Kurt Vonnegut Critical Biography

Essay by joeyk06High School, 12th gradeA+, July 2004

download word file, 8 pages 3.9

There are many things that impact a writer's life and Kurt Vonnegut is no different. Although there are many small influences on his life that made him such an excellent writer, the most influential event is obvious. Vonnegut's views on death, war, technology, and human nature were all affected by his experiences in World War II; war is the common thread in all Vonnegut's themes.

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. was born on November 11, 1922, Armistice Day. His birth coincidently falling on Armistice Day would prove to be an omen for his pacifist views. Armistice Day is now Veterans Day, the day that commemorates those seasoned by military experience and the cessation of hostilities. His birth on this day foreshadowed what was to be the focal point of his life.

Vonnegut was raised during the Depression. While sharing in the very real misfortunes and tragedy suffered by millions of Americans, he had the desire to work against what he called the era's "life hating mood" (Giannone 4) that made happiness and pleasure seem beyond any person's reach.

The poverty of the depression, Vonnegut believed, was spiritual. People were made to feel useless; the hardships they faced generated an identity from their feelings of insufficiency. Vonnegut's writing is full of this mood of inner deprivation that ultimately inspires his concept of the "self" (Giannone 4). The depression is what forced Vonnegut out of private school and established his feeling "uneasy about prosperity and associating with members of his parents' class"(Boyer).

Vonnegut attended Shortridge High School in Indianapolis from 1936-1940. Here he gained his first writing experience, writing and editing the Shortridge Daily Echo. This was important and beneficial because he learned to write at a young age for an audience that would give him immediate feedback, rather than just writing for...