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Fantasies of an impossibly hospitable world : the fiction of Kurt Vonnegut, Jr Robson, Kenneth J. 1972

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FANTASIES OF AN IMPOSSIBLY HOSPITABLE WORLD: THE FICTION OF KURT VONNEGUT, J r . by KENNETH J . ROBSON B.A., Simon F r a s e r U n i v e r s i t y , 1968 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OEcARTS ' i n t h e Department o f E n g l i s h We a c c e p t t h i s t h e s i s as c o n f o r m i n g t o the r e q u i r e d s t a n d a r d THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA June, 1972 In presenting: this ' thes is in p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f the requirements fo r an advanced degree at the Un ive rs i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the L ibrary sha l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e for reference and study. I fu r ther agree that permission for extensive copying of th is thes is for s c h o l a r l y purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by h is representa t ives . It is understood that copying or p u b l i c a t i o n of th is thes is f o r f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be allowed without my wr i t ten permiss ion. Depa rtment The Un ivers i ty o f B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver 8, Canada ABSTRACT .. -The- s i x hovels of Kurt Vonnegut', Jr.. demonstrate-..a c o n t i n u i n g . i n t e r e s t ..in'the dilemmas'confronting persons". . whose.dreams of i n d i v i d u a l - f u l f i l l m e n t are g r e a t l y at odds with .the demands, made of them as p u b l i c persons.. .The.pro-t a g o n i s t s experience the f u l l , o p p o s i t i o n between the.world they. imagine and the world, they inhabit.. .They ;.ire forced repeatedly .to choose, "between t h e i r p r i v a t e l y created and.... p u b l i c l y imposed, roles.. "They resemble one another i n ~ t h e i r . r eluctance to p a r t i c i p a t e in." a c h a o t i c and d e s t r u c t i v e world and .in. t h e i r , prefe^ence to r e t r e a t i n t o fantasy worlds of. t h e i r own c r e a t i o n . Although each." of the f a n t a s i e s , d i f f e r s from. the", others i n . many. respects , each I s an attempt to provide, what K i l g o r e Trout, one of Vonnegut 1 s . f i c t i o n a l . c h a r a c t e r s , r e f e r s to as " f a n t a s i e s of an impossibly hos-p i t a b l e , world. " .'.I '...' . The U t o p i a n f a n t a s i e s , include Paul Proteus.' aeaire to r e t r e a t . t o a mythic f r o n t i e r s e t t i n g , long since replaced by a .technological s o c i e t y ; Malachi Constant' s" dream, of reunion with h i s wife and." best f r i e n d i n an i d e a l s t a t e , beyond time; Howard Campbell's refuge i n a world of a r t ; Jonah''s f a s c i n a t i o n with Bokononism;. E l i o t Rosewater' s.. plan to redeem mankind; and B i l l y P i l g r i m ' s b e l i e f that it", i s p o s s i b l e foreman to experience l i f e i n a way that renders-pain., and death meaningless... The. novels o f f e r an a p o c a l y p t i c view of a world t h a t i s determined to destroy i t s e l f by tany and every means a v a i l a b l e - I f . Vonnegut 1 s p r o t a g o n i s t s seem to o f f e r .ab-. .. surdly i d e a l remedies f o r t h i s s i t u a t i o n , the r e a l i t y t hat Vonnegut describes i s no l e s s absurd f o r being r e a l . The r e a l and imaginary worlds described by Vonnegut are poles apart. Both are extremities., one the r e s u l t of an insane d e s t r u c t i v e impulse, the other of an insane c r e a t i v e impulse. - U n d e r l y i n g a l l o f "Vonnegut 's f i c t i o n s is.'a r e a l e x p e r -i e n c e ,. the • f i r e - b o m b i n g of. Dresden by t h e . ' A l l i e s in..World W a r . . I I . I t i s t h i s t e r r i f y i r i g l y r e a l e x p e r i e n c e t h a t . h a s . . :... moved; Vonnegut to examine'.the i d e a l , or what might-have, been, in..'the. c o n t e x t - o f . the r e a l , or 'what is'. The paradox which l i e s , a t the. c e n t e r o f Bokononism i s the' paradox i n each.of Vonnegut.'.s ..novels: . "the; h e a r t b r e a k i n g .necessity'-'of-'lying about r e a l i t y and the h e a r t b r e a k i n g i m p o s s i b i l i t y o f l y i n g about i t . " "" ...'.' ' -'." ..."..:'._,.'.•:.:..-. .'/ - . A - d i s c u s s i o n o f t h i s paradox i n v o l v e s an examination...of .' Vonnegut Is... a t t i t u d e . , .with regard'.to h i s . p r o t a g o n i s t s . .Vonnegut i n v i t e s t h i s examination'.'by'.raising q u e s t i o n s about the . d i f -f i c u l t y o f w r i t i n g f i c t i o n i n such, t i m e s as ours,.and one can see..in t h e co u r s e o f the. n o v e l s a c l a r i f i c a t i o n , of. h i s . 1. position..'.. The c o n f l i c t between the. w o r l d we ".imagine '.and. t h e w o r l d we i n h a b i t h a s ' s e r i o u s i m p l i c a t i o n s .for".the w r i t e r . -The n o v e l s are; d i s c u s s e d i n c h r o n o l o g i c a l sequence .. beginning;/with. P l a y e r P i a n o , h i s f i r s t ' . n o v e l , and e n d i n g w i t h his. .most"'recent, S l a u g h t e r h o u s e - F i v e . T h i s appears the most . p r a c t i c a l method o f t r a c i n g emerging themes ..and., . . p a r t i c -u l a r l y , o f ex a m i n i n g the e v o l u t i o n o f the a u t h o r i a l p o i n t o f view. ' ' ".'!' ; " ' .. - _'.'..' "... ... .. . Vonnegut ..of f e r s no~ r e a s s u r i n g ' s o l u t i o n s ' t o .the problems he" examines i n " h i s novels.' .. At tim e s h i s s a r d o n i c ."comments..". expre's's-.his b i t t e r . ' d i s a p p o i n t m e n t i n our c o l l e c t i v e / f a i l u r e . . . At o t h e r times, he .expresses the'hope. t h a t , mankind .will...change and seek'.a c r e a t i v e c o u r s e r a t h e r t h a n a d e s t r u c t i v e one.. H i s n o v e l s , t e a c h us t h a t t o a c c e p t p a s s i v e l y ..a., r e a l i t y t h a t seeks...to/destroy l i f e i s to demonstrate a - f a i l u r e , .of ...the.. i m a g i n a t i o n , w h i l e to. r e t r e a t i n t o f a n t a s i e s w h i c h . a r e d i s t a n t from . r e a l i t y is.-extremely dangerous- . .Vonnegut .Insists..upon t h e c o n t i n u a l - v i g i l a n c e o f t h e c r i t i c a l imagination.,....and an awareness o f our l i m i t a t i o n s as w e l l as our p o s s i b i l i t i e s . TABLE OP CONTENTS CHAPTER PAGE I n t r o d u c t i o n 2 I PLAYER PIANO 14 I I THE SIRENS OP TITAN 37 I I I MOTHER NIGHT 59 IV CAT'S CRADLE 80 V GOB BLESS YOU, MR. ROSEWATER 102 VI SLAUGHTERHOUSE - PIVE 121 C o n c l u s i o n 142 Notes 154 B i b l i o g r a p h y 164 i One paradox, however, must be accepted and t h i s i s t ha t i t i s necessary to c o n t i n u a l l y attempt the seemingly i m p o s s i b l e . The Journey to the East Hermann Hesse And we concern ou r se lves w i t h the c o n f l i c t be-tween the d e t e r m i n i s t i c p a t t e r n any p l o t suggests , and the freedom o f persons w i t h i n t ha t p l o t to choose and so to a l t e r the s t r u c t u r e , the r e l a t i o n s o f beg inn ing , m idd l e , and end. The Sense o f an Ending Frank Kermode Candide ' s melancholy i n c r e a s e d , w h i l e M a r t i n kept on p rov ing to him tha t the re i s l i t t l e v i r t u e and l i t t l e happiness i n the w o r l d , except perhaps i n E ldorado , where no one cou ld go. Candide V o l t a i r e INTRODUCTION With the publication of Slaughterhouse-Five i n 1969, Vonnegut has produced s i x novels and numerous short s t o r i e s , which were f i r s t collected i n Canary i n a Cathouse (1961), and l a t e r expanded and reissued i n Welcome to the Monkey House (1968). In addition, a play, Happy Birthday, Wanda June, has been staged recently i n New York and i s now a motion picture. * Vonnegut began writing i n 1949, shortly a f t e r he returned from the war. His f i r s t novel, Player Piano, was published i n 1952 and was successful enough to encourage Vonnegut to embark upon a second one, The Sirens of Titan, which did not appear u n t i l 1959. During the period extending from h i s return from the war to the publication of h i s second novel, he held many jobs, some of which he describes i n the f i r s t chapter of Slaughterhouse-Five. At the same time, he published s l i c k magazine st o r i e s , intended to ''finance the writing of the novels," as he says i n the Preface to Welcome to the Monkey House. The novels, then, comprise Vonnegut's major a r t i s t i c achievement and warrant the closest c r i t i c a l study. In recent years he has published fewer short s t o r i e s , but he has produced one novel nearly every two years. Mother Night appeared i n 1961, 2 3 fol l o w e d by Oat's Cradle i n 1963, and God Bl e s s You, Mr. Rose-water i n 1965. In each of these novels, beginning w i t h P l a y e r  Piano and cu l m i n a t i n g i n Slaughterhouse-Pive, i t i s p o s s i b l e to t race the development of a major concern. I n each of the novels Vonnegut examines man's p r e d i l e c t i o n f o r i n v e n t i n g p a t t e r n s which seek to make e x p l i c a b l e the otherwise random and u n c e r t a i n movements of human d e s t i n y . " E a r t h l i n g s are the great e x p l a i n e r s , e x p l a i n i n g why t h i s event i s s t r u c t u r e d as i t i s , t e l l i n g how other events may be p achieved or avoided." This v e r s i o n of human behaviour i s o f f e r e d to B i l l y P i l g r i m by a Tralfamadorian who, w i t h h i s a b i l i t y to v i s i t any moment i n Time, past, present, or f u t u r e , cannot understand why E a r t h l i n g s i n s i s t upon e x p l a i n i n g each a c t i o n as though i t were a part of some grand design. There i s , the Tralfamadorian assures B i l l y , no coherent p a t t e r n which can s a t i s f y the human d e s i r e to perceive beginnings, middles, and ends. Nevertheless, the i n h a b i t a n t s of E a r t h have devoted a great d e a l of t h e i r existence to the i n v e n t i o n of p a t t e r n s . Man i s , according to Vonnegut, an i n v e t e r a t e p a t t e r n - b u i l d e r who inv e n t s elaborate models which he b e l i e v e s e x p l a i n the random occurrences i n h i s world. He can never be s a t i s f i e d w i t h events as they occur; he seeks to i n t e r p r e t them always as a part of some l a r g e r p a t t e r n . 