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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

Jailbird is a novel by American writer and playwright, Kurt Vonnegut, published in 1979. Jailbird is narrated by Walter F. Starbuck, a man who has just been released from a minimum-security prison located in Georgia. Walter F. Starbuck has just served time for his participation in the Watergate scandal. Jailbird addresses issues within the historical context of the American labour movement, corporate America, McCarthyism, isolationism, and the infamous Nixon-era Watergate scandal .

Some of my favorite quotes from Jailbird touch upon these issues and include the following:

“Body sizes can be remarkable for their variations from accepted norms, but still explain almost nothing about the lives led inside those bodies.” (Page 117)

“We are here for no purpose, unless we can invent one. Of that I am sure. The human condition in an exploding universe would not have been altered one iota if, rather than live as I have, I had done nothing but carry a rubber ice-cream cone from closet to closet for sixty years.” (Page 301)

“Life goes on- and a fool and his self respect are soon parted...” (Page 41)

“Now I, too, I thought, had served my country in uniform, had at every moment for two years done precisely what my country had asked me to do. It had asked me to suffer. It had not asked me to die.” (Page 93)

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