Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy Rhetorical Analysis

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The Proper Ways to Respond to Inherent Powerlessness Sir Harold Evans, a former editor of The Sunday Times, noted that: “Attempting to get at truth means rejecting stereotypes and cliches.” Douglas Adams, the author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, might disagree with this sentiment: stereotyped characters are integral to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and they help underscore the novel’s social commentary. Specifically, the novel’s protagonist is a conventional, blue-collar British man named Arthur Dent. He exhibits the common characteristics of a middle-class man. In turn, Arthur is an antihero -- an antihero who, along with his alien friend Ford Prefect, hitchhike off of Earth to avoid its destruction, and subsequently encounter…show more content…
First, after Arthur and Ford hitchhike off of Earth via a Vogon spaceship, the Vogons ironically become a diabolus ex machina. They are described as “actually evil... [and unwilling to] even lift a finger to save their own grandmothers” (38). And unfortunately for Arthur and Ford, they dispassionately torture and discard hitchhikers. For example, when Arthur encounters a Vogon guard, the guard submissively throws them off of the ship despite being unhappy in doing so. Furthermore, the Vogons are stereotyped versions of political bureaucrats. Because of this, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galaxy proposes that bureaucrats, although they may appear helpful at first, are often self-interested. Their lifestyle is is too uncompromising. More broadly, Adams’ novel suggests that adhering to rigid sets of rules perpetuates unhappiness. In fact, Arthur and Ford are ultimately saved by Zaphod’s stollen starship, the Heart of Gold. Here, Adams’ novel employs a deus ex machina in order to emphasize the positive effects of adventure. And in contrast with the Vogons, Zaphod clings to audacity -- an opposite of rigidity. This lifestyle, therefore, is the proper response to…show more content…
Specifically, when Arthur first encounters Marvin in the embarkation area of the Heart of Gold, they discuss robotic Genuine People Personalities. Although Arthur is impressed with the technology, Marvin regards it with “cold loathing” (65). In fact, his personality has made him severely depressed. Ironically, his depression stems from his knowledge; everything is too boring because it understands it too well. For instance, in the embarkation area Marvin’s “circuits amused themselves... [by measuring] the level of hydrogen emissions in the surrounding cubic parsec of space and then shut[ting] down again in boredom (65). In this way, Marvin (disregarding the cerebral source of his depression) parodies a stereotypical nihilist. And despite the extreme changes in his situation, he continues to suffer from anomie. For instance, after landing on Magrathea, “the most improbable planet that ever existed” (77), Marvin continues to be depressed. Arthur, in contrast, says that “[the experience is]... fantastic” (94). And after their adventure on Magrathea, Marvin is found “lying face down in the dust... [and feeling] very depressed... [and] dejected... [because he] talked to [a police ship’s] computer at great length and explained his view of the Universe to it... [only for it to have] committed suicide” (142). Specifically, by juxtaposing
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