4 Near the beg inn ing of C a t 1 s Cradle Jonah announces: " I mean to examine a l l s t rong h i n t s as to what on E a r t h we, c o l l e c t i v e l y , have been up t o . " ^ He d i s c o v e r s tha t we have been i n v o l v e d i n i n v e n t i n g pa t t e rns of a r e l i g i o u s , p o l i t i c a l , and s o c i a l na tu r e . These pa t t e rns serve a number of purposes, some of which are harmful w h i l e o thers are b e n e f i c i a l . P a t t e r n s which are harmful are those whose aims are the c o n t r o l o r d e s t r u c t i o n of human l i f e . Pa t t e rn s which are b e n e f i c i a l are those whose aims are the encouragement of l i f e and the a c q u i s i t i o n of knowledge which f u r t h e r s t h i s end. Others , l i k e the meaningless i n s t i t u t i o n s , or g ranfa loons , to which people l i k e H a z e l Crosby subsc r ibe , are merely r i d i c u l o u s . There i s a n o t i c e a b l e s i m i l a r i t y between the i n v e n t i o n o f pa t t e rns and the c r e a t i o n o f f i c t i o n s . As a w r i t e r , Vonnegut i s h i m s e l f a p a t t e r n - b u i l d e r . As a n o v e l l i k e The S i r ens of T i t a n demonstrates, he i s capable of c o n s t r u c t i n g e labora te des igns . He i s a l s o qu i t e d i s t r u s t f u l o f the a b i l i t y of any p a t t e r n to s a t i s f y our c u r i o s i t y about the nature of our e x i s t e n c e . H i s f i c t i o n s are of va lue because they exp lo re the p o s s i b i l i t i e s o f l i v i n g w i t h i n the pa t t e rns we c o n s t r u c t . I n e v a l u a t i n g these v a r i o u s p a t t e r n s , i n c l u d i n g h i s own f i c t i o n s , he seeks to a r r i v e at a proper e s t i m a t i o n o f t h e i r p lace i n our l i v e s . I n the i n t e r e s t o f remaining f a i t h f u l to r e a l i t y , Vonnegut does what many of h i s cha rac te r s f a i l to do: he measures the 5 created f i c t i o n a gainst the apparent f a c t s . He stands w i t h h i s characters amidst the confusion of l i f e and, from h i s place " i n the middest", he seeks to understand what motivates men to create patterns and what a s s i s t a n c e they can be i n l i v i n g s Men i n the middest make considerable imagin-a t i v e investments i n coherent p a t t e r n s which, by the p r o v i s i o n of an end, make p o s s i b l e a s a t i s f y i n g consonance w i t h the o r i g i n s and w i t h the middle... But they a l s o , when awake and sane, f e e l the need to show a marked r e -spect f o r things as they are; so that there i s a r e c u r r i n g need f o r adjustment i n the i n t e r e s t of r e a l i t y as of c o n t r o l . 4 I t i s j u s t t h i s s a n i t y , t h i s necessary acknowledgement of r e a l i t y , t h a t i s l a c k i n g i n the designs of people l i k e Kroner i n P l a y e r Piano (1952) and Senator Rosewater i n God B l e s s You, Mr. Rosewater (1965). Since there i s no s i n g l e , undisputed a u t h o r i t y which can s a n c t i o n the c o r r e c t p a t t e r n s , s o c i e t y f r e q u e n t l y contains numerous competing p a t t e r n s . I t i s i n t o such a s o c i e t y that Vonnegut's p r o t a g o n i s t s enter. Through no choice of t h e i r own they become the i n h e r i t o r s of s o c i e t i e s which they d i d not create and which s a t i s f y none of t h e i r d e s i r e s . I n each n o v e l the p r o t a g o n i s t d i s c o v e r s that he i s i n a world which, l i k e the "canvas" of Rosewater County, already contains "some bold designs".'' P a u l Proteus, Malachi Constant, E l i o t 6 Eosewater, and B i l l y P i l g r i m l i t e r a l l y i n h e r i t t h e i r positions, the f i r s t three from t h e i r fathers, the fourth from h i s father-in-law. Although the paternal heritage i s not as e x p l i c i t i n the other two novels, the p r i n c i p l e of inheritance applies there as w e l l . In each case the inadequacy of the s o c i a l pattern forces the i n d i v i d u a l to withdraw from co-operative involvement i n i t . The protagonists create imaginary schemes which range from the Utopian fantasies of Paul Proteus, to Malachi Con-stant's dream of reunion with his wife and h i s best fr i e n d , to the romantic and e x c l u s i v i s t fantasy of Howard Qampbell, to the saving l i e of Bokonon, to the i n c l u s i v e fantasy of E l i o t Eosewater, to the f i n a l fantasies of transport through Time and Space of B i l l y P i l g r i m . Each of these fantasies, although i n many ways d i f f e r e n t from one another, share the common feature of concern with the construction of a hospitable world. The f a i l u r e to achieve a U top ian society i n r e a l i t y f r e -quently forces the protagonists to share Kilgore Trout's "fantasies of an impossibly hospitable world." 6 This tension between involvement i n society and r e a l i t y and retreat into the world of the imagination or fantasy i s the p r i n c i p a l concern of each of the novels. Each of the six protagonists represents one aspect of t h i s dilemma and, taken together, they are the expression of Vonnegut's desire to mediate between i n d i v i d u a l needs and s o c i a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y and between i l l u s i o n and r e a l i t y . 7 The i l l u s i o n s men c r e a t e p r o v i d e a d e f e n c e a g a i n s t t h e p o w e r o f r e a l i t y . A s s u c h , t h e y a r e "both n e c e s s a r y a n d d a n g e r -o u s , a n d V o n n e g u t i s a w a r e o f t h i s p r o b l e m . The p a r a d o x a t t h e c e n t e r o f B o k o n o n i s t t h o u g h t i s t h e o n e w h i c h V o n n e g u t e x p l o r e s i n e a c h o f h i s n o v e l s : " t h e h e a r t b r e a k i n g n e c e s s i t y o f l y i n g a b o u t r e a l i t y , a n d t h e h e a r t b r e a k i n g i m p o s s i b i l i t y 7 o f l y i n g a b o u t i t . " E a c h o f t h e m a j o r c h a r a c t e r s , b e g i n n i n g w i t h P a u l P r o t e u s a n d c o n c l u d i n g w i t h B i l l y P i l g r i m , a t t e m p t s i n some w a y t o r e s o l v e t h i s p a r a d o x , e a c h w i t h o n l y l i m i t e d s u c c e s s . R e a l i t y c a n , i n d e e d m u s t , b e l i e d a b o u t ; t h e r e i s , h o w e v e r , a d a n g e r t h a t s u c h l i e s may t o t a l l y d i v o r c e t h e i n d i v -i d u a l f r o m r e a l i t y . F i n a l l y , t h e n a t u r e o f r e a l i t y i s s o s t r o n g , p a r t i c u l a r l y i n V o n n e g u t 1 s a p o c a l y p t i c f i c t i o n s , t h a t i t t h r e a t e n s t o o v e r w h e l m a l l a t t e m p t s t o l i e a b o u t i t . L i f e i s a " d u t y - d a n c e w i t h d e a t h , " V o n n e g u t c l a i m s , a n d h e s e e m s t o a g r e e w i t h t h e s t a t e m e n t w h i c h h e q u o t e s f r o m C e l i n e ' s D e a t h o n  t h e I n s t a l l m e n t P l a n i n S l a u g h t e r h o u s e - F i v e , t h a t " T h e t r u t h i s d e a t h . " ® F r a n k K e n n o d e a d d r e s s e s t h e same p r o b l e m i n T h e S e n s e o f a n E n d i n g : F i c t i o n s i n t h e e n d f a i l u n d e r t h e p r e s s u r e o f w h a t J a m e s i s s a i d , i n h i s l a s t w o r d s , t o h a v e c a l l e d ' a t l a s t , t h e r e a l d i s t i n g u i s h e d t h i n g ' . . . . The f r e e i m a g i n a t i o n m a k e s e n d l e s s p l o t s o n r e a l i t y , a t t e m p t s t o m a k e o u r p r o -p o r t i o n a l s c o n v e n i e n t f o r o u r e q u a t i o n s i n ir> 8 e v e r y t h i n g ; our common sense makes us see tha t wi thou t paradox and c o n t r a d i c t i o n our parab les w i l l be too s imple f o r a complex pov-e r t y , too conso l a to ry to c o n s o l e . Our s tudy, l i k e R i c h a r d ' s , must have a c e r t a i n complex-i t y and a sense o f f a i l u r e . ' ' I cannot do i t ; ye t I ' l l hammer i t o u t , ' he says . 9 The i l l u s i o n s are u n s a t i s f a c t o r y , ye t Vonnegut convinces the reader of the a t t r a c t i v e n e s s of these h o p e l e s s l y i d e a l v i s i o n s o f e x i s t e n c e . Whi le the a x nove l s develop t h i s major p reoccupa t ion w i t h e s t a b l i s h i n g a s a t i s f a c t o r y view of the w o r l d , they are not s t a t i c . There i s a n o t i c e a b l e p r o g r e s s i o n from the e a r l i e s t e x p l o r a t i o n s o f P l a y e r Piano to the c u l m i n a t i n g ones of S l augh te rhouse -F ive . Each n o v e l develops i m p l i c a t i o n s o f p rev ious ones, and the examinat ions of the complex r e l a t i o n -s h i p between i l l u s i o n and r e a l i t y become more p e n e t r a t i n g . The development which i s ev ident i n Vonnegut ' s nove l s i s no t , however, a pu re ly l i n e a r one; tha t i s , he does not r e s o l v e the paradox o f hav ing to l i e about r e a l i t y w h i l e f i n d i n g i t imposs ib l e to do so . He i s , i n S laugh te rhouse -F ive , as t r o u b l e d by the paradox as he i s i n any o ther n o v e l . The nove l s develop i n the sense tha t they ana lyze v a r i o u s i m p l i c -a t i o n s f o r those who seek to r e s o l v e t h i s paradox f o r them-s e l v e s . Vonnegut a l s o develops a c l e a r e r awareness o f h i s own r e l a t i o n s h i p to the f i c t i o n s he c r e a t e s . Throughout 9 there i s ev ident the mind behind the n o v e l s , the man who him^ 10 s e l f c rea tes f i c t i o n s and who employs a " c l e r k l y s k e p t i c i s m " about the va lue of f i c t i o n s i n a w o r l d i n which he i s con-f r o n t e d by the immediate pressure of r e a l i t y . In Vonnegut 1 s nove l s r e a l i t y takes the form of massacres l i k e the f i r e -bombing of Dresden and the N a z i a t r o c i t i e s , o f p h y s i c a l and s p i r i t u a l pover ty , s i c k n e s s , and j u s t " p l a i n o l d dea th . " 'Vonnegut 's f i c t i o n s , and p a r t i c u l