Choice and Direction in the Writings of Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

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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 essay... ... middle of paper ... ..., 1988. Hansen, Devin. "Timequake by Kurt Vonnegut." http//205.243.76.8/rereader/books97.htm February 4, 1998 (5 May 1999). Litz, A. Walton. American Writers: A Collection of Literary Biographies, Supplement 2, Part 2. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1981. Richardson, Jack. "Easy Writer." New York Review of Books July 2, 1970, pp. 7-8. Rpt. In The Chelsea House Library of Literary Criticism. New York.:Chelsea House Publishers, 1988. Sayers, Valerie. "Vonnegut Stew." The New York Times Sept 28, 1997, pp. 219. Vonnegut, Kurt Jr. in Contemporary Literary Criticism, 16 vols. Michigan: Gale, 1981. Vonnegut, Kurt Jr. Slaughterhouse Five, New York: Dell, 1968. -----.Timequake, New York: Berkley, 1997. -----.Wampeters, Foma and Granfalloons (Opinions), New York: Dell, 1974.

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