Kurt Vonnegut as Social Critic Essay

Kurt Vonnegut as Social Critic Essay

Length: 2390 words (6.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

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...


... middle of paper ...


...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>

 

 

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Analysis Of The Book ' Slaughterhouse Five ' Essay

- Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis is quoted saying, “The trouble with me is that I’m an outsider. And that’s a very hard thing to be…” At one point or another everyone has felt like an outsider in his or her life. In the novel Slaughterhouse Five Billy Pilgrim suffers from feeling like an outsider a great deal as he struggles with his PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). From a Marxist Critic’s standpoint a lot of his struggles may also be due to his social and economic class. From being treated like an animal while he was a prisoner of war to coming home and practically being handed more money than he knew what to do with, Billy didn’t know how to cope....   [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut]

Powerful Essays
755 words (2.2 pages)

Essay about Slaughterhouse Five By Kurt Vonnegut

- Slaughterhouse-Five, written by Kurt Vonnegut, is an anti-war book about the firebombing of Dresden, which the author witnessed in World War II. In the book, the reader is introduced with the main character Billy Pilgrim, who seems to have come "unstuck in time," rendering him the ability to travel or relive the past, present, and future (Vonnegut). Billy learns later on, from an alien race named the Tralfamadorians, that all time exists simultaneously. Vonnegut begins the book, however, with anecdotes from when he was just starting to write the book and how writing it led him to develop new ideas on war....   [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut]

Powerful Essays
2023 words (5.8 pages)

Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut Essay

- Kurt Vonnegut in Slaughterhouse-Five depicted that war is not going to be ever justified because innocent lives are always compromised. The text has three themes: the destructiveness of war, the illusion of free will and inevitable death. Destructiveness of War For the setting of the story, Dresden was juxtaposed Trafalmador. The former was hell on Earth and the latter, heaven. After Dresden was bombed and the soldiers emerge out of a slaughterhouse, Dresden was devastated. According to Vonnegut, it was clear that the intention was to kill everyone in Dresden....   [tags: literary analysis, kurt vonnegut]

Powerful Essays
1304 words (3.7 pages)

Kurt Vonnegut 's Slaughterhouse Five Essay

- In a world that has become callous to cruelty and harshness, authors began to develop characters which embodied those who were struggling to cope with growing inhumanity and impassivity. Such authors are as postmodernists. Fragmentation and paradoxes characterize their novels. Within postmodernism, the use of science fiction allows the writer to demonstrate worldviews while avoiding the imposition of perverted casualty upon the subject. One author who has mastered the era of postmodernism is Kurt Vonnegut....   [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut]

Powerful Essays
1666 words (4.8 pages)

Kurt Vonnegut 's Slaughterhouse Five Essay

- Critic Roland Barthes has stated that “Literature is the question minus the answer.” In literature, the author of a story always presents a central question and several themes. The readers of a story are forced to create their own opinions and interpretations about the themes of the book in order to answer the central question. In Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, the story introduces the central question: Is war a result of humanity’s fate or humanity’s free will. The author’s treatment of this question is important to the reader’s understanding of the work as a whole both literally and figuratively by allowing for the development of several important themes throughout the story....   [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut]

Powerful Essays
1044 words (3 pages)

Slaughterhouse Five By Kurt Vonnegut Essay

- In his novel, Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut dips his words in satire and sprinkles them with hidden themes that can only be understood if one takes the necessary steps to seek them out. Upon dissecting these themes, I have come to find Vonnegut’s novel as one that unveils the mediocre reality of how society acts and thinks and offers suggestions on how the it should actually be. Such themes are also found in other pieces of literature, that when compared, evoke a better understanding of Slaughterhouse-Five....   [tags: Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five, Kilgore Trout]

Powerful Essays
1133 words (3.2 pages)

Essay about The Slaughterhouse Five By Kurt Vonnegut

- After I read the “Slaughterhouse-Five” (Kurt Vonnegut, 1969), I found it interesting that the author wrote this satirical novel about World War II experiences using time travel. Even though the time travel makes the story look chaotic and confused, I believe the author had deep meaning about the time travel. Also, the author uses a lot of black humor to critical the war. In our world today, there are still some wars especially in the Middle East. I think that really not good for developing and have much more bad effect for people who live around the war....   [tags: World War II, War, Want, Kurt Vonnegut]

Powerful Essays
1080 words (3.1 pages)

Quest for Purpose in the Novels of Kurt Vonnegut Essay

- Quest for Purpose in the Novels of Kurt Vonnegut        Kurt Vonnegut's personal experiences force him to question the meaningless cruelties and conflicting paradigms in life.  As a second generation German-American and a witness of Dresden's bombing during World War II,  he observes firsthand the pointless destruction of which humans are capable (Dictionary 494).  He devotes his works to understanding the chaotic, cruel world he encounters.  According to  Peter Reed, Vonnegut's works feature a "...protagonist in quest of meaning in an absurd world" (500).  While struggling to understand the disordered universe around them, Vonnegut's protagonists attempt to become satisfied individuals b...   [tags: Works of Kurt Vonnegut Jr.]

Powerful Essays
2311 words (6.6 pages)

Essay about Kurt Vonnegut - The Man and His Work

- Kurt Vonnegut – The Man and His Work One of the best, most valuable aspects of reading multiple works by the same author is getting to know the author as a person. People don't identify with Gregor Samsa; they identify with Kafka. Witness the love exhibited by the many fans of Hemingway, a love for both the texts and the drama of the man. It's like that for me with Kurt Vonnegut, but it strikes me that he pulls it off in an entirely different way. Kafka's work is a reaction to his mental anguish, which is kind of like Vonnegut, who has dealt with the bulk of his personal hardships throughout his career, but those hardships are not his sole motivation....   [tags: Kurt Vonnegut]

Free Essays
5175 words (14.8 pages)

Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five Essay

- Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five Great artists have the ability to step back from society and see the absurd circus that their world has become. Such satirists use their creative work to reveal the comic elements of an absurd world and incite a change in society; examples include Stanley Kubrick’s film, Dr. Strangelove, and Joseph Heller’s novel, Catch-22. Both works rose above their more serious counterparts to capture the critical voice of a generation dissatisfied with a nation of warmongers....   [tags: Kurt Vonnegut Slaughterhouse Five Essays]

Powerful Essays
3845 words (11 pages)