The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

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Slartibartfast Character Analysis

Slartibartfast is an old man who lives on Magrathea. Like his fellow Magratheans, Slartibartfast is a custom planet designer. More specifically, he designs fjords (narrow coastal inlets), and was actually the person who designed the coastlines and archipelagos of Norway. When Arthur encounters him after landing on Magrathea, he explains to him that he—along with everybody else on the planet—has been in hibernation for five million years, ever since the galaxy went into an economic recession. Now, though, he and the other planet designers have been awoken by the same “hyperintelligent pandimensional beings” who have been experimenting on humans for the past ten million years. Hoping to complete their long-running project, these beings (who on earth took the form of mice) want the Magratheans to design a second earth. Slartibartfast explains all of this to Arthur before taking him in a hover car to meet the mice.

Slartibartfast Quotes in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

The The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy quotes below are all either spoken by Slartibartfast or refer to Slartibartfast. 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 24 Quotes

The car shot forward straight into the circle of light, and suddenly Arthur had a fairly clear idea of what infinity looked like.

It wasn’t infinity in fact. Infinity itself looks flat and uninteresting. Looking up into the night sky is looking into infinity—distance is incomprehensible and therefore meaningless. The chamber into which the aircar emerged was anything but infinite, it was just very very very big, so big that it gave the impression of infinity far better than infinity itself.

Related Characters: Arthur Dent, Slartibartfast
Related Symbols: Magrathea
Page Number: 160
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

Slartibartfast Character Timeline in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

The timeline below shows where the character Slartibartfast appears in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 22
Power and Control Theme Icon
...with a look of sadness on his face, the old man says, “My name is Slartibartfast.” (full context)
Chapter 24
Improbability, Impossibility, and Absurdity Theme Icon
Knowledge and Exploration Theme Icon
When Arthur and Slartibartfast arrive on the factory floor deep inside Magrathea, Arthur looks with “a kind of wonderful... (full context)
Power and Control Theme Icon
Improbability, Impossibility, and Absurdity Theme Icon
Knowledge and Exploration Theme Icon
Dumbfounded, Arthur asks if Slartibartfast made the Earth. “Oh yes,” the old man answers. “Did you ever go to a... (full context)
Power and Control Theme Icon
Improbability, Impossibility, and Absurdity Theme Icon
Knowledge and Exploration Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
Because Earth was destroyed “five minutes before” it fulfilled its purpose, Slartibartfast explains, the Magratheans have been hired to build it again. Arthur, for his part, has... (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... (full context)
Chapter 29
Power and Control Theme Icon
While Arthur learns about the hyperintelligent pandimensional beings in Slartibartfast’s office, Trillian and Ford try to rouse Zaphod from his gas-induced slumber. Finally, they manage... (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... (full context)
Meaninglessness and Happiness Theme Icon
Slartibartfast tells Arthur that he won an award for designing Norway, but he doesn’t attach too... (full context)
Chapter 31
Power and Control Theme Icon
Improbability, Impossibility, and Absurdity Theme Icon
Slartibartfast brings Arthur to a waiting room, where he finds his friends feasting on an exquisite... (full context)
Chapter 33
Meaninglessness and Happiness Theme Icon
Knowledge and Exploration Theme Icon
...computer before making off with his friends in an aircar parked nearby—this, Arthur recognizes, is Slartibartfast’s vehicle. When they get inside, he finds a note affixed to one of the buttons.... (full context)