The Thought Provoking
Not only could Mr. Adams make us laugh, or craft a well-thought-out and slick story, but he could also be insightful and make us think about the world and how we live, as we read about the wacky adventures his characters get up to. Here are a few of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" quotes that highlight this ability of Adams', with a few short sentences of commentary.
1) "This planet has — or rather had — a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movement of small green pieces of paper, which was odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy" – The Narrator
This quote says so much by saying so little. Are most of the people living on the world unhappy? Sometimes it sure seems so. This line makes you question the life you lead, to a certain extent, and the culture and society you are apart of.
2) "He felt that his whole life was some kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it." – Mr. Prosser.
Adams isn't afraid to bring a little philosophical solipsism to his novel. This single line, a thought from a seemingly minor character, asks us whether or not we are the dreamers, enjoying this tiny snippet of Mr. Prosser's life. We then go on to wonder if there are any dreamers out there, enjoying some small snippet of our own life in a clever satirical comedy novel.
3) "Space," it says, "is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly hugely mind-boggingly big it is. I mean you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space."
This quote encompasses the feeling you get when you look up into the sky on a clear night. Space is big, really big. Sometimes we need a little perspective, and here Adams gives it to us, as he reminds us that in the vastness of space, we're a tiny speck.
4) "Life," says Marvin dolefully, "loathe it or ignore it, you can't like it."
Sometimes life can hit you hard, and Marvin the Robot knows all about that. A great source of comedic relief, Marvin also produces some thoughtful dialogue. Do we really like life, with all its toil and pain? Does Marvin?
5) "For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much — the wheel, New York, wars and so on — whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man — for precisely the same reasons."
This little snippet of dialogue the Narrator gives us really can throw you for a loop. Are we really the most intelligent species on this planet, or have we deluded ourselves into believing it? Apparently, dolphins like to think they are more intelligent than the human species in Adams' universe.