Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five And Breakfast Of Champions

3523 words - 14 pages

Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five and Breakfast of Champions

Who would have ever thought the way a radioactive particle decays would relate to whether or not we have bad attitudes towards life? Who would have ever suspected that the structure of space-time would be so closely linked to whether or not we would marry rich wives? And who indeed would have ever expected that the properties of light might affect whether or not we go on homicidal rampages? Perhaps Kurt Vonnegut did. Could it be possible that a writer known more for his pictures of assholes than his knowledge of advanced physics actually centered some of the deepest concepts in his works on the philosophical implications of general relativity and quantum mechanics? Two of his greatest novels, Slaughterhouse-Five and Breakfast of Champions, both seem to hint at the relationship between modern physics and an idea philosophers call determinism. Vonnegut readers might well scratch their heads and flip through their copies of these books, searching the stories of the fragmented life of a war veteran and the deranged antics of a mad car salesman for a chapter on the Schrödinger wave equation they may have skipped. I freely admit that their search will be in vain, and that no truly concrete proof exists that Vonnegut based the ideas in these books on the latest discoveries of science. But I also contend that the parallels between Vonnegut’s work and advanced physics are a little too perfect to be a series of very lucky accidents. From this perspective, it seems likely that Vonnegut used ideas based on physics to support the idea of determinism in Slaughterhouse-Five and destroy it in Breakfast of Champions.

But perhaps before arguing about the ways Vonnegut supports and fights determinism, it would be useful to set down exactly what determinism is. The form of determinism with which this paper is concerned is sometimes called scientific determinism. The logic behind it runs something like this: a person’s personality and immediate environment determine his actions. A combination of his genes and upbringing determine his personality. Thus, a person has no real choice in the way he acts (Rachels 104-6). In fact, his entire life – every action he would ever take – was inevitable from the day he was born. His genes are obviously not likely to change, and his upbringing is in the hands of his parents and the community in which he grows. And of course, the way they raise him depends upon their personalities, which depend upon their upbringings, which depend upon their parents’ personalities, which depend upon… Needless to say, one can follow this chain all the way back through human and pre-human history, and the result is a lot more than a headache. Indeed, it is nothing less than a vision of “the whole universe as one great deterministic system” (Rachels 102). Think of it as the break at the beginning of a pool game – from the moment the pool player’s stick hits...

Find Another Essay On Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five and Breakfast of Champions

The Poweful Message of Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five

2194 words - 9 pages The Poweful Message of Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five From Ancient Greek playwright, Euripides, ("To die is a debt we must all of us discharge" (Fitzhenry 122)) to renowned Nineteenth Century poet, Emily Dickinson, ("Because I could not stop for Death/ He kindly stopped for me -/ The carriage held but just ourselves/ And Immortality" (Fitzhenry 126)) the concept of death, reincarnation, rebirth, and mourning have been brooded over time

Kurt Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse-Five" A masterpiece of modern writing

2108 words - 8 pages minds and interest, maybe that is way it just won't go away. Vonnegut's writing fits right in with the feelings of generation 'x', and even though the things he talks about are long gone the issues still stay current. This reader feels very much in touch with the ideas that the author is trying to convey in his books and especially in Slaughterhouse-Five.

Report on Kurt Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse-Five"

1102 words - 4 pages Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut was published in 1969 by Dell Publishing and has been regarded as one of Vonnegut's best works. The novel is a blend of two narratives. The first is that of Kurt Vonnegut. In the first chapter he tells us that he has wanted to write a book about the firebombing of Dresden for some time and also about his efforts to do so. Vonnegut can be seen popping in a couple times in the middle chapters, but more so in

A review of Kurt Vonnegut's life and it's connection with his book 'Slaughterhouse-Five"

2108 words - 8 pages : Warner books, Inc. 1972Verde, Tom. Twentieth-Century Writers: 1950-1990. New York: Facts on File, Inc. 1996Vonnegut, Kurt Jr. Welcome to the Monkey House. New York: Dell publishing, 1950Vonnegut, Kurt Jr. Cat's Cradle. New York: Dell publishing, 1963Vonnegut, Kurt Jr. Player Piano. New York: Dell publishing, 1952Vonnegut, Kurt Jr. Slaughter-House-Five. New York: Dell publishing, 1969Vonnegut, Kurt Jr. Breakfast of Champions. New York: Dell publishing, 1973

Comparing Yann Martel’s Life of Pi and Breakfast of Champions, by Kurt Vonnegut

1449 words - 6 pages Breakfast of Champions, written by Kurt Vonnegut, is a story of “two lonesome, skinny old men on a planet which was dying fast” (Vonnegut, P.17). One of these old men is Dwayne Hoover, a “fabulously well-to-do” Pontiac Dealer, and the other is Kilgore Trout, a “nobody” writer. This novel looks into their lives leading up to their meeting in Midland City. Life of Pi is a story that is framed by a fictional entry from the author, Yann Martel, who

A Worn Path by Eudora Welty and Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut

