This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Choice And Direction In The Writings Of Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

2956 words - 12 pages

Choice and Direction in the Writings of Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

  
     Satire in American literature has evolved in response to the development of the American mind, its increasing use of free will, and the context that surrounds this notion.  Satire is the biting wit that authors (labeled satirists) bring to their literature to expose and mock the follies of society.  Satirists can be divided, however, into two groups with very different purposes.   One type  mocks simply for the enjoyment of mocking.  These satirists are found almost everywhere in the world, on every street corner, household, and television sitcom.  It is the second type of satirist who is a strong force in the world of literature.  The satirical author will mock to heighten the reader's awareness of the problems that threaten to destroy the world that they believe has so much potential. They do this with the hope that their satire will encourage others to better society.  "I have often hoped that the arts could be wonderfully useful in times of trouble" (32) says the writer who is perhaps the king of this second type of American satire, Kurt Vonnegut Jr.  Vonnegut uses his literature to help guide a disillusioned America, in which free will has been  fundamental since the writing of the Constitution.  As a humanist, Vonnegut uses the idea of free will as a constant motif in his writing. He believes that every soul has the freedom to do anything, but that the problem with society is that people lack  direction.  Free will, used as a  theme in Timequake, is an enormous responsibility. Acknowledging the free will that one has also involves accepting the responsibility that is necessary to use this privilege in a way that will benefit humanity.  In several essays taken from Wampeters, Foma, & Granfalloons (Opinions),  Vonnegut identifies societal problems that are clogging humanity's sense of direction.  The complexities of institutions such as business and government are confusing the sense of direction needed in order to prosper, causing a spiritual decline that results in the  warping of the public's morals. Vonnegut also feels that the American attitude of dwelling on the worst events of life is contributing this loss of spirit.  Vonnegut offers solutions to this problem in Slaughterhouse Five, as he introduces  new ways of perceiving our lives. With the increasing amount of free will that is being granted to people around the world, many have no sense of how to use it. Vonnegut is particularly upset with the way that Americans are living and the way in which society is moving. Through his literature, he offers a path for the use of free will with the notion that all people are given the opportunity to better themselves.  Through the bettering of the individual comes the bettering of society.

 

       Vonnegut's last addition to the literary world is his wantonly satirical novel Timequake. Timequake is  devoted to the concept of free will and its dominance in...

Find Another Essay On Choice and Direction in the Writings of Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Two books by kurt vonnegut jr

834 words - 3 pages In the books Slaughterhouse-Five and Mother Night, the author, Kurt Vonnegut Jr. presents the reader with two entirely different plots and story lines. The underlying theme for both books however, is the same; stop mindless war, stop mindless genocide of the human race, stop hatred for one another.These zealous antiwar sentiments stem from Vonnegut's personal experiences during World War II. An American ground soldier, Vonnegut was captured and

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut Jr Essay

1803 words - 8 pages Slaughterhouse-Five: Why War Should Never Happen Kurt Vonnegut Jr., a World War II veteran and author of the literary masterpiece Slaughterhouse-Five, was one of the many there to witness the destruction of the city of Dresden located in Germany, and one of the few to survive to tell the gruesome details. Most of his writing was used to encourage those with anti-war mindsets to take a stand, and to inform everyone else of the damage that is

'Cat's Cradle' by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr

914 words - 4 pages In Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, religion is juxtaposed with the concept of a cat’s cradle. Vonnegut uses Bokononism, the book’s main religious theme, to coalesce the idea of a cat’s cradle. Bokononist ideals are similar to a cat’s cradle in several ways, including emptiness or holes, a need for a secondary person and its extra string or unnecessary amounts of string. This is shown in several aspects of Bokononism such

Billy Pilgrim as a Christ Figure in Kurt Vonnegut Jr.'s Slaughterhouse Five

3072 words - 12 pages , Leonard. Forever Pursuing Genesis: The Myth of Eden in the Novels of Kurt Vonnegut. Toronto: Bucknell University Press, 1990. p. 102-115. New Testament of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Nashville: National Publishing Company, 1968. Vonnegut, Kurt Jr. Slaughterhouse-Five. New York: Dell Publishing Co. 1982.

