Kurt Vonnegut Long Fiction Analysis
In his novels, Kurt Vonnegut coaxes the reader toward greater sympathy for humanity and deeper understanding of the human condition. His genre is satire—sometimes biting, sometimes tender, always funny. His arena is as expansive as the whole universe and as tiny as a single human soul. Part philosopher, part poet, Vonnegut, in his fictive world, tackles the core problem of modern life: How can the individual maintain dignity and exercise free will in a world overrun by death and destruction, a world in which both science and religion are powerless to provide solutions? The reader will find no ready answers in Vonnegut, only a friendly guide along the questioning path.
Vonnegut himself behaved with a commendable sense of responsibility, dignity, and decency: He labored long to show humankind its ailments and to wake it to the work it has to do. He admitted to having lived comfortably while many of the world’s population suffered, but in quoting the words of American socialist Eugene Debs in his dedication to Hocus Pocus, he seems to define the position that he himself took as human being and as author and public figure for half of the twentieth century: “While there is a lower class I am in it. While there is a criminal element I am of it. While there is a soul in prison I am not free.” He spoke out in many forums for many causes and for all of humankind, and his has been a wide audience.
(The entire section is 5477 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of Kurt Vonnegut Critical Essays. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!