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An Analysis Of The Literary Works Of Douglas Adams

1930 words - 8 pages

Douglas Adams, an English writer, may in fact be one of the most spontaneously humorous writers of all time; he exhibits this in many unique ways, although many could overlook this and think of his works as elementary. In many ways, one could argue that the aspects of his writing are juvenile, but one must see past this front that he puts on and realize that there is far greater thought and meaning behind it if you delve. In the truly sidesplitting novels The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (the latter is the sequel to the former), Adams incorporates the following: a sarcastic, agreeable style, ironic theme within this style, and a humorously diverse set of characters that only he could have portrayed.
One aspect of Adams’ style is that he is exceptional at creating dry humor out of anything. What is dry humor? speculates that “Dry humor is humor told in a “dry” way, without emotion or seriously. It is telling a joke in a matter-of-fact kind of way.” ( 1). When one reads a passage in which Adams uses this type of humor, one can only think that if Adams were speaking right in front of you, he would have a face of stone while telling you some incredibly outlandish phenomenon. In Chapter 17 of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Adams explains that “The next thing that happened was a mind-mangling explosion of noise and light” (88). The next thing that happened was that, in fact, every physical object around the characters completely transformed into something irrelevantly different (including two missiles that were headed in their direction which turned into a whale and a flowerpot). Many authors would have gone about stating this in a very colorful and maybe metaphorical way, but Adams did not. Instead he uses a very apathetic, lackluster sentence. This is an example of his dry humor. Robert Garland states “... if you find yourself describing explosions in any particular detail of color or sound, just minimize your efforts and you'll sound more like Adams.” (Galactic-guide 1). The way in which Adams puts little emphasis on a subject that would seem to need much description is dry humor, an aspect of his style.
Another stylistic asset of Douglas Adams is his use of repetition of outrageous words and phrases for the value of humor. In The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Adams creates a character named Marvin, a depressed, unhappy robot given a human personality by the ones who manufactured him; he repeats “I think you ought to know I’m feeling very depressed.” (Hitchhiker’s 61). He repeats this phrase off and on throughout the entirety of the books, but Adams does a good job of stretching the repetition out long enough to make it unexpected every time. In the Galactic-guide, Robert Garland states that “When you use repeat motifs, it is dangerous to do it too much. ...Douglas Adams often does it more than three times,...

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