a r l y h i s l a t e r ones, are marked by t h e i r obsess ion w i t h the imminent a n n i h i l a t i o n of the s p e c i e s . The t w i n spec t res of f r e e z i n g and bu rn ing pe r -vade the l a s t three n o v e l s . Death i s a major fea ture o f the landscape of r e a l i t y and i t i s v e r y d i f f i c u l t f o r Vonnegut 's p r o t a g o n i s t s to avo id t h i s t h rea t to t h e i r e x i s t e n c e . A f e e l i n g o f urgency i s t r a n s m i t t e d through the n o v e l s , p a r t i c -u l a r l y through the compressed and c o n s c i o u s l y d i s j o i n t e d s t y l e of the l a t e r ones. Time, which i s present as a theme i n most o f the n o v e l s , becomes i n c r e a s i n g l y impor tan t . Each of Vonnegut ' s p r o t a g o n i s t s i s l i m i t e d by h i s temporal s i t u a t i o n ; tha t i s , he i s fo rced to view l i f e always from h i s p o s i t i o n " i n the middes t " . He cannot t ranscend the l i m i t a t i o n s o f h i s p o s i t i o n . However, he can cons t ruc t a wor ld i n the i m a g i n a t i o n which i s f ree from the ex igenc i e s of the m a t e r i a l w o r l d . He can p ro j ec t a view of the wor ld i n which there i s no need to search the past f o r evidence o f a meaningful 10 beginning nor probe the uncertain future f o r a s i g n i f i c a n t end to human endeavour. The attempt to provide an imaginary-world i s a feature of the i l l u s i o n s shared by most of Voonnegut's protagonists, but i t i s carried to i t s furthest extreme i n the figure of B i l l y P i l g r i m . Frequently, i t i s expressed as a desire to return to Eden. Such an attempt i s the r e s u l t of a desire to create, i n Richard P o i r i e r ' s phrase, 12 "a world elsewhere", where beginnings are consonant with ends, where human contradictions are resolved, where love i s relieved of i t s need to exploit another human being, where friendship and brotherhood are r e a l i z a b l e and attainable goals, where men can survey "the f r o n t i e r s of t h e i r Utopia"'1-^ and r e a l i z e i n i t s conception a common agreement on aims and programs. This wish to discover an alternative to the unsatis-f y i n g way i n which society organizes i t s e l f , which P o i r i e r i s o l a t e s i n several representative nineteenth-century American writers, can be seen as a feature of the novels of Vonnegut as we l l . It i s Vonnegut's resolve to make of his novels crucibles f o r the mingling of i l l u s i o n and r e a l i t y that marks him as a writer committed to the creation of a possible world without l o s i n g sight of the r e a l one. Vonnegut involves himself increasingly i n the dilemmas which hi s protagonists face. In the e a r l i e r novels he remains safely hidden behind the f i c t i o n s he creates. He stands apart 11 from h i s c r e a t i o n s , and observes from a f a i r l y detached poi n t of view. Although i t would be f o o l i s h to chart novel by novel the movement from j u g g l e r to juggled, something of a progression can be seen. I n the f i r s t two novels, P l a y e r Piano (1952) and The Sirens of T i t a n (1959)» •Vonnegut's d e l i g h t i n c r e a t i n g f i c t i o n s and parodying the f i c t i o n s of others i s evident. In Mother Night (1961) he assumes the task of " e d i t i n g ' 1 the Confessions of Howard Campbell. In the novels which f o l l o w Mother Night the tendency towards i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h h i s characters i n c r e a s e s . Both Jonah of Cat's Cradle and E l i o t Rosewater of God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater are w r i t e r s . Vonnegut's sel f - c o n s c i o u s n e s s about c r e a t i n g f i c t i o n s be-comes i n c r e a s i n g l y important i n h i s novels. He seems to be-come g r a d u a l l y aware that he shares w i t h h i s f i c t i o n a l characters the problems attendant upon the use of f i c t i o n s . F i n a l l y , i n Slaughterhouse-Five, Vonnegut i d e n t i f i e s h i m s e l f as both the j u g g l e r and the juggled. In t h i s n o v e l , more than i n any pre-v i o u s one, he attempts to separate as n e a r l y as he can the f i c t i o n from the f a c t . He appears as a character i n the n o v e l , a f e l l o w t r a v e l l e r w i t h B i l l y P i l g r i m , and the t e l l e r of the t a l e . This novel represents Vonnegut's most seriou s attempt to examine the p o s s i b i l i t i e s of f i c t i o n , to demarcate i t s boundaries, to asses i t s advantages, and to consider i t s disadvantages. 12 Vonnegut 1 s awareness of the numerous resources o f f i c t i o n i s r e f l e c t e d i n h i s repeated re fe rences and a l l u s i o n s to o ther l i t e r a r y f i c t i o n s both a c t u a l and i nven t ed , and i n re fe rences to f a c t u a l m a t e r i a l such as h i s t o r i c a l r e co rds , manuscr ip t s , magazines, and so on, aga in , both a c t u a l and i n v e n t e d . Among the many l i t e r a r y f i c t i o n s which he employs, Vonnegut appears, from the ou t se t , to have been e s p e c i a l l y a t t r a c t e d to the s t o r y o f Jonah and the Whale. Each o f Vonnegut 1 s p r o t a g o n i s t s i s e n l i s t e d i n the s e r v i c e of some agent who r e q u i r e s tha t he 14 d e l i v e r an urgent message o f great impor tance . The man whose a i d i s s o l i c i t e d becomes, l i k e Jonah, the h e l p l e s s v i c t i m of powers beyond h i s c o n t r o l . Vonnegut ' s pe r sona l exper ience as an i n f a n t r y scout i n the war may have impressed upon him how p e r s i s t e n t are pa t t e rns tha t are concerned w i t h the d e l i v e r y o f important messages. Some messages, however, are more impor tant than o t h e r s . Most of Vonnegut ' s p r o t a g o n i s t s are s ea r ch ing f o r the c o r r e c t message to bear to mankind. The desperate search f o r meaning and purpose, so f r e q u e n t l y a theme i n Vonnegut 's n o v e l s , l eads him to a c o n s i d e r a t i o n o f the i m p l i c a t i o n s , of the s to ry of Job and, p a r t i c u l a r l y , to M e l v i l l e ' s t reatment of t h i s s t o r y i n Moby-Dick . I n Oa t ' s  Crad le Vonnegut makes e x p l i c i t h i s concern w i t h M e l v i l l e ' s theme. Al though no o ther American w r i t e r i s a l l u d e d to as 13 s p e c i f i c a l l y as i s M e l v i l l e i n C a t ' s C r a d l e , Vonnegut i s e v i d e n t l y indebted to o thers as w e l l . Mark Twain ' s e x p l o r a t i o n s o f the complex r e l a t i o n s h i p between i l l u s i o n and r e a l i t y , e s p e c i a l l y i n h i s l a t e r works , appear to have had an i n f l u e n c e on Vonnegut. P a r t i c u l a r l y r e l e v a n t are The Mys t e r i ous St ranger and the "dream of d i s a s t e r " t a l e to which Twain gave the work ing t i t l e , "Which Was the Dream?" Twain ' s p reoccupa t ion w i t h the imminent d i s a s t e r tha t cou ld be caused by a huge c o n f l a g r a t i o n p a r a l l e l s a s i m i l a r concern on the pa r t of Vonnegut. There i s a t empta t ion to s a t i s f y the human urge to p e r -ce ive coherent pa t t e rns and to say tha t S laughte rhouse-F ive i s the end o f experiments begun twenty years e a r l i e r w i t h P l a y e r P i a n o . There i s some evidence f o r such a v i e w . The f i n a l n o v e l i s the one Vonnegut f e l t he would w r i t e f i r s t , s i nce i t i s the r epo r t of h i s p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the war. I t took him twenty yea r s , however, d u r i n g which time he wrote nove l s which prepared him f o r the w r i t i n g o f t h i s one n o v e l . A l s o , i n recent i n t e r v i e w s , Vonnegut has expressed d i s s a t i s -f a c t i o n w i t h w r i t i n g . Whether or not Vonnegut cont inues to produce f i c t i o n , S laughte rhouse-F ive i s as convenient and as necessary a p lace to conclude a d i s c u s s i o n of the s i x nove l s as P l a y e r Piano i s to beg in such a d i s c u s s i o n . I t i s on ly through the medium of the i m a g i n a t i o n tha t we can l e s s e n those i r o n f e t t e r s , which we c a l l t r u t h and r e a l i t y , and make ourse lves even p a r t i a l l y s e n s i b l e what p r i s o n e r s we a r e . The New Adam and Eve N a t h a n i e l Hawthorne . . . '.jet t h i s time i t was as though the t r a i n (and not on ly the t r a i n but h i m s e l f , not only h i s v i s i o n which had seen i t and h i s memory which remembered i t but h i s c l o t h e s too , as garments ca r ry back i n t o the c l e an edgeless b lowing of a i r the l i n g e r i n g e f f l uv ium of a s i ck - room or o f death) had brought w i t h i t i n t o the doomed w i l d e r n e s s even before the a c t u a l axe the shadow and por ten t of the new m i l l not even f i n i s h e d ye t and the r a i l s and t i e s which were not even l a i d ; and he knew now what he had known as soon as he saw Hoke ' s t h i s morning but had not ye t thought i n t o words: why Major de Spain had not come back, and tha t a f t e r h i s time he h i m s e l f , who had to see i t one time o ther , would r e t u r n no more. The Bear W i l l i a m Fau lkne r CHAPTER I PLAYER PIANO Vonnegut's f i r s t n o v e l , P l a y e r Piano (1952), i s set i n the f u t u r e and describes a t o t a l l y automated s o c i e t y , the symbol of which i s a pl a y e r piano. This device f o r producing music a u t o m a t i c a l l y and without human i n t e r v e n t i o n i s an appropriate symbol f o r a novel whose c e n t r a l concern i s the d e s i r e to create e f f i c i e n t p a t t e r n s . I l i u m i s the r e s u l t of one such attempt to create an organized s o c i e t y based upon the e f f i c i e n c y and p r e d i c t a b i l i t y of machines which operate i n the same manner as a p l a y e r piano. Neatly subdivided i n t o three s e c t i o n s , I l i u m resembles a smoothly oper a t i n g machine. This s o c i e t y , which i s the r e s u l t of an emphasis on o r g a n i z a t i o n and e f f i c i e n c y , i s p e r f e c t i n every way except one: there i s no place i n such a system f o r human beings. I r o n i c