0 20 2015

"Being Alive is a Crock of Shit" - Kurt Vonnegut's Kind Pessimism

Andrew Hicks

Abstract


Kurt Vonnegut, long considered one of the arch-misanthropes of the American literary canon, can more accurately be said to have only fallen into genuine cynicism at the very end of his life. Before this final despair, however, Vonnegut was a trenchant critic of a variety of aspects of American culture. In The Sirens of Titan (1959) and Slapstick (1976), Vonnegut respectively satirises the self-made myth of the American Dream and tackles the issue of modern loneliness. In both novels, he proposes far more modest but perhaps more achievable and compassionate goals than those promised by American convention, goals that only appear pessimistically limited in light of unrealistic or unfulfilled ideals.


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ISSN 1749-9771