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The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy is a novel written by Douglas Adams, published in 1979. It follows the main character Arthur Dent who lives in a terrible house which no one likes to look at. But to Arthur it means something special because it is his home. The story is written in such a way that it becomes very confusing for the reader because there are so many things happening at once. E.g. Arthur is talking to Mr. Prosser who answers and in the next sentence he is thinking about a thousand hairy horsemen. Read along to find out a lot more about this exciting and weird story.
In the beginning of the text we are presented with the main character Arthur Dent who wakes up in his bed. He wakes up early in the morning and he doesn’t feel very good. He suspects he is hung over but he can’t remeber if he had been drinking the night before or not. The whole time words like “bypass”, “bulldozer” and “yellow” wander through his mind but he can’t seem to find any words to connect them with. Later in the text Arthur finds about plans to destroy his house (with the bulldozer) to make space for a bypass. Arthur, while laying in front of the bulldozers to prevent them from demolishing his house, discusses with a fat and shabby man refered to as Mr. Prosser. Mr. Prosser tells Arthur that the plans to build the bypass were made a long time ago but Arthur doesn’t really care since he had no idea about this. The discussion ends with Mr. Prosser storming away nervously.
Analysis of the two characters
Arthur Dent lives i an old house that in the book is described as “old, squattish, squarish, made of brick, and four windows set in the front of a size and proportion which more or less exactly failed to please the eye” . Arthur Dent is the only person who holds this house dearly which also tells us something about this person. We can see that this person sounds kind of boring (because his house is so boring) which also is confirmed later in the text. He works at a local radio station and he tells his friends that it’s “a lot more interesting then they would think”.
Arthur Dent is also described as a man who looks like he is about thirty years old, he is tall, darkhaired and also kind of nervous. The text states that Arthur Dent is a bitworried about the fact that people always asked him about what he was so worried about.
He also has a very persistent personality. This can be seen e.g. when he lays downin front of the bulldozer that is about to demolish his house. He refuses to leave the spot where he is laying after a long discussion with Mr. Prosser on the grounds that he was never told about the plans to destroy his house.
Mr. L. Prosser
Mr. L. Prosser is the man, who works for the local council, and who is charge of demolishing the house of Arthur Dent. In the text it says that he is a carbon-based bipedal life form descended from an ape, and also about forty, fat and shabby. He is also a direct descendant of Genghis Khan, but he doesn’t know this. That’s not so weird since there, according to the text, aren’t any external chracteristics that could hint to this. He doesn’t at all look like a mongol.
!He is a bit of a weird man because he has visions about a thousand hairy horsemen and, while discussing with Arthur Dent, he has a vision about burning the house of Arthur Dent down. The text says that visions like these made Mr. Prosser feel very nervous.
Analysis of the setting and situation
The text is probably set in England as there is talk of pubs and the text states that moved out of London two years ago from which it can be concluded that he moved to another part of England. The setting is pretty positive although a hangover like the one that Arthur Dent has usually calls for a pretty negative setting. But this Thursday morning sun was “bright and clear” which provokes a happy feeling inside the reader. Although the house and all of the stuff inside it is described as one big scrapheap it seems as if it has some charm.
The situation about Arthur Dents house being about to be torn down and his discussion with Mr. Prosser is described fairly detailed in the former paragraphs.
Analysis of the humor
There is a great deal of humor in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. It is of British humor since the author of the novel, Douglas Adams, is an English writer. The humor is mostly long phrases with complicated word play. E.g. There is some talk about what a bypass is, which Douglas Adams discribes by using point A, point B, and so forth, and he is writing it in a very long and complicated way which somehow still manages to be funny.
The British humor which he see in this novel is very different than our Danish humor. In Denmark we use self-irony as a form of comedic expression. This isn’t really seen in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy because the British humor is, apparantly, based on making fun of the way people look and the way they act. This form of humor can be seen in the situation were the author describes Mr. Prosser as forty, fat and shabby and thereby making fun of his family because he actually was supposed to look a bit like Genghis Khan.
I think English humor is kind of complicated to understand and at times also a bit weird. In my opinion it is a bit of a waste of space to use two big paragraphs just for a joke (here i am referring to the part of the text where the author describes a bypass with different points).