The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

by

Douglas Adams

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy can help.

Deep Thought Character Analysis

A supercomputer built by Lunkwill, Fook, and other “hyperintelligent pandimensional beings.” When Deep Thought is finally up and running, these programmers ask it if it is the most advanced computer in the galaxy, and it tells them that it is the second most advanced. The most advanced computer, Deep Thought says, will be the one that comes next—the second version of Deep Thought. Moving on, Lunkwill and Fook ask Deep Thought to tell them the answer to “Life, the Universe and Everything.” After confirming that there is an answer, Deep Thought informs them that it will take 7,500,000 years to come to a conclusion. This upsets Lunkwill and Fook, but it pleases Majikthise and Vroomfondel, two philosophers who want to continue arguing for generations about the meaning of life. After 7,500,000 years, Deep Thought finally reveals the answer to “Life, the Universe and Everything” to Pouchg and Loonquawl (ancestral descendants of Lunkwill and Fook). The answer, Deep Thought upholds, is 42. When Pouchg and Loonqwual express their disappointment, Deep Thought suggests that they don’t understand the answer because they don’t truly understand the question they’ve asked in the first place. To help them comprehend this question, Deep Thought makes another computer (the next version of itself). This computer is the planet earth, and it will take 10,000,000 years to explain to them the question they so desperately want to understand. In the intervening time, the “hyperintelligent pandimensional beings” live on the planet in the form of mice. Unfortunately, the Vogons annihilate earth five minutes before the conclusion of the project.

Deep Thought Quotes in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

The The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy quotes below are all either spoken by Deep Thought or refer to Deep Thought. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Meaninglessness and Happiness Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Random House edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy published in 1979.
Chapter 25 Quotes

“You want to check your legal position, you do, mate. Under law the Quest for Ultimate Truth is quite clearly the inalienable prerogative of your working thinkers. Any bloody machine goes and actually finds it and we’re straight out of a job, aren’t we? I mean, what’s the use of our sitting up half the night arguing that there may or may not be a God if this machine only goes and gives you his bleeding phone number the next morning?”

“That’s right,” shouted Vroomfondel, “we demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!”

Related Characters: Lunkwill, Fook, Deep Thought, Majikthise, Vroomfondel
Page Number: 171
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 28 Quotes

“I think the problem, to be quite honest with you, is that you’ve never actually known what the question is.”

“But it was the Great Question! The Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything,” howled Loonquawl.

“Yes,” said Deep Thought with the air of one who suffers fools gladly, “but what actually is it?”

A slow stupefied silence crept over the men as they stared at the computer and then at each other.

“Well, you know, it’s just Everything…everything…” offered Pouchg weakly.

“Exactly!” said Deep Thought. “So once you do know what the question actually is, you’ll know what the answer means.”

Related Characters: Deep Thought, Pouchg, Loonquawl
Page Number: 183
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy PDF

Deep Thought Character Timeline in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

The timeline below shows where the character Deep Thought appears in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 25
Meaninglessness and Happiness Theme Icon
Knowledge and Exploration Theme Icon
...supercomputer to answer their questions. “The size of a small city,” this computer was named Deep Thought . When Deep Thought was finally turned on, two programmers named Lunkwill and Fook asked... (full context)
Meaninglessness and Happiness Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
Knowledge and Exploration Theme Icon
Suddenly, two philosophers burst into the room where Lunkwill and Fook are talking to Deep Thought . These men are Majikthise and Vroomfondel, and they are part of the Amalgamated Union... (full context)
Meaninglessness and Happiness Theme Icon
Improbability, Impossibility, and Absurdity Theme Icon
Knowledge and Exploration Theme Icon
Interrupting the philosophers, Deep Thought points out that its “circuits are now irrevocably committed to calculating the answer to the... (full context)
Chapters 26-27
Meaninglessness and Happiness Theme Icon
Knowledge and Exploration Theme Icon
After listening to Slartibartfast tell him this story about Deep Thought , Arthur admits he doesn’t understand what the tale has to do with Earth. Slartibartfast... (full context)
Meaninglessness and Happiness Theme Icon
Improbability, Impossibility, and Absurdity Theme Icon
Knowledge and Exploration Theme Icon
...the Sens-O-Tape, Arthur drifts into a room where two men named Loonquawl and Pouchg address Deep Thought as it rouses itself to provide an answer to the question of “Life, the Universe,... (full context)
Chapter 28
Meaninglessness and Happiness Theme Icon
Knowledge and Exploration Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
...that all you’ve got to show for seven and a half million years’ work?” Defensively, Deep Thought assures the pandimensional beings that the answer has been checked quite “thoroughly.” “I think the... (full context)
Meaninglessness and Happiness Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
Improbability, Impossibility, and Absurdity Theme Icon
Knowledge and Exploration Theme Icon
Exasperated, Loonquawl and Pouchg ask Deep Thought to simply tell them the “Ultimate Question,” but the computer informs them that this is... (full context)
Chapter 30
Meaninglessness and Happiness Theme Icon
Knowledge and Exploration Theme Icon
Back in Slartibartfast’s office, Arthur and the old man discuss the fact that Deep Thought designed Earth, and that the Vogons destroyed it five minutes before the program was finished.... (full context)