a l l y , the men who have created such a dehumanized s o c i e t y become the v i c t i m s of t h e i r own p a t t e r n s . Through t h e i r p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the c o n s t r u c t i o n of a m a t e r i a l i s t i c Utopia, - 14 15 the i n h a b i t a n t s o f the Homestead s e c t i o n of I l i u m have brought about t h e i r enslavement and have condemned themselves to l i v e h o p e l e s s l y uneven t fu l and mediocre e x i s t e n c e s . F r u s t r a t i o n l eads these people to cons t ruc t f a n t a s i e s f o r themselves which a l l o w them some measure of escape from r e a l i t y . I n t h i s respec t the Homesteaders a n t i c i p a t e cha rac te r s i n l a t e r n o v e l s , p a r t i c u l a r l y the hap less San Lorenzans i n C a t ' s C r a d l e . R e l i a n c e upon f i c t i o n s i s not r e s t r i c t e d to the Home-s teaders a l o n e . The managers and engineers r e l y upon the f i c t i o n about the S p i r i t o f the Meadows as the opposing group o f r e v o l u t i o n a r i e s r e l y upon the f i c t i o n about the Ghost S h i r t S o c i e t y . The p r o t a g o n i s t , P a u l P ro t eus , i s i n v o l v e d i n n e a r l y a l l o f these f i c t i o n s . As the manager of the I l i u m Works, Pro teus p a r t i c i p a t e s i n the games a t the Meadows. As a sympathizer w i t h the r e v o l u t i o n a r i e s , he e v e n t u a l l y becomes i n v o l v e d i n the meetings of the Ghost S h i r t S o c i e t y . As an i n d i v i d u a l , he shares many of the p e r -sona l f a n t a s i e s of the Homesteaders. As h i s name suggests , P a u l Pro teus represen ts the p o t e n t i a l f o r change. L i k e h i s namesake, he a l s o has the a b i l i t y to a l t e r h i s shape e a s i l y , but t h i s proves to be both a s t r eng th and a weakness. * Al though he r ecogn izes the need f o r change, he has no coherent p roposa l s f o r the 16 f u t u r e . A t one p o i n t i n the n o v e l , he r e f l e c t s " tha t the "big 2 t r o u b l e , r e a l l y , was f i n d i n g something to b e l i e v e i n " . He does have some vaguely formed dreams o f a U t o p i a but , because he i s committed to no p a r t i c u l a r program, he i s i n a p o s i t i o n to be manipula ted by o t h e r s . Pro teus i s caught i n a p a t t e r n which i s not o f h i s making. He has w e a l t h and s e c u r i t y as w e l l as the promise of cont inued advancement i n a s o c i e t y tha t seems to w i l l h i s success de sp i t e h i s pe r sona l r e l u c t a n c e to advance h i m s e l f . As the son of the founder o f the c o r p o r a t i o n which governs I l i u m , Proteus i s expected to cont inue the work of h i s f a t h e r . P r o t e u s ' d i s -s a t i s f a c t i o n i n the f i r s t pa r t of the n o v e l , h i s r e l u c t a n c e to h e a r t i l y endorse the corpora te dream of a u t o p i a , i n i t i a t e s the t e n s i o n upon which the n o v e l i s b u i l t . Vonnegut demonstrates the s i m i l a r i t y between P ro t eus ' predicament — he i s conf ined by the I l i u m Works and the massive c o r p o r a t i o n of which i t i s a pa r t — and tha t o f the cat who i n a d v e r t e n t l y s t r ays i n t o the Works i n one of the n o v e l ' s e a r l y scenes. The cat responds to the f a c t o r y w i t h the u n i n h i b i t e d i n s t i n c t of an an imal r e c o i l i n g i n defense aga ins t the e n g u l f i n g power of the machinery. The c a t ' s r e b e l l i o n and the f u t i l i t y o f h i s at tempts to stand and f i g h t the machine or to f l e e from i t p r e f i g u r e P ro teus ' l a t e r 17 r e b e l l i o n . The cat f l e e s from the Works but , i n the attempt to escape, i s e l e c t r o c u t e d . "She dropped to the a spha l t — dead and smoking, but ou t s ide ' ' (21). Whi le Pro teus sees through the t h i n l y v e i l e d power s t r u c t u r e of the Works and the network o f people who perpetuate i t s dominance, and w h i l e he r ecogn izes the need to be f ree o f i t s c o n t r o l , h i s problem i s j u s t tha t of the c a t : how to f i n d one 's way ou t s ide wi thou t ending up "dead and smoking". P ro t eus ' movements are conf ined s y m b o l i c a l l y by the p r o -t e c t i v e fence which enc loses the Works. In the f i n a l scenes of the n o v e l , he i s l i t e r a l l y conf ined by the w a l l of govern-ment t roops which surrounds I l i u m . Pro teus i s a l s o i n s i d e i n another r e spec t ; he responds to the system from w i t h i n as the Shah of Bratpuhr responds from w i t h o u t . The j u x t a p o s i t i o n of the s t o r i e s o f these two men forms one of the p r i n c i p a l t e c h n i c a l dev ices of the n o v e l . Al though Pro teus and the Shah never meet, t h e i r s i t u a t i o n s complement one another . J u s t as Pro teus stands between the opposing f i g u r e s of Kroner and P i n n e r t y , so the Shah stands between two i n t e r p r e t e r s , Ha lya rd and h i s nephew, Miasma Khashdrahr . The s t r u c t u r a l device of o f f e r i n g s e v e r a l v e r s i o n s o f a s i m i l a r s i t u a t i o n > i n t h i s as w e l l as i n o ther n o v e l s , p o i n t s to Vonnegut ' s concern w i t h the compe t i t i on between systems. Pro teus 18 and the Shah are i n t e r e s t e d i n change and are f u r t h e r i n t e r e s t e d i n f i n d i n g a system or p a t t e r n which can a s s i s t them i n t h e i r d e s i r e to b r i n g about t h i s change. Pro teus sees c l e a r l y what h i s f e l l o w workers , w i t h the excep t ion o f a few d i s s i d e n t s , e i t h e r do not see or are not w i l l i n g to see u n t i l i t i s too l a t e to save themselves . The corpora te dream of t o t a l e f f i c i e n c y (which by a p e c u l i a r l o g i c somehow leads to t o t a l happiness) means a l s o t o t a l automat ion. The r a p i d i t y w i t h which t h i s enslavement has occurred i s suggested by the an t iqua ted s e c t i o n of one b u i l d i n g which was, i n the not too d i s t a n t pas t , Thomas E d i s o n ' s workshop. P r o t e u s ' s p e c u l a t i o n concern ing E d i s o n 1 s p o s s i b l e r e a c t i o n to h i s converted workshop leads him to the c o n c l u s i o n tha t E d i s o n would not be g r e a t l y s u r p r i s e d by the machines, most of which e x i s t e d , a l though i n more rudimentary form, d u r i n g h i s own l i f e t i m e . The c o n c l u s i o n which Proteus a r r i v e s at i s an impor tant one because i t p o i n t s to an e r r o r the r e v o l u t i o n a r i e s make a t the end of the n o v e l . The machines are not of themselves e v i l ; i t i s the purpose f o r which the machines are used which i s u n d e s i r a b l e . Not the m a t e r i a l s , but the p a t t e r n , i s inadequate . The major fea tu re of l i f e i n the Homestead (and, indeed , on the s ide of the r i v e r i n h a b i t e d by the managers and engineers) i s c o n t r o l . In ways both d i r e c t and cunn ing ly i n d i r e c t the hap less v i c t i m s are manipu la ted . They are 19 impressed i n t o e i t h e r o f two m i l i t i a groups — the Reeks and Wrecks, or the Army. There i s no c h o i c e , i n e f f e c t , s ince the ' ' s o l d i e r s " d r i l l w i t h wooden r i f l e s i n an obso le te d r i l l , no more nor l e s s r i d i c u l o u s than the road c o n s t r u c t i o n work under-taken by the Reeks and Wrecks. The s o l d i e r s need no r e a l guns s ince the present o r g a n i z a t i o n of s o c i e t y has rendered war an anachronism. These meaningless e x e r c i s e s p rov ide examples o f the nature of l i f e i n the Homestead. Th i s l i f e i s based upon forms tha t have no meaningful substance. Whi le the modes of escape are seemingly v a r i o u s , they a l l po in t to one end, tha t i s , the attempt to f l e e from the remorse less pressure of f u t i l i t y and l a c k of purpose. Some escape through barroom f a n t a s i e s ; o the r s , l i k e the young man who i n t e r p r e t s music by s i g h t o n l y , d i s t i n g u i s h themselves through a s i n g u l a r achievement (a l though the s k i l l s are themselves very m i n o r ) . S t i l l o thers feed t h e i r imag ina t ions w i t h dreams of what they w i l l do when t h e i r years of s e r v i c e are over . Some, l i k e the man who s p i t s i n H a l y a r d ' s f ace , s a t i s f y themselves w i t h i n -s i g n i f i c a n t a c t s of d e f i a n c e . One of the Homesteaders, Edgar R. B . Hagstrohm compensates f o r h i s uneven t fu l and s u p e r f i c i a l l y happy ex i s t ence by engag-i n g h i s i m a g i n a t i o n w i t h f a n t a s i e s which are i m i t a t i o n s o f those 3 s u p p l i e d by h i s namesake, Edgar R ice Burroughs. H i s i n a b i l i t y 20 to s a t i s f y h i s most b a s i c d e s i r e s i n h i s f u l l y automated home l eads him to e n t e r t a i n g rea te r and g rea te r f a n t a s i e s o f escape to some p r i m i t i v e way of l i f e , but when he does attempt to r e j e c t c i v i l i z a t i o n and take h i s ''mate" away to the " j u n g l e " the scene ends i n d i s m a l f a i l u r e . H i s e x p l o i t s become a parody o f those o f h i s hero , Tarzan . Re jec ted , he runs mad and naked i n t o the " w i l d e r n e s s " which i s , a p p r o p r i a t e l y , a s m a l l b i r d sanctuary to the r e a r o f the hous ing development. Hagstrohm's dilemma i s shared by s e v e r a l other of Vonnegut ' s cha r a c t e r s , i n c l u d i n g P a u l P r o t e u s . The c o n f l i c t between h i s l o y a l t y to h i s w i f e and h i s a t t r a c t i o n to the widow has l e s s to do w i t h a d e s i r e f o r a new l o v e r than w i t h a d e s i r e f o r a new l i f e . He represen t s an acute s p l i t between the w o r l d of i l l u s i o n and the w o r l d of r e a l i t y . In such an example, Vonnegut p o i n t s to the obvious r i s k s i n c u r r e d when i l l u s i o n i s s u b s t i t u t e d f o r r e a l i t y . One obvious problem f a c i n g Hagstrohm i s tha t h i s i l l u s o r y w o r l d i s i l l - d