The Life of Kurt Vonnegut
Satire enthusiasts Kurt Vonnegut mixed comedy and real life events to offer a new perspective on things he experienced. He was a late 20th century writer who was famous for his science fiction and satiristic books. He won many awards and even has a library in his hometown dedicated to him. Kurt Vonnegut was a great American writer who put a satiristic twist on critical events in his life and was able to voice his beliefs through his lifetime.
Kurt was born on November 11, 1922 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The son of Kurt Vonnegut Sr. and Edith Lieber. His father was an architect, and his mother owned a family brewery. Kurt went to high school in Indianapolis. This is where he started writing for his school newspaper, which helped start his career. After high school he went to college at Cornell University, where he studied biochemistry. Two years into college he decided to leave and join the army. Kurt was sent to Carnegie Mellon University to study engineering for the army. He would then serve in WWII, and was then shipped overseas to fight in the war. While in Germany, he was a scout in the Battle of Bulge. Soon thereafter, he witnessed the bombing of Dresden. He survived this gruesome bombing by hiding in an underground meat locker. Kurt would later get captured by the Germans. As a prisoner of war Kurt experienced the horrors of the Germans. During his time of service in 1945, ‘Vonnegut got frostbite and was discharged from the army’ (Raga, Suzanna 2017). After the war he went back to college and attended the University of Chicago to study anthropology. This is also around the time he decide to marry Jane Marie Cox. They would go on to have three children and adopt his sisters three children. While in Chicago Kurt took his hand at writing. He got a job as a reporter. This is when he figured out he wanted to be a writer full-time.
Kurt Vonnegut would go on to become one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. He had many small writing jobs like working as a reporter, being a writer for Sports Illustrated, and working for public relations in. After these odd jobs, Kurt went on to write many famous works including Cat’s Cradle, Slaughterhouse-5, and Breakfast of Champions. Cat’s Cradle was a bestselling book that earned Vonnegut his Masters´ Degree from the University of Chicago. Slaughterhouse-5 was a book based on Vonnegut’s experiences as a prisoner of war and the Dresden bombing. Breakfast of Champions was written as a reflection of the American society and its value.
Kurt Vonnegut is best known for satirical works that are filled with humour. He developed this unique writing style early on. This can be noticed in a piece he wrote for Sports Illustrated. ‘The horse jumped over the f***ing fence’ (Anguelov, Zlatko 2009). He was also known for his dark humour and science fiction books. Many of his books are science fiction including The Sirens of Titan and Breakfast of Champions. His unique style even caused people to create a term for works with similar styles to his. The term is ‘vonnegutian,’ which means of or relating to Kurt Vonnegut Jr. Kurt Vonnegut impacted American literature greatly. He influenced the genre of science fiction with his books and expanded peoples perspectives on like things. Slaughterhouse-5 offered a new perspective on his experience as a prisoner of war, and adds science fiction elements to this event. During and after his life, Kurt Vonnegut achieved many things. Vonnegut won many awards with his special writing style thanks to his books such as Slaughterhouse-5, Cat’s Cradle, and Breakfast of Champions.
Kurt Vonnegut died on April 11, 2007. He had an accident on the stairs of his home, and suffered head injuries. He would later die as a result of said injuries. At the time of his death, Vonnegut was 84 years old. Recently in 2010, the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library was opened in Kurt´s honor. The library was opened in his hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana. ‘In addition to promoting the work of Vonnegut, the nonprofit organization served as a cultural and educational resource centre, including a museum, an art gallery, and a reading room’ (Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia 2019). Even in death, Kurt Vonnegut publishes books. In the years after his passing, he has had at least nine books published since his passing. ‘Not even death can conquer the great Kurt’ (Garrett and Peyton 6th Period).
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