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 article examines the impacts of Vonnegut’s on his literary work. It reviews the influences of his childhood experiences, his education, service in the army, and employment at various settings on his work as a writer. His work caught the attention of a larger audience due his simplicity and humor which underlined the seriousness of the social and philosophical issues he was handling in the twentieth century (Morse, p.15). Vonnegut’s literary works are also acclaimed for ushering in the postmodern era in the American art. Together with a number of contemporary novelists like Andy Warhol, Vonnegut’s work illustrates socio-cultural struggles in the postmodern era (Farrell, p.ix).
Vonnegut’s literary works, although conveyed in humorous tone and cartoonist characters, seeks to explain the purpose of human beings’ existence and their pursuits in daily life. As recognized by Farrell:
“He frequently used the techniques of metafiction (fiction that calls to attention to its own artificiality) to examine questions of narrative and the relationship between art and reality. But perhaps most important, Vonnegut’s fiction offers a scathing critique of social injustice, war, and environmental degradation while managing simultaneously to express love and compassion for the weak, bewildered, and often lonely human beings he depicts,” (p.ix).
Vonnegut’s Perspectives on Technology in the Postmodern Literature
Vonnegut believed that postmodern novelists should talk about technology since it forms a fundamental aspect of American life. This could be explained by his earlier educational life as a science student at Cornell University and his interests in science fictions. Even though Vonnegut was supportive of talking of the contributions of technology in the modern life, he was not quick to embrace technology in his literary works. For instance, “he typed his essays and stories on a typewriter rather than a computer; he always relied on the U.S. Postal Service rather than e-mail; and he warned repeatedly of the dangers of technological advancement,” (Farrell, p.ix)
His dissenting views on technological advancement are illustrated in his literary works like Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Welcome to the Monkey House which depict how humans can face serious problems associated with population explosion if all the infectious diseases are eradicated. In the Player Piano, he explains how human labor will be taken by machines, creating a condition of extensive joblessness and helplessness in the modern world. Also,...