Kurt Vonnegut, the pessimistic optimist Essay

673 Words Aug 29th, 2014 3 Pages
CRAM Exclusive
Essay Sample
 Kurt Vonnegut, the pessimistic optimist Kurt Vonnegut is widely regarded as a pessimist, the evidence found within the short stories of Kilgore Trout actually prove the opposite. Kurt Vonnegut is very much an optimist; the proof is in his critique of society. By pointing out the inherent flaws, selfish actions, and destructive tendencies within the human race Vonnegut is hopeful that by reading his stories and contemplating their meaning a light bulb will turn on and prompt an

middle of document…

Vonnegut is the first to admit (2) that he makes his living by being impolite. He goes on to say that he may not be the most intelligent or stable person around, though it's not necessarily his fault, because other people have put the things in his head that don't fit together nicely, that are useless and ugly, and are out of proportion (5).

Above all else, Kurt Vonnegut is a pacifist, and his
pacifistic views are the major theme of Slaughterhouse-Five. They
form a definite undercurrent in the other three novels that are
under study as well.

Through the mouth of Kilgore Trout, Vonnegut states his
opinion on what the human race deserves, and what we deserve is
to die horribly, since we have behaved so cruelly and wastefully
on a planet that is so sweet (BC 18). Vonnegut has already
established at this juncture that the chief weapon of the sea
pirates "was their capacity to astonish. Nobody else could
believe, until it was much too late, how heartless and greedy
they were" (BC 12). Thus, it comes as no surprise that Vonnegut
believes we deserve to die horribly.

Possibly the best insight he lends is that we are actually
de-evolving, that we were at our best when we were innocent great
apes with a limited means for doing mischief (36). He repeats
this view a few pages later when he states that a lovely thing to
be on this planet is an idiot, better even than being highly
CRAM Exclusive

Related Documents

  • Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut Essay

    triggers cause him to relive them. Vonnegut uses certain “linking devices” that constantly reappear in the novel as an indicator to the subconscious thoughts of war in Billy’s mind (Vees-Gulani 178). Singing men appear multiple times within the novel, but instead of simply being singing men they represent something direr to Billy. For example, a simple barbershop quartet made him physically ill, because it reminded him of for guards he saw after the Dresden bombing (Vonnegut 178). Blue and ivory feet are

    Words: 869 - Pages: 4
  • The Satirical Writing of Kurt Vonnegut Jr. Essay

    1944, the city was almost completely destroyed by fire bombs dropped by Allied planes. The surviving prisoners, Vonnegut included, were forced to clean up the rubble and corpses of some 135,000 Germans. His service at Dresden earned him the Purple Cross. His experience of the bombing served as his motivation for his best known novel Slaughterhouse-five. After the war Vonnegut continued his education and tried a variety of jobs. He attended the University of Chicago, where he studied anthropology

    Words: 1598 - Pages: 7
  • Quest for Purpose in the Novels of Kurt Vonnegut Essay

    of the rich is caused by humanities' "Big brains," or increasingly complex minds.  He affirms that "This was a very innocent planet, except for those great big brains" (9).  Vonnegut twists the traditional ideas of evolution and refutes that larger intellects make a being superior.  In an allusion to Thoreau's Walden, Vonnegut condemns the big brains for the problems they create:   The mass of men was

    Words: 2319 - Pages: 10
  • Style Analysis of Kurt Vonnegut on Slaughterhouse Five Essay

    believe that free will actually exists. The Tralfamadorians also believe that there will always be war on earth, since humans are designed that way. With that, Vonnegut uses satire with the Tralfamadorians to criticize the fact that there is war on earth and it will be constant . The presence of the Tralfamadorians is another way Vonnegut conveys his feelings against war. In an article about the novel, Jesse Lichtenstein notes on how the kidnap of Billy Pilgrim by the Tralfamadorians is a delusion

    Words: 1619 - Pages: 7
  • Style Analysis of Kurt Vonnegut on Slaughterhouse Five Essay

    Along those lines Jesse Lichtenstein says, "Vonnegut may be commenting on the futility of life and the destructiveness of war: the one employed to correct the myopic view of all his patients may be the most blind of all" (Lichtenstein). Billy feels that everything that he is doing is useless or futile and it is contradictory to everything that is happening. With this, the use of irony shows Vonnegut’s anti-war feelings. Science fiction was also used by Vonnegut through the Tralfamadorians in order to

    Words: 1580 - Pages: 7
  • Optimist vs Pesimist Essay

    every decision made. As an optimist, you always try to work things out, regardless if you’re at fault. A positive relationship brings great outcomes that can last a long time. On the other hand, for example, a pessimist will find excuses and never be at fault. They will never try and work things out, and will bring past occurrences into the current one. There is a belief that a pessimist and an optimist are compatible, but there is a point in the relationship where the optimist can be fed up with the

    Words: 640 - Pages: 3
  • Slaughterhouse-Five Vonnegut Essay

    first time in the book, Vonnegut wrote to have Billy remember it. Having the book base around the bombing of Dresden, readers would think Vonnegut should have gone in to more detail what the bombing’s looked like such as seeing the buildings, the people liquefy before him; Vonnegut is unable to illustrate these things because he was in fact down in the meat locker while the bombing of Dresden took place. Since Vonnegut did not see these firebombs- neither could Billy. If Vonnegut were to place himself

    Words: 1424 - Pages: 6
  • Kurt Cobain Essay

    and Monkees records. In 3rd grade Kurt started taking drum lessons. He also played the drums in his grade school band. When Kurt was fourteen he got a guitar for his birthday and decided not to play the drums anymore. He wrote his own songs and wanted to start a punk rock band. At the age of 8, Kurt's parents got a divorce. Kurt was destroyed. He no longer was happy and smiling. He became very inward and was always frowning. About a year after the divorce Kurt went to live with his dad. He had many

    Words: 2033 - Pages: 9
  • Kurt Donald Cobain Essay

    People liked Nirvana a lot but who they really loved was Kurt. He was known as the unwilling spokesman of their generation because what he sang, he sang from his heart. If I ever had the chance to be like Kurt I don’t think I would be able to make it or ever be as good as he was. I would most probably leave the music industry or quit. My dream has never been to be someone famous because of the consequences that come with it. I love Kurt for his music and not for how he lived his life or ended it

    Words: 505 - Pages: 3
  • Kurt Cobain Essay

    Cobain seems to care so much that his listeners can’t help but feel his emotions through his music. Passion for music is obviously something that Kurt Cobain and I have in common. Kurt Cobain was not afraid to do things his own way. As a man Kurt Cobain was somewhat of an enigma, and he was willing to stand up for the unpopular throughout his life. Cobain was married to fellow musician Courtney Love, and their marriage was a source of increasing tension for him and the band. Cobain didn’t

    Words: 736 - Pages: 3