The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Chapter 22 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
“You choose a cold night to visit our dead planet,” says the old man Arthur has just walked into. He is wearing a long robe and standing by an “aircar.” He tells Arthur that the Magratheans have been sleeping since the crash of the Galactic economy 5,000,000 years ago. Since custom-built planets are “luxury commodit[ies],” they’ve decided to hibernate until the recession ends. “The computers were index-linked to the Galactic stock-market prices, you see,” says the old man, “so that we’d all be revived when everybody else had rebuilt the economy enough to afford our rather expensive services.” He then urges Arthur to get into his “aircar” so they can travel into the “bowels” of Magrathea, where his people are slowly waking. “What is your name, by the way?” Arthur asks. Pausing with a look of sadness on his face, the old man says, “My name is Slartibartfast.”
As made evident by the fact that they decided to sleep through the economic recession, the Magratheans are money-minded people. Of course, this isn’t a particularly responsible thing to do, since the Magratheans’ economic success is precisely what threw the galaxy into “abject poverty” in the first place, but it’s clear that they aren’t concerned with such matters. Instead, they are simply interested in building “luxury commodity[ies],” unbothered by their own greedy power.
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