PLOT SUMMARY AND THEME OF THE NOVEL:
The plot of The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, by Douglas Adams, commences when the diverse, disheveled, and, at least in the case of the paranoid android, depressed crew of the spaceship, The Heart of Gold, find themselves incapable of utilizing the ship’s infinite improbability drive to warp through hyperspace to escape the Vogon flagship’s attempts to exterminate the last of the human race due to the ship’s computer faculties being temporarily consumed by the simple task of figuring out to synthesize a cup of tea. After a desperate séance and a quick visit from a deceased ancestor, the flamboyantly tacky, ex-president of the universe, and captain of The Heart of Gold, Zaphod Bebblebrox, is unwillingly flung on a journey by an old friend, after the improbability drive starts working of course, to find the true ruler of the universe with his friends in tow. After witnessing the end of the universe over dinner, searching for the ultimate meaning of life, almost flying into the sun, and getting separated 2 million years in the past, the story ends with Zaphod meeting the nihilist ruler of the universe while Arthur and Ford are stranded on prehistoric earth with an excess of imbeciles and no hope of ever finding the meaning of life, the universe, and everything. The novel’s theme is that no matter how contradictory life may seem, it will always become more contrary than we could ever imagine.
CHARACTERS AND POINT OF VIEW:
The idiosyncratic cast of characters created by Douglas Adams drives The Restaurant at the End of the Universe through the intricate roads of plot and humor. The most eminent of all characters is the protagonist, Zaphod Beeblebrox. The two-headed, three armed, depraved Zaphod’s coerced jaunt to find the ruler of the universe sends the wayward crew off to the end of the universe and back again—literally. Zaphod is a round character because his thoughts and feelings are revealed in the text. Since Zaphod learns the value of avoiding irritatingly sanctimonious people, like Zarniwoop, and changes his old opinion that the true ruler of the universe was not doing a very good job, he is a dynamic character. Zaphod’s exuberant, fun-loving, exaggerated personality causes the reader to laugh to tears and endears him to any audience. The point of view or the perspective from which a story, in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe is told is in third person omniscient because the thoughts and feelings of every major character and some very insignificant minor characters are provided. The primary conflict in this novel is person versus person due to Zaphod’s fierce endeavor to escape Zarniwoop and his responsible plans. The primary antagonist is Zarniwoop, the chief editor of the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Before Zaphod split his brain in two in order to become more suited for the office of the president of the universe, Zarniwoop and Zaphod conspired to meet...