Study Guide

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Sadness

By Douglas Adams

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When your planet blows up, you might get depressed. This is totally normal, especially since most therapists and antidepressants probably got blown up, too. This is Arthur's situation, but he's not the only sad character here. In fact, sadness seems pretty common here, as we might expect in a universe that doesn't make a lot of sense (see our discussion of Absurdity in "Themes"). But Hitchhiker's Guide isn't a totally depressing book. Even in the darkest, weirdest depression, there's often something to laugh about, like when Marvin depresses a computer into committing suicide, which is funny as long as you're not a computer.

Questions About Sadness

  1. What makes characters sad in this book? How do the characters deal with that sadness?
  2. Do all computers and robots have the ability to get sad? Why do you think that is?
  3. Does Douglas Adams make sadness funny in this book—or is it still sad? How does he make it funny? Is it funny when the sadness seems exaggerated or understated?
  4. Does this book present any way to be happy? Are any characters happy?

Chew on This

Hitchhiker's Guide shows us that sadness is the basic condition of the world. Yay?

Happiness is impossible in Hitchhiker's Guide, but still worth trying to get to.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Sadness Study Group

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