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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.
In 1957, his father died of lung cancer. His sister and her
husband soon died which would one day lead him to write the
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.
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
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Counterculture of the 1960s, Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five, Breakfast of Champions, Mother Night, Cats Cradle, Slapstick, Player Piano, Kilgore Trout, Palm Sunday
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