Study Guide

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Art and Culture

By Douglas Adams

Art and Culture

Art and culture are great things in Hitchhiker's Guide, especially if you want to hurt people. That's what happens with Vogon poetry, which probably should be prohibited by the Geneva Convention, since it seems like torture. In Hitchhiker's Guide, we sometimes find art and culture in strange places—like Norway's fjords, which are an old Magrathean's art project—or doing strange things—as in the Vogon torture poetry. There are also times when Adams presents our own culture to us to emphasize our ridiculousness. Remember that story about how everyone wants to meet the President of the Galaxy just because he's a celebrity? It doesn't matter that he has no power. The important thing is just that he's famous—famous for being famous.

Questions About Art and Culture

  1. What types of art are represented in Hitchhiker's Guide? Do we see any sculptures or paintings? Or is it mostly literature?
  2. Are there any times when Arthur's culture comes into conflict with alien cultures? How does Arthur deal with different cultures? Is there any culture shock?
  3. Besides the Vogon poetry, does art have any power in this book? Can art do anything but hurt people?
  4. Besides poetry and art, how else does culture express itself in this book? Food? Games? Television programs? Spaceships?

Chew on This

In the absurd universe of The Hitchhiker's Guide, the only thing that gives life meaning is art.

To be all technical for a moment, in The Hitchhiker's Guide, art is just plain bad.