1624 words - 6 pages As Kurt Vonnegut states in Breakfast of Champions, “Symbols can be so beautiful, sometimes,” show that without symbols stories and even life is boring and not beautiful (. Everything need symbolic connections in order to become deep and beautiful. Eudora Welty’s short story “A Worn Path” show how greatly symbols help make stories become very beautiful and symbolic to a person. In “A Worn Path” an elderly women, Phoenix Jackson, is making a

Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five

3809 words - 15 pages Great Secrets’: Literature, Ideas, and the (Re)invention of Reality in Kurt Vonnegut’s God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, Slaughterhouse-Five, and Breakfast of Champions.” Studies in Contemporary Fiction 45 (Spring 2004): 261-271. Infotrac Onefile. 28 Oct. 2004. <http://web6.infotrac.galegroup.com>. Tanner, Tony. “The Uncertain Messenger: A Reading of Slaughterhouse-Five.” Merrill 125-130. Vees-Gulani, Susanne. “Diagnosing Billy Pilgrim: A

The Thought-experiments in Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five or the Children's Crusade: A Duty Da

3348 words - 13 pages The Thought-experiments in Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five or the Children's Crusade: A Duty Dance With Death In 1945 Kurt Vonnegut witnessed a horrific series of bombings that led to the destruction of the German city of Dresden, where he was taken as a prisoner of war. The controversial fire-storm raid, carried out by bombers of the Royal Air Force and US Air Force, took casualties of up to a quarter million people (Klinkowitz x-xi

Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughter House Five

500 words - 2 pages Slaughter House Five Expaination Based on Kurt Vonnegut Jr.'s book by the same name, Slaughterhouse Five has been described by many as one of the best anti-war novels of the 20th Century. In Slaughterhouse Five, Billy Pilgrim finds unstuck in time jumping between several periods of his life. From his experience as a prisoner of war in World War II to his suburban family life in the 1950s and 1960s, and his experience as a human specimen in

"Slaughterhouse five" by Kurt Vonnegut

10515 words - 42 pages KURT VONNEGUT: THE AUTHOR AND HIS TIMESIn 1968, the year Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. was writing Slaughterhouse-Five, the war in Vietnam was at its height. Each evening it invaded millions of American living rooms on the television news, and what viewers saw of the conflict night after night made them worried and uneasy about what was taking place. Opinion polls showed that most Americans were then in favor of the war, but a wave of antiwar protest had

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

1480 words - 6 pages look at his life and how it affected the novel. Vees-Gulani, Susanne. "Diagnosing Billy Pilgrim: A Psychiatric Approach to Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five." CRITIQUE: Studies in Contemporary Fiction 44.2 (2003): 175+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 17 Feb. 2014. Vees-Gulani uses medical journals and works by other doctors to diagnose Billy Pilgrim with PTSD. While she isn’t a doctor, she provides an adequate amount of evidence that supports her idea. This essay ties in directly to my topic and I plan to use it as another way to link Slaughterhouse-five to PTSD. Vonnegut, Kurt. Slaughterhouse-Five. 1969. New York: Dell Publishing, 1991. Print.

Similar Essays

Kurt Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse Five" Essay

1527 words - 6 pages I. Author- Kurt Vonnegut’s background had an endless influence upon his writing. In his early years, Vonnegut was a private in the 106th infantry division in World War II. He and five scouts were caught behind enemy lines, and then captured. They were held POWs and were beaten on various occasions. In 1945, they witnessed the fire-bombing of Dresden, Germany. Kept during this time in a slaughterhouse, this is part of the inspiration for

Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five Essay

2145 words - 9 pages Slaughterhousefive Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., was written as a general statement against all wars. Vonnegut focuses on the shock and outrage over the havoc and destruction man is capable of wreaking in the name of what he labels a worthy cause, while learning to understand and accept these horrors and one's feelings about them. Through his character, Billy Pilgrim, he conveys not only these feelings and emotions, but also the

Kurt Vonnegut's Portrayal Of Society In "Breakfast Of Champions"

2036 words - 8 pages prevalent in this country ('Briefly'146). Vonnegut's novel is an exhibit of the flaws of a robotic, self-destructive society (Allen107). In Breakfast of Champions, Kurt Vonnegut portrays a prefabricated, unfeeling societyand an American culture plagued with despair, greed, and apathy.The issue of society's flaws is a major concern of Breakfast of Champions. Suchproblems arise and are dealt with as failure to communicate, ecological destruction

Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five And Joseph Heller's Catch 22

1187 words - 5 pages Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five and Joseph Heller's Catch-22 use similar motifs to convey their common anti-war message. Although it is truly difficult for any author to communicate the true nature of war in a work of literature, both novels are triumphant in their attempts to convey the devastating experience. The authors' analogous writing styles, themes, and motifs run parallel to one another. Both Slaughterhouse-Five and Catch-22
Scared Rider Xechs – Todos os Episódios | Top e T-shirt | Dad, the Beard Gorilla and I