e f i n e d and w i l d l y i m p r a c t -i c a l . There i s a c e r t a i n s i m i l a r i t y between Hagstrohm's abor ted e f f o r t to escape to the p r i m i t i v e w i l d e r n e s s and P r o t e u s ' attempt to convince h i s w i f e to r e j e c t t h e i r a r t i f i -c i a l s o c i a l p o s i t i o n and move to the farmhouse on the Home-stead s ide o f the r i v e r , ( A n i t a p r o p e r l y belongs w i t h the Homesteaders and Proteus has h i s i n f l u e n t i a l p o s i t i o n as much by i n h e r i t a n c e as by m e r i t ) P ro t eus ' dream of a p o s s i b l e w o r l d 21 of i d y l l i c happiness i s l i k e w i s e r u i n e d , f i r s t by h i s w i f e ' s adamant and h y s t e r i c a l r e f u s a l to j o i n him, and l a t e r by the r e a l i z a t i o n tha t the a l t e r n a t i v e to p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n s o c i e t y e x i s t e d on ly i n h i s i m a g i n a t i o n . P ro t eus , l i k e genera t ions o f Americans before him, dreams o f "a wor ld elsewhere" i n which a l l the con t ingenc i e s o f modern l i f e are r ep l aced by the n a t u r a l rhythm of the seasons and the s i m p l i c i t y o f n a t u r e . He imagines how peacefu l i t would be "To l i v e i n a house by the s ide of a r o a d . . . " (114) . L a t e r , when he formulates h i s dream more c l e a r l y , h i s thoughts move e f f o r t l e s s l y " i n t o the fan tasy of the new, good l i f e ahead o f h im . Somewhere, ou t s ide o f s o c i e t y , there was a p lace f o r a man — a man and wi fe — to l i v e h e a r t i l y and b l a m e l e s s l y , n a t u r a l l y , by hands and w i t s " (143) . S h o r t l y t h e r e a f t e r , the i d e a o f moving to such a p lace becomes even more a t t r a c t i v e , e s p e c i a l l y s ince the a l t e r n a t i v e i s the annual v i s i t to the Meadows, the symbol of an u n n a t u r a l h a b i t a t i o n . " I t was a comple te ly i s o l a t e d backwater , cut o f f from the b o i l i n g r a p i d s of h i s t o r y , s o c i e t y , and the economy. T imeless" (147) . The determined e f f o r t to escape from the cu r r en t s of h i s t o r y , s o c i e t y and Time, which Pro teus shares w i t h numerous o ther American f i c t i o n a l heroes , i s one shared by Vonnegut ' s 4 other p r o t a g o n i s t s . Por Proteus the dream of removal from the power of a l l 22 f o r c e s of change succumbs to the pressure of r e a l i t y . When he comes i n contac t w i t h the s o i l and the farm hand who i s to a s s i s t him, Pro teus i s f o r ced to acknowledge the d i f f e r e n c e between h i s former i d e a l i z e d n o t i o n o f the farm and i t s c a r e -t ake r and h i s present c o n f r o n t a t i o n w i t h them as p o s s i b l y h i s on ly r e a l i t y . A s i m i l a r c l a s h between the i d e a l and the r e a l occurs when Pro teus compares h i s i m a g i n a t i v e wor ld of bo ld sea heroes , noble savages, and i n t r e p i d p ioneers w i t h h i s f u t i l e s t rugg le aga ins t s o c i e t y . The f i c t i o n a l wor ld which so a t t r a c t s Pro teus a l l o w s i t s heroes frequent o p p o r t u n i t i e s to engage i n meaningfu l , i n d i v i d u a l a c t s . I n c o n t r a s t , h i s r o l e as manager of the Works enables him to be merely a " cap t a in 1 1 a t the Meadows and h i s a c t i o n s are a pa r t of a comprehensive and p r e -arranged p a t t e r n . S i m i l a r l y , h i s l a t e r p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the r e v o l u t i o n has l i t t l e to do w i t h h i s f a n t a s i e s of courageous, independent a c t i o n . P ro t eus ' n o s t a l g i a f o r an i d y l l i c past i s one shared by many Amer icans . In a c l e v e r l y presented scene, the loquac ious barber , Homer B i g l e y , e x p l a i n s to the Shah who cannot under-s tand a word he i s s a y i n g : You know, used to be you cou ld be a p ioneer and go out and l e a d the people and make t r a i l s and chase away Indians and a l l t h a t . Or you could be a cowboy, or a l l k i n d s of dangerous t h ings and s t i l l be a dumb b a s t a r d . (198) 23 The scene i s i r o n i c , f o r i f the Shah were ab le to understand the barber , he would l e a r n more o f the indigenous nature of the American cha rac te r and i t s d e s i r e s than H a l y a r d has t o l d h im. The barberc'.-.s speech i n d i c a t e s a l s o t h a t , p r i o r to the advent of the automated s o c i e t y , a man could perform d i s t i n g u i -sh ing ac t s even though h i s educa t ion and c a p a c i t y f o r under-s tand ing were l i m i t e d , but i n the present c i rcumstance the on ly t rue measure of a man's wor th i s h i s i n t e l l e c t . Those who owe t h e i r present p o s i t i o n s to the b a t t e r y of i n t e l l i g e n c e t e s t s they have succeeded i n pa s s ing have, l i k e H a l y a r d , a great need to support the system which i s the j u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r t h e i r p o s i t i o n , but there i s cons ide rab l e danger i n l i v i n g on such an a b s t r a c t l e v e l , as Ha lya rd d i s c o v e r s . He too e a s i l y becomes a v i c t i m of the system he supports wholehear ted ly and proves tha t the system i s , i n the f i n a l a n a l y s i s , o f more importance than the numbers i t i s designed to se rve . The attempt to possess America through the f i c t i o n a l r e c r e a t i o n of i t s h i s t o r i c heroes i s not l i m i t e d to a few i n d i v i d u a l s . The upper s t r a t a of s o c i e t y i n I l i u m are a l s o concerned w i t h u s i n g these h i s t o r i c a l m a t e r i a l s . In a comic scene Vonnegut de sc r ibes the managers and engineers who r e t i r e to the Meadows f o r the enactment of t h e i r annual 24 i n i t i a t i o n i n t o the " S p i r i t of the Meadows". A c t u a l l y and s y m b o l i c a l l y , the men separate from t h e i r wives to engage i n t h i s mascul ine endeavour whose c e n t r a l episode i n v o l v e s the oak and the i n i t i a t i o n r i t e by which a l l the "braves" , under the w a t c h f u l eyes of the " c h i e f s " , pledge a l l e g i a n c e to the S p i r i t . The man charged w i t h the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of conduct ing the ceremony i s h i m s e l f a p r o f e s s i o n a l a c t o r h i r e d and pa in t ed bronze f o r the o c c a s i o n . He speaks wi thou t remorse of h i s past and the displacement of h i s people by the whi te man who d i spa tched them e x p e d i t i o u s l y but , appa ren t ly , conven ien t l y to the Happy Hunt ing Ground. The " I n d i a n " c a r e f u l l y avoids any mention of a s t rugg le between the competing r ace s , an ove r -s ight : ; . tha t i s important i n r e l a t i o n to the s t r ugg l e which ensues l a t e r between the "whi te man" and the members o f the Ghost S h i r t S o c i e t y , i t s e l f an o l d I n d i a n r e v o l u t i o n a r y o r g a n i z a t i o n . S i g n i f i c a n t l y , the a c t o r i s an ag ing f i g u r e h i m s e l f and p roo f of the n e c e s s i t y f o r d i s g u i s e and pretense a t the Meadows, tha t " v i t a l symbol" of the o r g a n i z a t i o n . Vonnegut seems to suggest through the example of the bronze a c t o r tha t American h i s t o r y i s a process of conquest and de fea t . The whi t e man was able to c o n t r o l the I n d i a n and, by so do ing , depr ive him of h i s pa t r imony. Th i s v i c t o r y by the whi te man has l e d to a f u r t h e r conquest and defeat — only t h i s time 25 the v i c t i m i s the whi te man and the v i c t o r i s the machine. The problem, as f a r as the whi te man's c i v i l i z a t i o n i s concerned, a r i s e s from the u n w i l l i n g n e s s of men l i k e Kroner and Gelhorne (whose vague presence i n the n o v e l makes him an appropr i a t e symbol of a u t h o r i t y ) to accept a n y t h i n g tha t c o n t r a d i c t s t h e i r ' b e l i e f tha t they are c r e a t i n g the bes t p o s s i b l e fu tu re f o r t h e i r s o c i e t y . The i r o p t i m i s t i c b e l i e f i n the p e r f e c t i o n of t h e i r w o r l d through the improvement of the means o f p r o d u c t i o n c o n t r a d i c t s the f a c t s of the r e a l w o r l d , but t h e i r a b i l i t y to manipulate c e r t a i n pa t t e rns and f i c t i o n s to s u i t t h e i r own ends ensures tha t t h e i r v iew w i l l predominate. Th i s i s an i d e a to which Vonnegut r e t u r n s i n o ther nove l s i n which he exp lores the d i v e r s e methods tha t people employ f o r i n t e r p r e t i n g and o r d e r i n g expe r i ence . As the scene i n the Meadows u n f o l d s , the great chasm which separates the r i t u a l from the a c t u a l i t y of the r e - e n a c t -ment widens . Vonnegut ' s use of i r o n i c j u x t a p o s i t i o n renders the e n t i r e a f f a i r l u d i c r o u s . The "braves" pledge a l l e g i a n c e to the S p i r i t , which i s a n a t u r a l phenomonon, w h i l e they are guided by the v o i c e o f the loudspeaker , tha t " s p i r i t " to which they respond a u t o m a t i c a l l y l i k e robots to e l e c t r i c a l impu l ses : "But the s p i r i t of my people l i v e s on, the S p i r i t of the Meadows. I t i s eve ry-where: i n the wind through the p i n e s , i n the l a p p i n g of the great blue water , i n 26 the w h i r o f an eagle wing , i n the growl of summer thunder . No man can c a l l t h i s i s l a n d h i s , no man can be happy here , who does not harken to the S p i r i t , who does not take the Oath of the S p i r i t . ' 1 There was the c l a t t e r i n g of the s w i t c h i n the loudspeaker a g a i n . "Young braves a t the Meadows f o r the f i r s t t ime step f o r w a r d , " s a i d a p o n t i f i c a l v o i c e , not tha t of the u s u a l d rove r . (213) The j u x t a p o s i t i o n o f the n a t u r a l , spontaneous exp re s s ion and the c o n t r i v e d , mechanica l exp re s s ion occurs a l s o i n the image of the eagle which i s g ro tesque ly metamorphosed by t echno logy : "By the l a p p i n g of the great