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Kurt Vonnegut Vonnegut, Kurt - Essay


❶Major Works Vonnegut's first novel, Player Piano , did not attract popular or critical attention, but it established many of the traits which continue to typify the author's style. Rosewater , on an accountant he knew on Cape Cod, who specialized in clients in trouble and often had to comfort them.

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Vonnegut entered the University of Chicago in to study biochemistry. He began writing for the student newspaper in his sophomore year, penning anti-war articles. He was captured in the Battle of the Bulge, held as part of a captive labor force in Dresden, and experienced the Allied fire-bombing of the city on February 13, Like the protagonist in Slaughterhouse-Five , Vonnegut survived the bombing in an underground meat locker, only to be put to work by the Germans extracting corpses from the city's ruins.

Upon his return home in , he married Jane Marie Cox and enrolled at the University of Chicago, from which he graduated in In the same year, Vonnegut began working for General Electric Research Laboratory as a public relations writer.

He wrote fiction in his spare time, publishing his first story in , and was soon able to quit his job and write full-time. He began to attract popular attention in the s when his anti-war message made him a favored figure among the counter-culture; his popularity continued to increase after Slaughterhouse-Five was adapted as a film.

He has seven children: Vonnegut lives in New York City. Vonnegut's first novel, Player Piano , did not attract popular or critical attention, but it established many of the traits which continue to typify the author's style.

The novel is futuristic and explores the relationship between changing technology and the lives of ordinary humans. His second work garnered greater critical reception. The Sirens of Titan is a science fiction parody in which all of human history is revealed to have been manipulated by aliens to provide a space traveler with a replacement part for his ship. Rosewater , exhibits Vonnegut's unique combination of black humor, wit, and pessimism. Cat's Cradle is an apocalyptic satire on philosophy, religion, and technological progress while God Bless You, Mr.

Rosewater concerns the idealistic attempts of an alcoholic philanthropist, Eliot Rosewater, to befriend the poor and helpless. Rosewater finds, however, that his monetary wealth cannot begin to alleviate the world's misery.

Like Rosewater, Vonnegut's protagonists are idealistic, ordinary people who strive in vain to understand and bring about change in a world beyond their control or comprehension.

Vonnegut tempers his pessimistic, sometimes caustic commentary with compassion for his characters, suggesting that humanity's ability to love may partially compensate for destructive tendencies. In Mother Night , a spy novel, an American agent who posed as a Nazi propagandist during World War II undergoes a personality crisis when tried for crimes he committed to insure his covert identity.

In Slaughterhouse-Five , perhaps Vonnegut's best-known work, the author confronts his personal experience as a prisoner of war who survived the Allied fire-bombing of Dresden, a city of little military or strategic value. The absurdity of this event is filtered through the numbed consciousness of Billy Pilgrim, a young soldier who escapes the insanity of war through schizophrenic travels into time and space; these journeys assume realistic stature when compared to his irrational wartime experiences.

Considered a classic of postmodern literature, Slaughterhouse-Five is written in a fragmented, non-chronological style to emphasize the confusion and absurdity of wartime life. Vonnegut's subsequent novels have achieved popular success but have not always elicited critical praise. In he wrote his best-known play, Happy Birthday, Wanda Jane , and throughout the s and s wrote several screenplays for television.

Vonnegut's most recent works include Hocus Pocus and Timequake In both of these novels Vonnegut presents his ideas in new and unusual literary forms. Hocus Pocus purports to be the autobiographical manuscript of Eugene Debs Hartke, a teacher and the last American out of Vietnam, who was fired for being too pessimistic and later charged with engineering the escape of African-American inmates from a prison. Hartke writes observations about his life on pieces of paper and Vonnegut masquerades as the editor.

In Timequake Vonnegut merges parts of a problematic and incomplete novel with commentary about his life and views. The result is part memoir and part political novel. The mix is thick and rich: Vonnegut has stated that he is retiring, and that Timequake will mark the end of his fiction-writing career. Vonnegut's first decade of work did not attract much critical attention: Citing his futuristic settings and the paramount role of technology in his work, some critics insist that Vonnegut is a science fiction writer.

Others argue that despite these elements, Vonnegut is ultimately writing about the universal human condition and that he only employs science fiction devices to create distance and irony, just as he employs satire to the same effect.

In recent years Vonnegut has come under fire from commentators who claim that he has failed to develop stylistically and that his characters are little more than mouthpieces for his opinions. Such critics claim that Vonnegut's work after Slaughterhouse-Five has offered more or less the same style, theme, and message. Tom Shone, for instance, writes that "all the same subjects are there, novel after novel" and that "Vonnegut's highly distinctive style has eclipsed Vonnegut the author.

