Kurt Vonnegut

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade April 2001

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Kurt Vonnegut Jr. was born on November 11th, 1922. He was the grandson of the first licensed architect in Indiana and the son of a wealthy architect.

He grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana. While living there he attended Shortridge High School where he began his writing career. He was an editor and wrote for the Shortridge Daily Echo. While doing this he learned to write for a wide audience that would give him immediate feedback.

After graduating from high school he was off to Cornell University to study chemistry and biology. While in college he continued his writing career by becoming a columnist and managing editor for the Cornell Daily Sun. But by 1943 his grades fell and the college was preparing to kick him out but before he was asked to leave he joined the Army.

On December 14th, 1944, Kurt Vonnegut became a German Prisoner of War. He was captured during the Battle of the Bulge.

During this time he was sent to Dresden to work in a factory that produced Vitamin-Syrup.

On February 13th, 1945 Allied forces fire bombed Dresden Killing 135,000 people. Vonnegut and other Prisoners of War witnessed the massacre. The POW's survived the bombing as they waited it out deep in the slaughterhouse where their quarters were.

On May 22nd, 1945 he we released from the army. On September 1st of the same year he married his long time friend Jane Marie Cox.

Vonnegut spent the next two years at the University of Chicago where he studied Anthropology. Then he traveled to New York, which is where his fiction career began. On February 11th, 1950 his first short story was published. Within one year he was making enough money writing to quit his job and write full time.

After his sister died at the age of 41 he adopted three of her four children.

The sixties were highlighted with four more novels and numerous short stories. The decade ended with the publication of Vonnegut's sixth and still best novel published in 1968 Slaughterhouse Five.