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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was written by Douglas Adams in 1979. It originated from the BBC radio show and has since become a worldwide phenomenon. The novel you are reading has been translated into more than thirty languages and has inspired a television miniseries, play, computer game, and a movie. (This annotation contains an image)
Why is Arthur's house being torn down?
This is the third mention of human evolution in Adams' novel. Could this be a motif? Watch the video below and look for more evidence of motifs as you read. (This annotation contains a video)
What have readers learned about humans, the earth, and their place in the galaxy thus far?
Adams uses humor, nonsense, and satire in this novel. Notice how Ford convinces Mr. Prosser to take up Arthur's protest against him.
Adams makes much use of foreshadowing in this novel. Watch the video below and look for examples as you read. (This annotation contains a video)
What event is Adams foreshadowing here?
"It says that the effect of drinking a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster is like having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick" is an example of simile. Adams' writing contains many similes. (This annotation contains a video)
The title of this novel comes from a popular tourism book in the text. (This annotation contains an image)
"... huge as office blocks, silent as birds" is an example of
Some of this diction will be doubly hard to grow accustomed to. Adams is British, so many of the terms are unfamilliar for that reason, but words such as "sass" and "hoopy" are unique to the imaginary space world Adams has created. (This annotation contains an image)
Why does the barman suddenly believe Ford? What would you think if you were the barman?
"... huge yellow somethings were screaming" is an example of personification. Watch the video below to learn more about personification. (This annotation contains a video)
It is a humorous coincidence that as Arthur's house is being destroyed to build a freeway, the Earth is also being destroyed to build an intergalactic freeway!
The setting of Chapter 4 is
We have already met Arthur and Ford. Now Adams is introducing readers to the character Zaphod, the President of the Galaxy. (This annotation contains an image)
The highlighted characterization tells us that Trillian is most likely
This novel is written in third-person omniscient point of view, but the narrator has some very unique opinions. How is the narrator's cultural perspective unique to this novel? (This annotation contains a video)
How does Adams create an air of suspense in the highlighted paragraph?
It's funny to note that the Guide is in the form of an ebook, long before ebooks (like you are reading now) were actually invented! (This annotation contains an image)
Ford intended to visit the Earth for a week and "got stuck" for
Ford places a babel fish in Arthur's ear. The fish translates language. While odd, wouldn't this come in handy while traveling to a foreign country? (This annotation contains an image)
Arthur feels a sense of _____________ when he thinks of the Earth being gone.
When Arthur looks up Earth in the guide, it only says one word about our planet: harmless.
The bad poetry is physically painful for Arthur and Ford to listen to. Do you think that this bit of satire could have been inspired by something from Adams' life? (This annotation contains an image)
What tactic do the pair use against the Vogon poet in an attempt to spare their lives? Do you think it will work? Why or why not?
Part of the success of this book is the blend of science fiction elements with earthly humor. The Volgon thug says that he took the job throwing people out of spaceships because the hours were good and his aunt told him that it would be a good career for a young Vogon.
"Ford and Arthur popped into outer space like corks from a toy gun" is an example of
We are about to see how the novel's plot is moved along by coincidence.
This new setting conveys a mood of
The space-time continuum is when the concept of time is fused together with the three-dimensional concept of space. (This annotation contains an image)
The highlighted sentence reflects the idea of _____________ in the novel.
Watch the clip of this scene from the 2005 movie and answer the question that follows. (This annotation contains a video)
How does the movie clip compare to the scene you have just read? Does seeing the characters give you a better feel for them? Why or why not?
What do you think this reaction of Ford to Zaphod's name means?
Zaphod telling Trillian that he is very insecure is an example of
Trillian is amazed to discover these hitchhikers were picked up in the same part of the galaxy that she was, i.e. the Earth! (This annotation contains an image)
Which character from literature does Marvin most closely resemble?
Another amazing coincidence! The ship Zaphod has stolen picks up our hitchhikers and both of the hitchhikers know the self-absorbed President of the Galaxy! Ford is a cousin of his. Read on to find out how Arthur knows Zaphod. (This annotation contains an image)
Based on Adams' love of coincidence as a literary device, do you suppose this story will have a greater significance in the novel? What do you predict this will be?
It seems obvious at this point in the novel that Arthur is our protagonist. Do you have any predictions as to who (or what) our antagonist will be? (This annotation contains a video)
"That..." said Zaphod, "is the most improbable planet that ever existed."The above sentence highlights the theme of ____________ in the novel.