John Irving remarks, "Vonnegut's subject has always been doomsday, and nobody writes about it better. That he is also so terribly funny in how he describes our own worst nightmare is, of course, another element that confuses his dumber critics. Opinions essays Slapstick; or, Lonesome No More! Once upon a time, I, too, was a Vonnegut groupie. In that world, which every day seems a little better than this one, we waited, eager and conspiratorial, for the man who had written the short stories later collected in Canary in a Cat House and the novel Player Piano to bring out his next book.

There was a little wait before that marvelous and wacko novel The Sirens of Titan appeared, Woody Allen once observed that 80 percent of life is showing up. The other 20 percent—the part that stands between me and stardom—is making yourself likable, like George Burns, Jack Benny, Bill Cosby, or my pal hah! The amiable Vonnegut persona—a wry man who is a tad curmudgeonly, but as moral as he can honestly be—is, from book to book, Vonnegut's most substantial, continuing In the review below, he praises Hocus Pocus as one of Vonnegut's best novels and discusses the merits of Vonnegut's writing.

Kurt Vonnegut is a friend of mine. He was my teacher at the University of Iowa; he is my neighbor in Sagaponack, Long Island—it is a three-minute The knock against Kurt Vonnegut, back a couple of decades ago when he was a cult author, was that he pandered too glibly to the natural cynicism of the disaffected young.

He was too quick, it was said, to detect the smell of society's insulation burning—and to sigh "So it goes"—when there was nothing more in the air than, say, a harmless whiff from a distant war or the neighborhood toxic-waste dump. No more; his news in Hocus Pocus is that our charred insulation no longer It should come as no surprise to Kurt Vonnegut's readers that one of the characters in his 13th and latest novel, Hocus Pocus , is Hiroshi Matsumoto, a survivor of Hiroshima.

But what may be modestly alarming is the almost affectionate mordancy with which Matsumoto's experience is described: He chased a ball into a ditch Adapted in episode five of the television series Kurt Vonnegut's Monkey House.

Happy Birthday, Wanda June. Published in Cosmopolitan , collected in Welcome to the Monkey House. Published in Cosmopolitan , collected in Bagombo Snuff Box. Published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction , collected in Welcome to the Monkey House , adapted as a television film in ; a short film in ; and a second short film entitled in Prospectus for a Magazine of Shelteredness". Published in Monocle , with Karla Kuskin.

Published in Redbook , collected in Bagombo Snuff Box. Published in Cosmopolitan , adapted in for a short film titled Next Door , and, in , adapted in the first episode of the television series Kurt Vonnegut's Monkey House. Published in Cosmopolitan , revised and collected in Bagombo Snuff Box. Published in Argosy , collected in Bagombo Snuff Box.

Published in Playboy , collected in Welcome to the Monkey House. Conference in Stockholm, Published in The Montreal Gazette. Author's Note to Bluebeard. Author's Note to Man Without a Country. Published in The New York Times. Obituary for his brother, published in The New York Times. Published in American Film. Review of Prize Stories Review of Once a Greek We're Going to the Moon! Foreword to A Saucer of Loneliness. The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon. Foreword to At Millennium's End: New Essays on the Work of Kurt Vonnegut.

Foreword to The Vonnegut Encyclopedia: God Bless You, Edwin Meese ". Introduction to Bagombo Snuff Box. Introduction to Palm Sunday. Edition published by The Easton Press. Introduction to The Sirens of Titan. Letter published in Science Fiction Review.

Letter from Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. Letter to Ute Helena Bertram von Nimcz. Preface to Fates Worse Than Death. Preface to Wampeters, Foma and Granfalloons. Preface to Welcome to the Monkey House.

The Hocus Pocus Laundromat". Published in North American Review. Something Happened by Joseph Heller. Published in The Humanist. Like Shaking Hands with God: A Conversation About Writing. Between Time and Timbuktu or, Prometheus Children's book illustrated by Ivan Chermayeff.

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Technology has changed the way people live in many ways. It has impacted the world in both negative and positive ways as it will continue to do so throughout history. The author Kurt Vonnegut uses the influence of technology in many of his short stories. In the short story “Welcome to .

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Sep 28,  · Kurt Vonnegut is the conscience of Middle America. The fates picked out an ordinary GI kid prisoner-of-war, one of us, one man out of the whole . Free Essay: Kurt Vonnegut Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. is a contemporary American author whose works have been described by Richard Giannone as "comic masks.

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Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (/ Vonnegut's final book, a collection of essays entitled A Man Without a Country (), became a bestseller. Death and legacy. Vonnegut's sincerity, his willingness to scoff at received wisdom, is such that reading his work for the first time gives one the sense that everything else is rank hypocrisy. His opinion of. The bibliography of Kurt Vonnegut (–) includes essays, books and fiction, as well as film and television adaptations of works written by the Indianapolis-born author. Vonnegut began his literary career with science fiction short stories and novels.