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Kurt Vonnegut as Social Critic

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Kurt Vonnegut as Social Critic

Those who write on the human condition are often philosophers who write with convoluted language that few can understand. Kurt Vonnegut, however, focuses on the same questions, and provides his own personal answers with as much depth as that of the must educated philosopher. He avoids stilted language typical of philosophers, using shorter sentences, less complex vocabulary, humorous tangents, and outrageous stories to get his point across. With this style, Vonnegut presents the age-old question "How do we as humans live in this world?" in a manner appealing and understandable to the less educated mass. When offering advice to writers on how to write, Vonnegut said, "Our audience requires us to be sympathetic and patient teachers ever willing to simplify and clarify, whereas we would rather soar high above the crowd, singing like nightingales" (Palm Sunday p. 71). Vonnegut does not try to enthrall the read with eloquent language. Instead, he gets his point across, asking the reader to consider his ideas, and that is what truly matters because writing is simply a means of expressing ideas. By writing books that are easily read, Kurt Vonnegut makes constructive criticism of human society available to everybody.

One of Vonnegut's main themes focuses on perhaps the greatest atrocity man commits- war. As a World War II survivor and witness of the Dresden firebombing, Vonnegut uses his novels to question this destructive process. It makes little sense that we should kill each other and destroy the earth because of hate, territory, or any of the other causes of war. Vonnegut directs our attention to the millions of people who so inhumanely lose their lives to war. Does it make sen...

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...1972.

Schatt, Stanley. Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. Boston: Twayne Publishers. 1976.

Vonnegut, Jr. Kurt. Palm Sunday. Dell Publishing Company. 1999.

"Bands Influenced by Vonnegut". 24 May 2001. <http://www.ipass.net/~brianrodr/vonnegut/bands.html>

Farber, Donald."The Complete Kurt Vonnegut Webpage". 24 May 2001. <http://web.mit.edu/sbl/www/vonnegut/>

Huber, Chris. "The Vonnegut Web" 24 May 2001. <http://www.duke.edu/~crh4/kv/>

"Kurt Vonnegut Quotes". 24 May 2001. <http://mike.wiggins.org/kvquotes.htm>

"The Kurt Vonnegut Booklist". 24 May 2001 <http://www.contrib.andrew.cmu.edu/~ee0r/vonnegut.html>

"Quotes on Religion- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.". 25 May 2001. <http://atheism.about.com/religion/atheism/library/quotes/bl_q_KVonnegut.htm>
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