Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-five (1969) has been acclaimed by scholars for decades specifically for Vonnegut’s iconic, albeit unusual use of voice, cohesion, and rhythm. In Slaughterhouse-five Vonnegut uses a very unique voice that has come to define most of Vonnegut’s work, specifically his use of dark humor, meta-fiction, informality, disassociation; and the famous line, “So it goes” that appears 106 times in the novel. Vonnegut’s cohesion, or more accurately lack thereof, is unique to Slaughterhouse-five as the story is told in a nonlinear order that uses various flashbacks, time travel, and “sticking” in and out of time and space to tell the tale of the main character Billy Pilgrim. Shifting from first- to third-person point of view frequently, Vonnegut alters the rhythm of the novel. To provide apologies and excuses for this, he interjects himself into the story at varying points. These unique styles of voice, cohesion, and rhythm that make Slaughterhouse-five something more than a typical chronological linear story, and as most scholars agree is what made Vonnegut such an amazing and iconic author (Vonnegut).
Most literary scholars accredit Kurt Vonnegut’s literary voice as a style of dark comedy or humor to tell the stories in his writing that are typically horrific and macabre. According to Smith (2014), “In Slaughterhouse-Five, Vonnegut embellishes the scope of black humor by incorporating irony and by using vocabulary that creates a mock-serious tone, often leading to absurdity”. Arguably Vonnegut’s most famous novel and where most scholars agree Vonnegut’s literary voice is most prominent is in Slaughterhouse-five. An example of Vonnegut’s ...
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...ny given point in space and time giving the reader insights as to the characters’ perceptions (Critelli).
Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-five, one of the most iconic pieces of 20th Century American Literature, pushed the boundaries of conventional cohesion and rhythm, gave the author a unique literary voice, and mentored other writers. His novel pushed the boundaries of conventional cohesion and rhythm to give him a unique literary voice that has surely mentored many other writers. Using his iconic dark humor and narrating from a first and third person point of view through the novel, Vonnegut creates a unique novel that some would argue lacks cohesion, whereas others would argue it transcends cohesion. Vonnegut also writes from a unique standpoint as being physically present and involved in one of the 20th century’s most horrific events.
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