Essays By Kurt Vonnegut

Essays By Kurt Vonnegut-71
(Shields’s biography is badly written and none too penetrating in its literary insights, but it seems to have been thoroughly researched and is, in any case, the only one we have so far.) After a few increasingly sour years puffing nuclear power and home appliances—“Progress Is Our Most Important Product,” went the company slogan—Vonnegut decided to imagine what the future General Electric was trying to create would actually look like.As its title suggests, describes a society in which the vast majority of people have been rendered obsolete by machines.It tells us only what we need to know, with no descriptive thickening for realism’s sake, and we are willing for that very reason to believe its unbelievabilities—because the narrator believes them, and offers them without apology.

(Shields’s biography is badly written and none too penetrating in its literary insights, but it seems to have been thoroughly researched and is, in any case, the only one we have so far.) After a few increasingly sour years puffing nuclear power and home appliances—“Progress Is Our Most Important Product,” went the company slogan—Vonnegut decided to imagine what the future General Electric was trying to create would actually look like.As its title suggests, describes a society in which the vast majority of people have been rendered obsolete by machines.It tells us only what we need to know, with no descriptive thickening for realism’s sake, and we are willing for that very reason to believe its unbelievabilities—because the narrator believes them, and offers them without apology.

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He had also studied anthropology, an experience, he later said, that “confirmed my atheism, which was the faith of my fathers anyway.

Religions were exhibited and studied as the Rube Goldberg inventions I’d always thought they were.” Now machines were taking control, so we needed to pretend that something else was in control.

, “is reread him at thirty-eight.” If that was true, I wondered as I opened the first two volumes of the Library of America’s ongoing series of the complete novels, then what of Vonnegut at a decade older still?

The two are linked, of course, as items on the syllabus of adolescent male Well, if I’ve grown older and more respectable, then so has Kurt Vonnegut.

For Fate (the determinations of divine providence), Vonnegut substitutes its opposite, Fortune (chance, chaos, luck). Reversal is the novel’s governing device, and irony its master trope. Even the prose has its falls, as moments of intensity tumble, with a flick of Vonnegut’s trademark bathos, into the banal: Constant sank into a wing chair again.

He had to look away from all that beauty in order to keep from bursting into tears.

In the novel’s context, the notion comes as an immense relief. Rumfoord is controlled by the Tralfamadorians, and so is all of human history.

Everybody thinks he has free will, and everybody’s secretly controlled by someone else. This is one of the great terrors in Vonnegut’s work: the terror of regimentation (the Army of Mars, with its vast ranks of remote-controlled soldiers, human machines), the terror of manipulation by unseen forces. The Army of Mars, which had seemed so granitic, turns out to be flimsy as paper.

Or as he puts it in , “Gimcrack religions were big business.” The Age of Aquarius surely came as no surprise to him—the age of crystals and gurus and mystical hucksters.

Charles Manson and Jim Jones surely came as no surprise, and neither did L.

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    Harrison Bergeron” is a short story that was written in 1961 by Kurt Vonnegut. It was first published in the October issue of the “Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.” This story was not extremely popular at the time, but over the years, it grew in popularity.…

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    The bibliography of Kurt Vonnegut 1922–2007 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, but abandoned the genre to focus on political writings and painting in his later life.…

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