Ravenous Heart of Nothingness: A Review of Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

June 7, 2022 by Essay Writer

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (HHGTTG) is one of many science fiction comedies written by Douglas Adams. Originally beginning as a radio comedy, the highly popular story has been adapted as a TV series as well as a movie later on. Okay enough! We get it! The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams is one of the most beloved science fiction novels to have ever hit the shelves. Nonetheless, despite the book’s immense popularity, many overlook the deep and walloping themes that lay just beneath the surface of Adams dark but comical humor. Being a radical atheist, Douglas Adams wrote his novel The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy reflecting his views of a higher power being nonexistent by portraying humans’ search for meaning as pointless, leaving the characters clear to live and enjoy their lives with no higher meaning in them.

A story in which the main character searches to find meaning in life, the HHGTTG falls into the category of an absurdist novel. Douglas Adams created the character Arthur Dent to venture through the universe while attempting to understand the absurd. However, these absurd obstacles are impossible to understand and exceed all human understanding. Therefore, throughout this novel, protagonist Arthur Dent will go through numerous phases such as many attempts followed by failure and/or conflict and concluded by realization. Confronting nothingness, Douglas Adams decides to excite his personal reality by captivating himself with a pen and paper as he guides his characters through a meaningless adventure.

As said by the Encyclopedia Galactica; Absurdism. Adjective. The belief that human beings exist in a purposeless, chaotic universe. As said by the HHGTTG; Absurdism, well… lets come back to that. While the novel is in fact written with the theme of absurdism, many who have read the novel are unaware and uneducated on Douglas Adams views and beliefs, causing them to see the never-ending unresolved events of this novel in a different manor. You see, the most unusual property of this novel is the most meaningless random events. These continuous events are in fact what drive the plot of the novel forward, keeping the audience entertained. When Arthur Dent is facing an obstacle, he first would evaluate it like myself and many other self-aware beings. We wonder what happened, and why this obstacle happened. In most circumstances we are unable to grasp why the absurd happened. From here, Arthur sometimes tries to link the problem to something less difficult to comprehend. “He wished there was something simple and recognizable he could grasp hold of” (Adams, 55). This quote is describing how we cannot explain complicated things. Instead we must resolve the subject to less complicated versions in order to grasp it under our knowledge. Arthur also tends to find ways to blame absurd events on other things by relating them back to something that previously happened. For example, when the earth was destroyed, he blamed it on the fact that the day was a Thursday. “This must be Thursday…I never could get the hang of Thursdays” (Adams, 24).

Don’t get me wrong! I am no philosopher.

In an absurdist novel there are two types of conclusions. They result with either an acceptance that the universe is senseless and all that exists is in the “here and now” or repairing the feeling of emptiness and confusion by saying the universe is controlled by a higher power.


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