Vonnegut's Deconstruction Of Honor

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After softening up his audience by describing fates worse than death and not finding any warranting death, Vonnegut further disproves the idea that honor is worth more than life by pointing out the fallacy of anthropocentric thinking that ignores the beauty of life around us. The power of nuclear bombs was fully realized in 1945 when the Americans dropped two bombs on Heroshima and Nagasaki killing more than 100,000 people. The awesome power of this weaponry created wide spread fear and the distrust that sparked what became known as the Cold War, and humans became particularly focused on the dangers these nuclear weapons posed to their lives. In this focus, humanity appeared to forget the fact that it would not be only human’s that would suffer …show more content…
In the modern age of communication and air travel, people have become far more connected to remote parts of the world. This has revealed to humanity that people share common characteristics. As Vonnegut puts it, “We now know for certain that there are no potential human enemies anywhere who are anything but human beings exactly like ourselves”(Vonnegut, 20). He further shows the absurdity in humanities destructiveness when he states that “we aren’t so ignorant and blood thirsty anymore”(Vonnegut, 21. This is a use of irony on Vonnegut’s part since at the time humans were constantly living under the fear of when the bombs would be launched and which countries would be destroyed first. The politics of the time were filled with the fear of the immanent nuclear destruction of the world. Even the children at this time grew up with the psychological trauma of total annihilation in their minds. As Bo Jacobs describes in his paper on the children of the Atomic Age “While adults perceived a threat to the American way of life…their children learned to fear the loss of a future they could grow into and inhabit. These kids of the atomic age wondered if they might be the last children on earth”(Jacobs, 1). Seeing as this fear was so pervasive at the time, the statement by …show more content…
Since there are no fates that are worse than death, since the beauty of nature and life brings humans so much joy, and since people all across the world share common attributes, it seems ludicrous to believe humanity could hold the human virtue of honor as more important than life itself, yet during the cold war this was exactly what humans were constantly threatening with the nuclear destruction of other nations. Therefore, Vonnegut ends his piece by outlining his dream of a future where individuals have survived the threat of nuclear by bearing the humiliations that have occurred in their lives at the hands of other people and nations. These people, though they are imperfect and have done their share of humiliating, have remained passive and not destroyed the world with nuclear weapons because they value life more than honor. Vonnegut ends his speech poignantly by giving us a quote that “Nothing is lost save honor”(Vonnegut, 22). This is encapsulates his argument in its entirety, since honor is a human invented concept which, if left to rule our emotions and be driven by our fears it will allow humans to destroy the

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