The Mind of Kurt Vonnegut

946 Words Jun 20th, 2018 4 Pages
The Mind of Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut is one of the preeminent writers of the later half of the twentieth century. His works are all windows into his mind, a literary psychoanalysis. He examines himself as a cog in the corporate machine in "Deer in the Works"; as a writer through the eyes of Kilgore Trout in several works; and most importantly, as a prisoner of war in Slaughterhouse-Five.

Vonnegut created short stories and novels that dealt with events in his life. One of the most obvious self examinations is in "Deer in the Works". The short story is based on his experiences as a publicist at the General Electric Company
Research Laboratory in Schenectady, New York. "Deer in the Works"
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There he began to recall the events that occurred there in 1945.

The protagonist of Slaughterhouse-Five is Billy Pilgrim. His situation in the war was identical to Vonnegutøs, and Pilgrim is used by Vonnegut to examine what happened in Dresden. Pilgrim has the ability to travel in time, the manifestation of Vonnegutøs
1968 trip to Dresden. Pilgrim relives the night the city of
Dresden was destroyed, and ponders the uselessness of the act.

After the publishing of Slaughterhouse-Five in 1969,
Vonnegut told Playboy, "I didnøt have to write at all anymore if
I didnøt want to" (Wampeters 280). Slaughterhouse-Five helped
Kurt Vonnegut lay to rest some of the memories that had haunted him since 1945. Vonnegut later claimed,

"The importance of Dresden in my life has been considerably exaggerated because my book about it became a best seller. If the book hadnøt been a best seller, it would seem like a very minor experience in my life. And I donøt think peopleøs lives are changed by short-term events like that. Dresden was astonishing, but experiences can be astonishing without changing you" (Reed 776).

Despite these claims to the contrary, the experiences at Dresden had always played a large part in his writings.
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