Kurt Vonnegut Essay

2033 Words9 Pages
Kurt Vonnegut Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. is a contemporary American author whose works have been described by Richard Giannone as "comic masks covering the tragic farce that is our contemporary life" (Draper, 3784). Vonnegut's life has had a number of significant influences on his works. Influences from his personal philosophy, his life and experiences, and his family are evident elements in his works. Among his "comic masks" are three novels: Cat's Cradle, The Sirens of Titan, and God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater. Throughout these novels, elements such as attitude, detail, narrative technique, setting, and theme can be viewed with more understanding when related to certain aspects of his life. These correlations are best examined in terms of each…show more content…
. . [an] indifferent universe, [and] regards human existence as unexplainable" (Bookshelf '94). Before the novel even starts, just below the dedication, he declares, "Nothing in this book is true. 'Live by the foma [harmless untruths] that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy'" (Vonnegut, Cradle). Vonnegut carries this concept all through the story, that the universe is meaningless and each person must exist for oneself. He even goes to the extent of inventing a religion, Bokononism, with which humans attempt to make some sense of everything, while realizing that everything is nonsensical. Vonnegut's existential philosophy also takes the form of a religion in The Sirens of Titan. The Church of God the Utterly Indifferent is established, on the principle that "puny man can do nothing at all to help or please God Almighty, and Luck is not the hand of God" (Vonnegut, Sirens, 180). Toward the end of the story, two existential ideas are developed: first that human life is incomprehensible (in this case controlled by aliens from another planet for a trivial purpose), and second that people must make a meaning for life on their own. When one character states, "The worst thing that could possibly happen. . . would be to not be used for anything by anybody," Vonnegut is suggesting that a good meaning for life might simply be to be

More about Kurt Vonnegut Essay

Open Document