b lue water , by the w h i r of the eagle wing—" The Old Man's plane had skated across the water to the shore on the other s ide o f the i s l a n d and was r o a r i n g i t s engines as i t inched up a ramp onto l a n d . "By the growl of the summer thunder ," s a i d the I n d i a n . (214) The new eagle of the Meadows i s the a i r p l a n e which c a r r i e s Gelhorne . I n i t s sound and imposing presence the machine commands a t t e n t i o n and obedience. The neophytes i n t h i s scene are exhorted to work " t i r e -l e s s l y f o r a b e t t e r w o r l d " (214) , e x a c t l y as they had been encouraged to do by means o f the d i d a c t i c pas s ion p l ay they viewed e a r l i e r . The e n t i r e l i f e at the Meadows, the s p i r i t u a l r e s o r t f o r the automatons who p a r t i c i p a t e , i s a l s o a m i c r o -cosm of the wor ld o u t s i d e . Throughout the day the l i v e s of these men are r i g i d l y c o n t r o l l e d . Loudspeakers i s s u e commands 27 r e g u l a r l y ; n o t i c e s are tacked up i n conspicuous p l a c e s ; and games, l e c t u r e s and p l ays are a l l exempla designed f o r e d i f i c a t i o n . Pro teus has l ea rned to see through the s e l f - d e l u s i o n and h y p o c r i s y of "the men at the head of the p r o c e s s i o n of c i v i l i z -a t i o n , the openers of doors to undreamed-of new wor lds" (212). F r u s t r a t i o n , a r i s i n g from h i s a b i l i t y to d i s c r e d i t one dream of a u t o p i a wi thou t be ing ab le to conceive of an a l t e r n a t i v e , leads Proteus to cons ide r s u i c i d e . He has reached an impasse; the dream of r u s t i c s i m p l i c i t y has van i shed , and he i s l e f t w i t h the t a r n i s h e d dream of progress as i t i s mapped out by Gelhorne . P ro t eus 1 con templa t ion of s u i c i d e p r e f i g u r e s s i m i l a r p r e -occupat ions of Howard Campbel l , Jonah, E l i o t Rosewater, and B i l l y P i l g r i m , a l l of whom at one time or another weary o f the "duty-dance w i t h death" and seek to have done. Pro teus confronts h i s own l o n e l i n e s s and i s o l a t i o n as he stands s y m b o l i c a l l y where, e a r l i e r , i n a mood of drunken f r a t e r n i t y , he had asked a l l I l i u m i t e s to meet — i n the center of the b r idge s e p a r a t i n g the p a r t s of I l i u m . Al though he i s a man wi thou t a cause of h i s own, he f i n d s tha t h i s a s s i s t a n c e i s s o l i c i t e d by the two opposing f o r c e s , the o r g a n i z a t i o n l e d by Gelhorne and the Ghost S h i r t S o c i e t y l e d by Lasher and F i n n e r t y . Gelhorne o f f e r s Pro teus the same 28 r o l e which Rumfiord o f f e r s to M a l a c h i Constant and C o l o n e l W i r t a n e n o f f e r s to Howard Campbel l . He i s e n l i s t e d as a double agent and i f he does h i s work w e l l he w i l l be accused of t r eason by both s i d e s . To demonstrate now e f f e c t i v e l y such a p r i n c i p l e opera tes , Pro teus i s shamefully e x p e l l e d from the Meadows. Avoided and r e v i l e d , he makes h i s way from the Meadows, by way of the women's camp where h i s wi fe r e j e c t s h im, to h i s home i n I l i u m . P ro t eus ' sma l l c o n s o l a t i o n i s tha t he, of h i s own free w i l l , q u i t , but the a b i l i t y of the company to create and des t roy i s g rea te r than any r e s o l v e Pro teus can make. Pro teus i s f o r ced to accept a r o l e i n a drama which , l i k e the p l a y performed at the Meadows, i s pa r t of a l a r g e r d e s i g n . Th i s p a r t i c u l a r theme i s one to which Vonnegut r e t u rn s i n The S i r e n s of T i t a n and Mother N i g h t . On the o ther s i d e , P ro t eus ' a i d i s sought by the r e v o l u t i o n a r i e s . F i n n e r t y ' s program seems to o f f e r p o s i t i v e a c t i o n aga ins t the w o r l d b u i l t and supported by the Works. A l though Pro teus i n s t i n c t i v e l y f e e l s more sympathet ic towards F i n n e r t y ' s cause than towards G e l h o r n e ' s , h i s en l i s tmen t i n t h e i r ranks i s not a mat ter of f ree c h o i c e . He i s drugged and kidnapped. Rather than t r e a t him as an i n d i v i d u a l , the l e ade r s of the Ghost S h i r t S o c i e t y p re f e r to u t i l i z e h i s i n f l u e n c e as a symbol of power and a u t h o r i t y . L i k e M a l a c h i 29 Constant a f t e r him, Pro teus i s manipula ted ; a r o l e i s ass igned him and, l i k e Constant , he has no c o n t r o l over what he says or does. As i t i s ordained tha t Constant w i l l i t e r a t e c e r t a i n p r o p h e t i c words su p p l i ed to him by some mys te r ious source , so i t i s ordained by the l eade r s of the r e v o l u t i o n tha t Proteus w i l l i s sue the p roc lama t ion which they w r i t e f o r h im. Al though the p a r a l l e l i s never made e x p l i c i t i n the n o v e l , i t i s c l e a r tha t P ro t eus , l i k e h i s counte rpar t s i n the l a t e r n o v e l s , resembles the B i b l i c a l cha rac t e r , Jonah. Pro teus and Jonah are both fo rced by a s u p e r i o r power to d e l i v e r a message of cons ide rab le impor tance . The d i f f e r e n c e between Proteus and Jonah i s tha t the l a t t e r has only one message to d e l i v e r , w h i l e Proteus i s i n v o l v e d i n a compe t i t i on between two powers. In Yormegut 's v e r s i o n there i s no s i n g l e au then t i c p l a n , j u s t as there i s not one message, but many, each w i t h c o n f l i c t i n g i n s t r u c t i o n s . There i s no d i v i n e s a n c t i o n f o r the pa t t e rns of e i t h e r of the opposing groups, a l though each ac t s as i f there were some s p e c i a l ordinance or precedent e s t a b l i s h i n g the a u t h o r i t y of i t s p o s i t i o n . P ro teus , the v i c t i m of these c o n f l i c t i n g schemes, seeks to e s t a b l i s h an independent course of a c t i o n f o r h i m s e l f . As the events beg inn ing w i t h h i s e x p u l s i o n from the Meadows demonstrate, however, he i s capable of l i t t l e independent 30 a c t i o n . Dur ing the t r i a l he d i s c o v e r s t h a t , bes ides hav ing no c o n t r o l over h i s e x t e r n a l movements, he has l i t t l e c o n t r o l over the pe r sona l m o t i v a t i o n s behind h i s a c t i o n s : H i s own m o t i v a t i o n was obscure, the cas t was unwie ldy , and, P a u l r e a l i z e d , the denouement was s t i l l to come. Through a l l h i s adventures , he had been a d e r e l i c t , tossed t h i s way, then t h a t . He had ye t to l a y a f i r m hand on the t i l l e r . (298) Proteus i s absolved from judgement by the outbreak of the r e v o l u t i o n and i s l e f t u n c e r t a i n about whether the m o t i v a t i o n s f o r h i s r e b e l l i o n o r i g i n a t e w i t h a pe r sona l ha t red o f h i s f a t h e r or w i t h a d e s i r e f o r improving the c o n d i t i o n s of the people . L i k e Constant and Campbell a f t e r h im, Proteus i s accused of cr imes f o r which he i s never complete ly punished. P ro t eus ' m o t i v a t i o n s are obscured by yet another impulse w i t h i n him which he shares w i t h a number of o ther p r o t a g o n i s t s i n Vonnegut 's f i c t i o n . In h i s s e l f l e s s d e d i c a t i o n to the cause of the common c i t i z e n Pro teus i s ve ry n e a r l y a s a i n t , and the t empta t ion to i d e n t i f y h i m s e l f w i t h C h r i s t i s at t imes qu i t e s t r o n g . Th i s impulse i s desc r ibed i n a scene i n which a speech, the nugget of the whole even ing ' s nebulous impres s ions , com-posed i t s e l f i n P a u l ' s mind, took on form and p o l i s h i n s p i r a t i o n a l l y , w i t h no consc ious e f f o r t on h i s p a r t . He had only to d e l i v e r i t to make h i m s e l f the new Mess iah and I l i u m the new Eden. 31 The f i r s t l i n e was a t h i s l i p s , t e a r i n g a t them to be set f r e e . (105) I n d e d i c a t i n g h i m s e l f to h i s U top i an i d e a l s , Proteus runs the r i s k of confus ing h i s human r o l e w i t h tha t of the s a i n t . Th i s theme r e c e i v e s much f u l l e r treatment i n a n o v e l about a man ded ica ted to the es tab l i shment of a pa rad i se on ea r th — God B l e s s You, M r . Rosewater. The r e v o l u t i o n a r i e s a c t u a l l y encourage such an i d e n t i -f i c a t i o n on the par t of Proteus s ince they p l a n to use him as a symbol o f s a l v a t i o n . Lasher , whose penchant f o r symbolic r e l i g i o u s spec t ac l e s p r e f i g u r e s a s i m i l a r concern by Rumfoord i n The S i r ens of T i t a n , p lans to use Proteus i n much the same way tha t Rumfoord uses Constant : " A l l r i g h t , " s a i d Lasher , h i s v o i c e low. " I n the pas t , i n a s i t u a t i o n l i k e t h i s , i f Mess iahs showed up w i t h c r e d i b l e , dramat ic messages of hope, they o f ten se t o f f powerful p h y s i c a l and s p i r i t u a l r e v o l u t i o n s i n the face of t e r r i f i c odds. I f a Mess iah shows up now w i t h a good, s o l i d , s t a r t l i n g message, and i f he keeps out of the hands of the p o l i c e , he can set o f f a r e v o l u t i o n — maybe one b i g enough to t&ke the w o r l d away from the machines, Doctor , and g ive i t back to the p e o p l e . " (275) The shal lowness of t h i s view i s exposed by Vonnegut through the very language which Lasher employs. L i k e those i n c o n t r o l 32 of the government, Lasher i s i n t e r e s t e d i n dramatic or staged performances and, f o r a m i n i s t e r , h i s references to a Messiah who "shows up" seem to have more to do w i t h the form than w i t h the content of the message. Lasher sees the n e c e s s i t y fo r redeeming a wor ld which has f a l l e n into, the s i n o f c a r e -l e s s d i s r e g a r d fo r human l i f e . In d e a l i n g w i t h t h i s problem he rec rea tes an h i s t o r i c a l f i c t i o n i n order tha t t h i s redemp-t i o n might be ach ieved . The r e v o l u t i o n a r y program which appeals to so many as f i c t i o n , f a i l s when put to the t e s t i n r e a l i t y . The r e v o l u -t i o n a r i e s have no c o n s t r u c t i v e p l a n w i t h which to rep lace the former d e s i g n . The r e b e l l i o n which i s t o t a l l y d e s t r u c t i v e of every v e s t i g e o f automation i s , u l t i m a t e l y , s e l f - d e s t r u c t i v e because, i n t h e i r f r a n t i c e f f o r t to f ree themselves , the insurgen t s des t roy e v e r y t h i n g . In the l a t e stages of the r e v o l u t i o n vonNeumann p o i n t s out tha t the d e s t r u c t i o n has a l l the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of a l y n c h i n g , but on a s ca l e tha t makes i t appear more l i k e genocide . Amidst the great con fus ion , the remains of o r g a n i z a t i o n and l e a d e r s h i p w i t h i n the Ghost S h i r t Soc i e ty are des t royed a long w i t h the machines. Vonnegut 's i n s t i n c t i v e d i s t r u s t o f groups which i n v i t e the support o f f r u s t r a t e d i n d i v i d u a l s i s evident i n h i s d e s c r i p t i o n of the progress o f the r e v o l u t i o n i n I l i u m . In nea r ly every nove l he s a t i r i z e s the j o i n e r s and the b i z a r r e groups which they seek to i d e n t i f y w i t h . 