The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy | Study Guide

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Course Hero. "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Study Guide." Course Hero. 28 Nov. 2016. Web. 10 Dec. 2018. <>.

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Course Hero. (2016, November 28). The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved December 10, 2018, from

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Course Hero. "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Study Guide." November 28, 2016. Accessed December 10, 2018.


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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy | Chapter 28 | Summary



As the Sens-O-Tape recording continues, Phouchg and Loonquawl are trying to digest what they have just heard. They are sure that the revelers outside will turn into an angry mob upon hearing the seemingly meaningless answer "Forty-two," and they plead for Deep Thought to explain it. The answer is correct, the computer tells them. The problem is that they never knew the right question. Once that is known, the answer will fit and make sense.

Trying not to despair, Loonquawl asks if Deep Thought will tell them the question. The computer firmly replies, "No," and then explains that, instead, it will design a computer that is able to calculate the Question to the Ultimate Answer. It will be a computer of unlimited and cunning simplicity, and part of its operational matrix will be organic life. It will be a ten-million-year program called Earth. Phouchg and Loonquawl will be transformed and sent down into the computer to direct the program.

Suddenly the images break up, and the tape comes to an end.


The connection between Deep Thought, the quest for the Ultimate Answer, and Earth at last is clarified. In the introductory chapter to the story, Earth is presented as "an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet" located in the "uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy." Humans are described as "amazingly primitive." In other words, whether humans like it or not, they and their planet are not very significant. The callous destruction of Earth seems to underscore this opinion, which is pretty much the opposite of how humans view things.

Now Adams takes the idea of insignificance that he established and reverses it completely. Earth is, in fact, quite significant, but in an unexpected way. It's an organic computer constructed to find the Ultimate Question to the Ultimate Answer.

Hyperintelligent pandimensional beings in the form of mice especially care about it, and its destruction by the Vogons takes on new meaning. With the Ultimate Question still a mystery, the mice have ordered another copy of Earth in order to run a new program.

Another thing becomes clear in this chapter: Vroomfondel and Majikthise were not very good philosophers in the classical sense. They enjoyed great success as philosopher pundits, but they missed out on the foundational principles of classical philosophy: It is not about finding the answers, but about asking the right questions.

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