The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Chapter 16 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Arthur suddenly wakes up and finds Ford shouting at Zaphod. “You’re crazy, Zaphod,” says the wayward hitchhiker. “Magrathea is a myth, a fairy story.” To prove that they are indeed orbiting Magrathea, Zaphod wakes up the onboard computer, who says, “Hi there! This is Eddie, your shipboard computer, and I’m feeling just great, guys, and I know I’m just going to get a bundle of kicks out of any program you care to run through me.” Eddie then confirms that the ship is approaching Magrathea. Although Zaphod finds himself annoyed by Eddie’s chipper attitude, he asks the computer to let them see the planet. When Magrathea blinks into clarity on the onboard screen, Ford clings to his doubt, skeptically asking why Zaphod wants to reach such a planet in the first place. Unable to give a straightforward answer, Zaphod says he thinks it’s the “fame” and “money” that attracts him.
When Ford asks Zaphod why he wants to find Magrathea, the two-headed president can’t deliver a legitimate answer. Grasping for a response, he guesses that what must appeal to him about the planet is its “fame” and its “money”—this makes sense, considering that Zaphod is a superficial person. However, it’s worth noting that his inability to perfectly pinpoint why he wants to find Magrathea is in keeping with his earlier feeling that he is hiding something from himself. Whereas most people would be able to articulate what’s motivating them to do something, Zaphod finds himself unable to do so, suggesting that he is truly in the dark about his own intentions.
Themes
Meaninglessness and Happiness Theme Icon
Knowledge and Exploration Theme Icon