Study Guide

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Chapter 4

By Douglas Adams

Chapter 4

  • Meanwhile—and we hope you like that word, because you're going to hear it a lot—meanwhile, the President of the Galaxy is on the opposite side of the galaxy, about to dedicate some secret science project called the Heart of Gold.
  • President Zaphod Beeblebrox might seem like a strange choice for president, unless you know what the president's real job is. A footnote here helpfully notes that the president doesn't have any power—his job is to distract people from the real sources of power. Man, this suddenly got very political.
  • But Zaphod really wants to be president because he wants to steal the spaceship with the special Heart of Gold engine.
  • Allow us to just mention here that Zaphod has got himself surgically altered to have an extra head and an extra arm. For ski-boxing, of course.
  • At the president's dedication, we also briefly meet a woman named Trillian, who is, we're told, a girl Zaphod picked up on some other planet. If you notice that Adams doesn't name the planet, give yourself a gold star. Now add some planets around that star and you've got a little solar system.
  • Zaphod enjoys toying with the audience and the press. Instead of giving a big speech, all he says is "Hi" and "Wow"—until he tells them that he wants to steal the ship... He goes ahead and steals that ship.