen and how
things came about. The guide is basically the bible for the novel. As we can relate scriptures to
our daily lives in follow it along our own story line. The guide, helps the story flow and we get to
understand what the characters and what their purpose is. We would not be able to understand

that guide, if it was not using its own scriptures to explain who these characters that we
encounter are.
Adams voice throughout the novel is that of sarcasm and exaggeration When these two
voices or tones are used, we find them so ridiculous and when we do it means that we have
grasped the concept of what he is trying to tell us as the readers. Arthur for example is an over
exaggerated character. He is very chaotic, unsure of himself, and just panics without calming
down and finding a reason. When we have a character like this, we tend of them, but in reality
we are that. Girls over exaggerate when a hot guy talks to them, and guys when they hit it they
brag and make seem like it is such a big deal and accomplishment. We are Arthur when it comes
to little situations. Even though he did go through a catastrophe, there definitely somethings he
should just have stayed calmed for like listening to Ford while on the Vogon ship.

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