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Kurt Vonnegut Essay, Research Paper

Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Kurt Vonnegut Jr., was born November 11, 1922, in

Indianapolis, Indiana(Dictionary of Literary Biography).

Kurt is often known for his science-fiction writing. He

often uses space travel and technology within his novels

(World Book Encyclopedia). Vonnegut attended Cornell

University from 1940 to 1942. Next, he attended the

University of Chicago from 1945 to 1947. He was awarded a

masters degree in 1971 in anthropology. Also in 1945, he

was wed to Jane Marie Cox. Kurt and Jane had three

children, Mark, Nannette and Edith(Dictionary of Literary


In 1947, Kurt moved to Schenectady, New York to work

for General Electric Research Laboratory as a public

relations writer. It was here that he wrote his first

novel, Player Piano. Vonnegut’s next move was resigning

from his job to fulfill his dream. He moved to

Provincetown, Massachusetts so he could concentrate on his


For the next seven years Vonnegut worked on novel

titled “Upstairs and Downstairs.” He never did finish this

novel. He received income by starting a Saab dealership and

writing short stories.

Becker 2

In 1957, his father died of lung cancer. His sister and her

husband soon died which would one day lead him to write the

novel Slapstick.

Kurt Vonnegut’s writing style is exemplified in the

novel Slaughterhouse-Five. This novel also shows Vonnegut’s

view on war. He entered World War II in 1939 and stayed

there for the remainder of the war. Vonnegut was captured

by the Germans and imprisoned in Dresden, Germany. He

witnessed first-hand the bombing of Dresden by the British

and Americans. He uses Slaughterhouse-Five to show that the

human race has a tendency to inflict destruction on

itself(World Book Encyclopedia).

Before he wrote Slaughterhouse-Five, he published The

Sirens of Titens in 1959. This was a story about a playboy

millionaire that is destined to become a space traveler.

The millionaire man was taken to Mars. Some regard this

novel as Vonnegut’s best novel.

Next, Vonnegut signed a two-book contract with Fawcett.

This contract was supposed to cover Canary in a Cat House

and Mother Night. Canary in a Cat House was a series of

twelve short stories that were published by other magazines.

Mother Night emerged in 1962. This is one of few novels

that does not involve any science-fiction or technology.

Cat’s Cradle was his next novel. It was published in

1963. This story involves a researcher at General Electric.

Becker 3

This novel shows how much Vonnegut uses his real life

experiences. He uses war examples, the numbers of kids he

has and the places he has lived.

On October 7, 1970, he opened his first play Happy

Birthday, Wanda June. This play lasted on Broadway until

March 14, 1971. One major criticism of this play is that

women don’t have any dignity in it.

Kurt Vonnegut Jr. had a couple of other major works

such as Breakfast of Champions and Slapstick, however, both

received negative reviews(Dictionary of Literary Biography).

Vonnegut has a different style of writing. This trait makes

him unique. Towards the end of his career, his works were

highly criticized which was why his reputation has been

partially ruined.

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