33 The l e a d e r s o f the movement a r e reduced t o i n c a p a c i t a t e d s p e c t a t o r s and P r o t e u s i s h i m s e l f f o r c e d t o assume t h e r o l e o f o b s e r v e r . P r o t e u s ' o ptimism, b o r n o f the dream o f c r e a t i n g a h a p p i e r e x i s t e n c e f o r h i m s e l f and o t h e r s , i s l o n g i n d y i n g d e s p i t e the many s e t b a c k s i t r e c e i v e s . Even amidst t h e w i l l f u l and t o t a l d e s t r u c t i o n o f I l i u m , P r o t e u s hopes t h a t something can be s a l v a g e d , t h a t some l e s s o n can be l e a r n e d . These modern-day T r o j a n s , however, a r e d e s t i n e d t o s u f f e r d e f e a t a t t h e hands o f t h e s u r r o u n d i n g f o r c e s o f t h e go v e r n -ment and, l i k e men o f the p a s t , a r e d e s t i n e d t o l e a r n n o t h i n g from t h e i r e x p e r i e n c e . P r o t e u s s u g g e s t s t h a t everyone b e g i n t o work w i t h the p r i m i t i v e m a t e r i a l a t hand. He b e l i e v e s t h a t by w o r k i n g w i t h t h e i r hands i n the s o i l and by suc c e e d -i n g , the r e v o l u t i o n a r i e s can prove t h a t t h e i r r e b e l l i o n i s not i n v a i n . The k i n d o f s o c i e t y t h a t P r o t e u s e n v i s i o n s , however, i s , l i k e h i s f o r m e r dream o f r e t i r i n g t o h i s farmhouse, t h e p r o d u c t o f h i s i m a g i n a t i o n . The t r u t h i s t h a t the men who sought d e s p e r a t e l y t o f r e e t h e m s e l v e s from t h e bondage o f t h e machines, p r e f e r t o t i n k e r w i t h the Orange-0 machine r a t h e r t h a n engage i n p r a c t i c a l r e c o n s t r u c t i v e a c t i v i t y . They b u s i l y employ the m s e l v e s i n r e b u i l d i n g t h e symbol o f t h e i r o r i g i n a l 34 enslavement. The f u t i l i t y of any program f o r s o c i a l change i s c l e a r l y demonstrated i n the scene i n which the l a b o r e r uses h i s t a l e n t s to a s s i s t the i n v e n t i v e Bud Calhoun i n the r e b u i l d i n g of the machine. The p a t t e r n repeats i t s e l f : Calhoun p e r f e c t s the machine which r ep l aces the l a b o r e r and he, i n t u r n , i s r ep l aced by a s t i l l more s o p h i s t i c a t e d machine. In a f i n a l e f f o r t at c l a r i f i c a t i o n Proteus t h i n k s to ask the l o g i c a l q u e s t i o n : What became of the o r i g i n a l Ghost S h i r t s ? H i s t o r y con ta ins the answer and repeats i t i n the modern v e r s i o n of the o r i g i n a l massacre. Fu r the r q u e s t i o n i n g by Proteus r e v e a l s tha t the m o t i v a t i o n s of the l eade r s are as v a r i e d as the l eade r s themselves . The r e v o l u t i o n p rov ides F i n n e r t y w i t h "a chance to g ive a savage blow to a c l o s e l i t t l e s o c i e t y tha t made no comfortable p lace f o r him'* (320) . Von Nermann d e r i v e s s a t i s f a c t i o n from the exper ience , a s a t i s f a c t i o n which i s based upon the s c i e n t i s t ' s d i spa s s iona t e concern f o r see ing the r e s u l t s of an experiment . l a s h e r , too , seems s a t i s f i e d w i t h the r e s u l t s : "A l i f e l o n g t r a f f i c k e r i n symbols, he had crea ted the r e v o l u t i o n as a symbol, and was now welcoming the oppor tun i ty to d i e as one" (320) . A t l e a s t Pro teus b e l i e v e s tha t these reasons e x p l a i n why the three l eade r s are so w i l l i n g to surrender themselves i n the end, but j u s t as he can never be c e r t a i n of h i s own m o t i v a t i o n s , he can on ly guess a t the m o t i v a t i o n s of these men. 35 Even though he knows that h i s e f f o r t s are destined to f a i l , Proteus would s t i l l l i k e to toast "To a b e t t e r world," but he cannot while he i s forced to acknowledge the r e a l i t y of people "already eager to recreate the same o l d nightmare" (320). He i s caught between h i s d e s i r e to create a b e t t e r p o s s i b l e world and h i s knowledge th a t the l i k e l i h o o d of such an occurrence i s qu i t e remote. Por Proteus there i s no way out of t h i s dilemma. He longs f o r h i s i l l u s i o n ("To a b e t t e r world") while he i s for c e d to accept the harsh r e a l i t y ("To the record," at once the heavenly record but a l s o the record of human f u t i l i t y ) . Proteus' f i n a l gesture i s one of surrender to f o r c e s beyond h i s c o n t r o l . S y m b o l i c a l l y , f o r Proteus, the co n c l u s i o n i s s u i c i d a l , the r e s u l t of h i s r e c o g n i z i n g the d i s p a r i t y be-tween h i s i l l u s i o n about human p e r f e c t i b i l i t y and the tawdry and shameful aspects of r e a l i t y . Proteus' surrender i s h i s admission that there i s no p o s s i b i l i t y of r e c o n c i l i n g the imaginary and r e a l worlds. P l a y e r Piano describes a world which i s f u l l y c o n t r o l l e d by a small group of bureaucrats who r u l e a b s o l u t e l y , The pl a y e r piano which i s symbolic of the automated s o c i e t y i s also , symbolic of the l a c k of c o n t r o l men have over t h e i r own 36 d e s t i n i e s i n such, a r i g i d l y s t r u c t u r e d s o c i e t y . Regardless o f what keys are s t ruck on the p iano , the same tune comes f o r t h . P l a y e r Piano r a i s e s important ques t ions about human ' de s t iny , about hope and despa i r i n a w o r l d i n which the e x e r c i s e o f con-t r o l l i e s beyond the grasp of the i n d i v i d u a l and i n which the e x e r c i s e of f ree w i l l i s l i m i t e d . I t dea l s w i t h the r e a c t i o n s to such c o n d i t i o n s i n c l u d i n g , u l t i m a t e l y , d e s t r u c t i o n . Bu t , P h o e n i x - l i k e , c i v i l i z a t i o n r i s e s from the ashes of i t s former r u i n and man's r e b e l l i o n , i n i t i a l l y aga ins t f u t i l i t y and the awareness of h i s own use lessness i n a wor ld tha t runs more e f f i c i e n t l y wi thou t h im, leads f i n a l l y to h i s de fea t . P l a y e r P i ano , then, examines the v a r i o u s programs men create to confront the r e a l i t y of l i v i n g i n a wor ld tha t o f f e r s them few c o n s o l a t i o n s and l i t t l e sense of purpose. The two choices which are a v a i l a b l e to P a u l Pro teus are w i thd rawa l i n t o f a n t a s i e s which support the i n d i v i d u a l i n a bar ren w o r l d or p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the c o n s t r u c t i o n of a b e t t e r s o c i e t y . As the s t r ugg l e mani fes t s i t s e l f i n the f i g u r e o f P ro teus , the r e s u l t i s a c o l l i s i o n between the w o r l d of the i m a g i n a t i o n and the p r a c t i c a l w o r l d of human a f f a i r s . In The S i r e n s of  T i t a n Vonnegut takes up the theme of the c o n f l i c t between p r i v a t e and p u b l i c r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s i n an e f f o r t to c l a r i f y and so lve the problem which f i n a l l y causes the defeat o f P a u l P r o t e u s . A l t e r n a t i v e l y he l i k e d to imagine c y c l e s w i t h i n c y c l e s , e i t h e r f i n i t e or i n f i n i t e : f o r example, the ' n i g h t - s e a 1 , as i t were, i n which Makers 'swam' and c rea ted n i g h t - s e a s and swimmers l i k e o u r s e l v e s , might he the c r e a t i o n of a l a r g e r Maker, H i m s e l f one of many, Who i n t u r n et c e t e r a . ' •Night-Sea Journey" J ohn B a r t h The d i s c o v e r y of the c h r o n o - s y n c l a s t i c i n f u n d i b u l a s a i d to mankind i n e f f e c t : 'What makes you t h i n k y o u ' r e go ing anywhere?' The S i r ens o f T i t a n K u r t Vonnegut, J r . CHAPTER I I THE SIRENS OP TITAN The S i r ens o f T i t a n (1959), Vonnegut 1 s second, n o v e l , bears numerous a f f i n i t i e s to P l a y e r Piano and demonstrates the c o n t i n u a t i o n of a concern w i t h the c u r i o u s ways i n which men organ ize t h e i r l i v e s and the r e s u l t of such o r g a n i z a t i o n upon i n d i v i d u a l s . The two nove l s s a t i r i z e the f r e q u e n t l y absurd pa t t e rns which human beings inven t i n order to g ive t h e i r l i v e s meaning and d i r e c t i o n . P l a y e r Piano examines s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l pa t t e rns i n the context of an automated s o c i e t y of the fu ture w h i l e The S i r ens of T i t a n , by means of the e labora te fan tasy of p a n - g a l a c t i c t r a v e l , examines man's urge to p e r -c e i v e meaning and order i n the u n i v e r s e . I n the e a r l y par t of the n o v e l Vonnegut informs the reader tha t "What mankind hoped to l e a r n from i t s outward push was who was a c t u a l l y i n charge of a l l c r e a t i o n , and what a l l c r e a t i o n was a l l about ." 