Study Guide

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Chapter 5

By Douglas Adams

Chapter 5

  • Meanwhile, back on the Vogon ship, we're introduced to the Vogons and the leader of this fleet, Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz.
  • The Vogons are stubborn and horrible creatures. For instance, their home planet has beautiful jeweled crabs that the Vogons enjoy smashing to bits. It also has beautiful gazelle-type creatures that the Vogons sit on for fun, even though that breaks the backs of the gazelle creatures.
  • But now the Vogons are even worse: they're bureaucrats in the Galactic Civil Service. And they hate hitchhikers.
  • That's a problem for Ford and Arthur since the two of them are hitchhiking on the Vogon ship. The Vogons may hate hitchhikers, but they love eating. Now, the best cooks in the galaxy are the Dentrassi, who love food and love annoying the Vogons. So it was the Dentrassi who picked Ford and Arthur up from Earth before it was destroyed.
  • Arthur is a little confused about being on an alien ship after the destruction of Earth. But luckily Ford has peanuts, so everything's cool, right?
  • Meanwhile (argh!), back in the control room of the Vogon ship, Jeltz is in a foul mood and wants to yell at someone. So he's pretty happy to discover that there are some hitchhikers on board for him to kill.
  • Meanwhile, back in the Dentrassi room, Ford tries to explain things to Arthur by giving him a book, which is a good way to get out of the job of explaining something.
  • The book is the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, an "electronic book" (5.54), which has entries on all sorts of things. So Arthur looks up the Vogons in the Guide.
  • The Guide helpfully tells Arthur that the Vogons are terrible and that you should "On no account allow a Vogon to read poetry at you" (5.65)
  • Arthur is a little overwhelmed by the whole thing, but Ford promises him that they'll have a good time checking out the galaxy—as soon as Arthur puts this small yellow fish in his ear. Arthur hesitates, which is weird considering how much the British love fish and chips in their ears.
  • Jeltz starts giving an announcement over the PA system of the ship, but it's in Vogon, so Arthur can't understand it—until, that is, Ford puts the little fish in his ear.