Relationships and Interdependence in the Works of Kurt Vonnegut

3036 words - 12 pages Relationships and Interdependence in the Works of Kurt Vonnegut While on the surface Kurt Vonnegut's works appear to singularly contain the pessimistic views of an aging, black humorist, his underlying meanings reveal a much more sympathetic and hopeful glimpse of humanity that lends itself to eventual societal improvement. As part of Vonnegut's strategy for enhanced communal welfare, the

Harrison -- a short story by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. turned into a screenplay by me -- Great for media class or creative writting class A- paper

1568 words - 6 pages INT. Bergeron Household - Living Room - DayThe living room sees to be typical to an average American household. A nice wooden coffee table in front of a couch and a recliner next to it. In the recliner sits George Bergeron, 47. He is an average "plain" looking man, aside from the black earpiece in his ear and the large sack hanging around his neck. Marked on the sack we see "47 LBS." On the couch is his wife, Hazel Bergeron - again a very plain

The Doctrines of Kurt Vonnegut

1423 words - 6 pages self-denial "more feeling to something than God himself would give to it" (Mayo 42). He creates a "soap-opera set" and slowly introduces sensitivity, as well as conflict, to the summary, while insisting on the "essential decency" that "characterize human relationships" (Mayo 42; "Kurt Vonnegut, Jr." 441).               In his short story, "A Long Walk to Forever," Vonnegut

Essay describes the insanity of war in "Slaughterhouse Five" by Kurt Vonnegut

1466 words - 6 pages Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut Jr., is the tale of a gawky World War II veteran/soldier, Billy Pilgrim. His wartime experiences and their effects lead him to the ultimate conclusion that war is unexplainable. To portray this effectively, Vonnegut presents the story in two dimensions: historical and science-fiction. The irrationality of war is emphasized in each dimension by contrasts in its comic and tragic elements. The historical

Kurt Vonnegut Sarcasm and Blac

2627 words - 11 pages Sarcasm and Black Humor Kurt Vonnegut uses sarcasm to portray the humor, foolishness, and futility of real life issues, people events, and expectations. In his books, he writes like a satire, but in reality, that?s not what it really is. He has many opinions and questions of mans? search for the meaning of life. Objects, events, and people, of real life, are represented in his books and are put into Vonnegut's context. Characters in his books

The Rhetoric of Pathos in the Writings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

1140 words - 5 pages The Rhetoric of Pathos in the Writings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. "I have a dream," says Dr. Samuel Proctor, Martin Luther King, Jr. Professor Emeritus of Rutgers University. "All the little children--you hear everywhere you go: 'I have a dream.' All the little children repeating that speech. It's become like the 'Star Spangled Banner' or the 'Pledge of Allegiance.' It's entered our culture." And so it has: "I have a dream" has become

Comparing Yann Martel’s Life of Pi and Breakfast of Champions, by Kurt Vonnegut

1449 words - 6 pages Breakfast of Champions, written by Kurt Vonnegut, is a story of “two lonesome, skinny old men on a planet which was dying fast” (Vonnegut, P.17). One of these old men is Dwayne Hoover, a “fabulously well-to-do” Pontiac Dealer, and the other is Kilgore Trout, a “nobody” writer. This novel looks into their lives leading up to their meeting in Midland City. Life of Pi is a story that is framed by a fictional entry from the author, Yann Martel, who

Similar Essays

The Life And Writings Of Kurt Vonnegut

2173 words - 9 pages Kurt Vonnegut is celebrated as one of the most successful novelist in the Post-Second World War period in the America. His literary works have had varied impacts on American culture, including the use of the word “karass” amongst college students, the naming of the pop groups “Ice Nine Kills” and “The Billy Pilgrims”, and the frequent use of the term “So it goes” as written in Vonnegut’s obituary on the New York Times (Farrell, p.ix). This

The Satirical Writing Of Kurt Vonnegut Jr

1651 words - 7 pages situations of life. Deeper themes concerning the welfare of society are clearly evident in his satire. Throughout this long career Vonnegut has used his unique style to effectively portray his outlook of the world. Edith Vonnegut gave girth to her second son, Kurt, Jr.., on November 11, 1922 in Indianapolis, Indiana. She and her husband Kurt had been married nine years at the time os junior's birth. The couple's eldest child Bernard was

The Arrogance Of The Lie By Kurt Vonnegut, Jr

992 words - 4 pages The Arrogance of The Lie  The Lie, written by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., is a story that stands as a mirror to reflect the ugly image of a condescending faction obsessed with grades and numbers, not actual learning.  Even though it took place years ago, the sickening mind frames still exist in some of today’s people.  They are namely the “elite group” or middle to upper class families.  In the story, Doctor Remenzel is obsessed

Influence Of Early Lifa And War On Kurt Vonnegut Jr. To Encourage A Generation Against War

2576 words - 11 pages Hayley Edmonds Mrs. Sokash AP Literature and Composition 1 April 2014 Influence of Early Life and War on Kurt Vonnegut Jr. to Encourage a Generation Against War Kurt Vonnegut Jr. is one of the most well known World War II authors. His humble beginnings and early life misfortunes shaped not only his writings, but also his view of the world. His imprisonment in Dresden in World War II, however, formed his opinions about war at an early age and