The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy


Douglas Adams

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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Chapter 34 Summary & Analysis

When Arthur and his friends reach the surface of Magrathea once more in the aircraft, they find the police spaceship parked next to the Heart of Gold. Oddly enough, it looks “dark and silent.” Like the cops themselves, it’s clear that this ship is dead. As Ford walks toward it, he finds Marvin, who is lying face-down on the ground. “Don’t feel you have to take any notice of me, please,” Marvin intones. “That ship hated me,” he says, referring to the police craft. When Ford asks what happened, Marvin explains that he got “very bored and depressed” and decided to plug himself into the ship’s “external computer feed.” “I talked to the computer at great length and explained my view of the Universe to it,” he says. “And what happened?” asks Ford. “It committed suicide,” Marvin says.
Adams has already demonstrated the unwieldiness of language and communication. Throughout the novel, the characters often have trouble connecting with one another, which is frequently due to Arthur’s lack of knowledge about space. When Marvin hooks himself up to the police space ship to have a conversation, though, there is no misunderstanding. Rather, the space ship hates him so much that it kills itself. In turn, Adams demonstrates that language can have dire consequences even when no form of misunderstanding is afoot.
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