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Encourage them to make a better world.” All artists, including writers, sound the alarm when society is being threatened, according to Vonnegut.
They are the canaries in the coal mine, treasured as alarm systems. More than just being an entertainer, he looked out for us—that is to say, mankind.
If you enjoyed Vonnegut’s eight rules for writing with style, you might also like his eight rules for fiction writing.
And here’s another bonus for all of you Vonnegut fans: a short video of Vonnegut presenting what he believes are the three different types of stories.
, Elaine Woo calls Vonnegut “an American original, often compared to Mark Twain for a vision that combined social criticism, wildly black humor and a call to basic human decency.” She quotes Jay Mc Inerney, who considered Vonnegut “a satirist with a heart, a moralist with a whoopee cushion.” For Woo, Vonnegut “was a public writer—one who directly addressed some of the most vexing issues of his day.” Vonnegut is quoted in the obituary as having once said that his motives as a writer were political and that he urged all writers to be agents of change.
Vonnegut wanted his novels to “catch people before they become generals and Senators and Presidents,” to “poison their minds with humanity.
Rather, Kunze contends that Vonnegut’s fiction is “‘gray comedy,’ a blend of absurdist black humor with guarded sense of hope.” For Kunze, Vonnegut’s fiction displays “an optimism that aims to uplift, even encourage, the audience.” In “Vonnegut’s Sense of Humor,” Kunze and coauthor Robert Tally write, “The humor is rooted in this sense of the absurd, depicting a world—the ‘end of the world,’ in fact—in which nearly everyone behaves badly and there is little to no hope for humanity.” They add: “Vonnegut instructs the reader through grim jokes, and the reader knowingly chuckles not because it is funny…
but as a means of making sense of the absurdity and apparent hopelessness confronting us.” To sum it up, Kunze and Tally write, “His humor—sometimes immature, sometimes gloomy, always urgent—remains essential to his cautiously optimistic vision of the world and his hopes for a better future.” , Vonnegut brings our attention to the absurdity of war by showing readers how wars destroy young men and dehumanize, rather than masculinize.
By employing black humor, Vonnegut was able to underscore these issues and disturb his audience into paying attention and even into a new consciousness.” Vonnegut uses to protect our youth from participating in the insanity of war, from self-destruction—and “to ease them into their birthright as leaders of the world by imbuing them with compassion, rationality and a sense of obligation to the community that does not override the integrity of their individuality.” In , Vonnegut’s favorite novel he had written, the author’s gray humor has a mock-serious tone, as a more heavy-handed, self-righteous treatment of such serious topics may have put the reader off.
In one scene, the hapless narrator John interviews a scientist.