Custom made luxury planets for the wealthy?! Does this sound improbable to you? This idea is strikingly similar to the World Islands in Dubai. These 300 artificially created islands in the shape of the world sell for $25-30 million each. (This annotation contains an image)
It sounds as if Ford and Zaphod could be arguing about the mythical underwater land of Atlantis. Can you tell when this science fiction story seems to be inspired by earthly details? (This annotation contains an image)
Which of the following details from the highlighted sentence shows that the setting is not on Earth?
Have you noticed that almost every chapter ends in a cliffhanger? A cliffhanger is a plot device wherein the chapter ends suddenly with questions left unanswered, making readers want to turn the page and keep reading. (This annotation contains an image)
How does the highlighted paragraph reflect the theme of absurdity in the novel?
Here are a few pictures of the control room from the 2005 movie. (This annotation contains an image)
What is the author's purpose in interjecting lines of Eddie singing into the action here?
Are you confused about the ship's Infinite Improbability Drive? This short video helps to explain the concept. (This annotation contains a video)
This section of the novel is narrated by a _______________ flying through the air.
Here we again see the motif of human evolution with the revelation that lab mice are more intelligent than humans. (This annotation contains an image)
How would you best describe the mood of the abandoned planet? Cite examples from the text in your answer.
Here is an image of this scene from the movie. Is this how you pictured it? (This annotation contains an image)
The crater's "unfortunate creator" is
Zaphod thinks that perhaps someone is using his brain to come up with good ideas without telling him about it. This is another example of the theme of absurdity. (This annotation contains an image)
In this paragraph about the theory of where lost ballpoint pens go, which object could be substituted for a ballpoint pen without changing the context?
The man says that he used to love building fjords. The image below is of a fjord in Norway. (This annotation contains an image)
So long and thanks for all the fish.This is one of the most quoted lines from this novel. Using the information provided in this short chapter, explain how it relates to the motif of human evolution.
The earth was one of the luxury custom-made planets! Who do you think commissioned it?
Who commissioned the building of Earth?
How do you think the GPP (Genuine People Personalities) that robots and machines are created with enhances your reading of this book?
Why do the philosophers demand the computer to be shut off?
Yet again we see the motif of human evolution as Slartibartfast tells Arthur that New Earth is only half complete-- they haven't finished burying the fake dinosaur bones yet! (This annotation contains an image)
The computer Deep Thought says it has the answer to "the great Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything."Based on what you have read thus far in the novel, what do you think Adams own philosophical and religious views are? Why?
The meaning of life is the number 42?! Did you see this coming? (This annotation contains an image)
42 is the answer to the Ultimate Question. What is the Ultimate Question?
Zaphod is in quite a huff. Why do you think this is?
What does Yooden, the former President of the Galaxy, tell Zaphod to do before he dies?
The Vogons destroyed the supercomputer Earth five minutes before it was going to reveal what the Ultimate Question is. Watch the Vogons' destruction of Earth and other scenes you've read about in this trailer for the 2005 movie. (This annotation contains a video)
How do you see the novel's theme of absurdity reflected in the movie trailer?
While Arthur's internal conflict mostly revolves around his desire for a cup of tea, the larger conflict in this novel seems to be man vs. universe. (This annotation contains a video)
These are the mice Trillian brought with her from Earth! This is another example of _____________... or is it?
The main motivation of the mice seems to be fame. (This annotation contains an image)
Zaphod agreeing that the mice could replace Arthur's brain with a simple electronic one that would be programmed just to say, "What? and I don't understand and Where's the tea?" is an example of
This question comes from the Bob Dylan song "Blowing in the Wind." Watch Dylan's performance below and answer the following question. (This annotation contains a video)
Why do you think Adams chose a Bob Dylan lyric from the song "Blowing in the Wind" to be what the mice decide to say the Ultimate Question is?
The Kill-O-Zap gets it's name from onomatopoeia. We can assume it makes a zapping noise when fired. (This annotation contains an image)
Adams uses _______________ here to highlight the suspense and confusion.
The entire system seems to have self-destructed! What is your hypothesis for the cause of this?
What happened to the ship?
If you enjoyed this novel, check out Adams' other books from the Hitchhiker's series. If you are interested to know more about The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie, read on after this chapter for interviews with the cast. (This annotation contains an image)