Black Humor In Kurt Vonnegut's 'Slaughterhouse-Five'

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Voted one of the most frequently “challenged books” of the past few decades, Slaughterhouse-Five is a controversial book to say the least (American Library Association). Kurt Vonnegut’s famous novel is frequently debated about whether or not it should be distributed in school libraries and made a part of the curriculum. In some cases, the novel was banned due to it’s strong sexual content, that some parents viewed inappropriate for their teens to be reading. Not only is it a controversy due to the age-appropriateness of the novel, but it’s mockery of religion, patriotism, and other American ideals. The novel ridicules everything that American society believes in. In some cases, it makes a joke of sinning, heaven, hell, and other ideals that …show more content…
Black humor is really used when pertaining to a dire situation and trying to make it seem comical. Vonnegut’s use of dark sarcasm can be seen in the book when he says, “I think the climax of the book will be the execution of poor old Edgar Derby, I said. The irony is so great. A whole city gets burned down, and thousands and thousands of people are killed. And then this one American soldier is arresting in the ruins for taking a teapot. And he’s given a regular trial, and then he’s shot by a firing squad” (1.3.13). Vonnegut uses irony to make a joke about a serious matter, the genocide of thousands of people, which to many readers who have lost family or friends in major bombings like Dresden may find offensive. This is just a miniscule example of how Vonneguts use of dark humor could hit readers harder than Vonnegut believed when he wrote the book. Kurt Vonnegut’s mockery of American values is blatant throughout Billy’s fantasy of the future of the United States. In his vision, “The United States of America has been Balkanized, has been divided into twenty petty nations so that it will never again be a threat to world peace” (Vonnegut). This has led many of Vonnegut’s critics to label him anti-American because it downplays the authority of the United States and is unpatriotic. Vonnegut’s mockery of religion is also repeated in Slaughterhouse-Five. It should be …show more content…
It calls for the right to express ideas which must be supported by an implied to right receive ideas (Mullally). Therefore, it Slaughterhouse-Five should have never made it out on the shelves in the first place. Educational judgement should have been made prior to the publication of the

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