1 The r e s u l t of man's e x p l o r a -t i o n s i s the d i s c o v e r y tha t "The bount ies o f space, of i n f i n i t e outwardness, were t h r ee : empty h e r o i c s , low comedy, and p o i n t l e s s death" ( 8 ) . Man seems incapab le o f l i v i n g 37 38 wi thou t the assurance tha t some s u p e r i o r power governs a l l a c t i o n f o r some myster ious but purpose fu l end. The r e s u l t i s tha t he throws h i m s e l f i n t o "a nightmare of meaninglessness wi thou t end1* ( 8 ) 3 a n d , where there i s no th ing but randomness, he draws upon the U n i v e r s a l W i l l to Become which "makes un ive r se s out o f noth ingness—that makes nothingness i n s i s t upon becoming somethingness" (138) . S a l o ' s UWTB i s the mag ica l fo rce which makes a k i n d of r e a l i t y out of l ong ings or i m a g i n i n g s . Rumfoord a v a i l s h i m s e l f of t h i s p r ec ious c r e a t i v e source to a s s i s t him i n h i s crusade to make E a r t h a happ ie r p l a c e . Al though the two nove l s develop a s i m i l a r theme, there are a number of d i f f e r e n c e s between them. P l a y e r Piano i s f r e q u e n t l y , de sp i t e i t s humor, a r a t h e r somber book c o n t a i n i n g ominous warnings of a p r e d i c t a b l e fu tu re d i s a s t e r . Vonnegut ' s "Foreword" to P l a y e r Piano se t s the tone f o r the n o v e l : "Th i s i s not a book about what i s , but a book about what cou ld b e . . . . A t t h i s p o i n t i n h i s t o r y , 1952 A.D., our l i v e s and freedom depend l a r g e l y upon the s k i l l and i m a g i n a t i o n of our managers and engineers , and I hope tha t God w i l l h e l p them to he lp us a l l s tay a l i v e and f r e e . " The mora l concern which Vonnegut expresses i n the "Foreword" c a r r i e s over i n t o the n o v e l and i n f l u e n c e s the treatment of the p r o t a g o n i s t , 39 P a u l P ro teus , a manager who i s s e r i o u s l y committed to l i f e and freedom. On the other hand, i n The S i r e n s of T i t a n Vonnegut employs comic exaggera t ion i n order to s a t i r i z e man's f a n a t i c a l d e s i r e to crea te pa t t e rns and to impose them on o ther human be ings . In t h i s second n o v e l Vonnegut abandons a more r e a l i s t i c approach, what one might c a l l almost an O r w e l l i a n concern w i t h bureaucracy and mechanism, i n favor o f the resources of f an t a sy . In a d d i t i o n to the f u l l e r r e a l i z a t i o n of the s a t i r i c fo rce of comedy, Vonnegut b r i n g s to h i s second n o v e l deeper i n s i g h t s i n t o h i s cha rac te r s and t h e i r dilemmas. Charac te rs and events from the f i r s t n o v e l r e cu r i n r ecogn izab l e forms i n the second. The use of the Shah of Bra tpuhr , a n a i v e , a l i e n observer who p o i n t s up the many c o n t r a d i c t i o n s and a b s u r d i t i e s i n Amer ica , p r e f i g u r e s one of the uses of S a l o , the cu r ious observer of E a r t h l i n g c i v i l i z a t i o n . S i m i l a r l y , Lasher , i n h i s d e d i c a t i o n to the task of i n i t i a t i n g a new s p i r i t u a l r e v i v a l , has h i s counterpar t i n Winston N i l e s Rumfoord, the i n s t i g a t o r of a complete r e l i g i o u s r e fo rma t ion i n The S i r e n s o f T i t a n . Most i m p o r t a n t l y , however, P a u l Proteus bears a marked resemblance to M a l a c h i Constant ; i s the h e i r to a p o s i t i o n ofpprominence, and wi thou t any great e f f o r t succeeds admirably i n mat ters of f i n a n c e , and each 40 e v e n t u a l l y l o s e s h i s wea l th and the s e c u r i t y i t p r o v i d e s . A consequence of t h e i r l o s s of wea l th i s the m a n i p u l a t i o n of Proteus and Constant by a person who wishes to organize be ings i n t o a r b i t r a r y groups. In The S i r ens of T i t a n the c o n t r o l which i s e x e r c i s e d over Constant i s l e s s ev iden t to him than i t i s to Proteus i n P l a y e r P i ano ; hence, C o n s t a n t ' s d i f f i c u l t i e s i n unders tanding the nature of h i s dilemma are cons ide r ab ly more compl ica ted than P r o t e u s ' . Constant i s manipulated more r u t h l e s s l y than i s Pro teus and f o r f a r l e s s s i g n i f i c a n t a reason . The pe r sona l i d e n t i t y of each man i s s a c r i f i c e d to a l l o w f o r the adop t ion of a p u b l i c r o l e . J u s t as P ro t eus , throughout the r e v o l u t i o n , seeks f o r some means of escape from the competing systems, Constant , th rough-out h i s l o n g , c i r c u i t o u s journey through Space, longs f o r some r e l e a s e . Pro teus and Constant share the d e s i r e f o r escape i n t o an i d e a l i z e d s ta te f a r removed from the harsh r e a l i t y of t h e i r present e x i s t e n c e . Constant d i f f e r s from Proteus i n one important r e s p e c t . Al though he possesses enormous wea l t h , he f e e l s a b s o l u t e l y no o b l i g a t i o n to those l e s s fo r tuna te than h i m s e l f . Constant , who shares none of P ro t eus ' a l t r u i s m , i s t o t a l l y s e l f -absorbed and determined to p lease no one but h i m s e l f . H i s outrageous behavior i s f a r more comica l and i s , i n the end, f a r more human than tha t of P ro t eus . 4 1 P r i o r to h i s l o s s of wea l th Constant possesses a secre t system, a legacy from h i s f a t h e r , which p rov ides him w i t h enormous f i n a n c i a l success . The system which Noe l Constant bequeaths to h i s son i s p e r f e c t l y absurd and i t p o i n t s up the importance of chance i n the l i v e s of men l i k e Constant and P r o t e u s . Noe l Constant c a s u a l l y and p l a y f u l l y engages i n s p e c u l a t i n g up on p o s s i b l e correspondences between c e r t a i n arrangements of l e t t e r s i n a Gideon B i b l e and the a b b r e v i a t i o n s of c e r t a i n s tock market l i s t i n g s . I t i s s i g n i f i c a n t tha t i n a n o v e l i n which many pa t t e rns based upon r e l i g i o u s paradigms are ev iden t , M a l a c h i ' s f a the r should draw h i s i n s p i r a t i o n from the B i b l e a l s o . The d e s c r i p t i o n of Noe l Cons t an t ' s e v o l v i n g p a t t e r n p rov ides an i r o n i c statement about the " i n t e r p r e t a t i o n " of the B i b l e . Any statements which the B i b l e makes are of much l e s s concern to t h i s ingen ious model-maker than the game of a c r o s t i c s tha t he can make of them. Noe l Cons t an t ' s l e t t e r , the t rue l egacy of f a t h e r to son, which i s to be opened only i n the event of t o t a l f i n a n c i a l d i s a s t e r , r e v e a l s the u n c e r t a i n t y of the f a the r r e g a r d i n g h i s own good f o r t u n e . Al though the system upon which h i s success i s founded i s tenuous and improbable , Noe l Constant cannot a l l a y the s u s p i c i o n tha t someone has i n t e r ceded on h i s beha l f and has des ignated tha t he should r i s e to a l e v e l o f prominenceJ 42 I t looked as though somebody or something wanted me to own the whole p lane t even though I was as good as dead. I kept my eyes open f o r some k i n d of s i g n a l t ha t would t e l l me what i t was a l l about but there wasn ' t any s i g n a l . I j u s t went on g e t t i n g r i c h e r and r i c h e r . (91) The l e t t e r goes on to e x p l a i n tha t a man never seeks j u s t i -f i c a t i o n f o r h i s p o s i t i o n except i n t imes of a d v e r s i t y . U n l i k e P ro teus , Constant does not ques t ion the a u t h e n t i c i t y of h i s f a t h e r ' s system, but i s content to use i t w i t h the f u l l assurance that i t w i l l p rov ide c o n t i n u i n g success . One c h a r a c t e r i s t i c tha t M a l a c h i Constant i n h e r i t s from h i s f a the r i s the f e e l i n g tha t events are governed by some mys te r ious force and tha t human a c t i o n s are a pa r t of some grand d e s i g n . Possessed of t h i s i n t u i t i o n , Constant approaches Winston N i l e s Rumfoord, the " e h r o n o - s y n c l a s t i c a l l y i n f u n d i -b u l a t e d " s ensa t i on who m a t e r i a l i z e s and d e - m a t e r i a l i z e s every f i f t y - n i n e days on E a r t h . Constant , whose name means ' • f a i t h f u l messenger," e n t e r t a i n s thoughts o f board ing a space sh ip to Mars a t Rumfoord's i n v i t a t i o n , but re fuses when he l e a r n s that he i s not to be the bearer of an important message. L i k e Proteus and so many of Vonnegut ' s l a t e r p r o -t a g o n i s t s , he d e s i r e s to p l ay an important r o l e i n a l a rge and dominant p a t t e r n . Having emerged from a l i f e guided by 43 one system which has f a i l e d , Constant l ooks about f o r ano ther . H i s d e s i r e to p a r t i c i p a t e i n some purposefu l des ign i s u n d e r l i n e d by h i s cho ice of a s u i t a b l e pseudonym w i t h which to concea l h i s i d e n t i t y when he f i r s t approaches Rumfoord. The s e l e c t i o n of the name Jonah by M a l a c h i Constant marks the f i r s t e x p l i c i t i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of a p r o t a g o n i s t i n Vonnegut ' s nove l s w i t h the B i b l i c a l voyager . A l though Constant s e l e c t s h i s pseudonym, he i s s u r p r i s e d when reminded l a t e r of the choice by h i s chauf feur . U n l i k e the l a t e r f i g u r e of Jonah i n C a t ' s C r a d l e , Constant seems on ly p a r t i a l l y aware of the s i g n i f i c a n c e of h i s a s s o c i a t i o n w i t h the B i b l i c a l messenger. Winston N i l e s Rumfoord i s another r e l u c t a n t messenger who, l i k e Constant , b e l i e v e s tha t he possesses the power to c o n t r o l h i s own d e s t i n y . He has, by an acc iden t i n space, been removed i n t o a time warp where he e x i s t s as a wave phenomenon. Consequent ly , and i n con t r a s t to Constant , he sees a l l moments i n Time as though they were a pa r t of a u n i v e r s a l drama whose s c r i p t a l r eady has been prepared . He i n s i s t s upon the i n e v i t a b i l i t y of a l l events , none of which can be 2 prevented by forewarning the v i c t i m s . Cons t an t ' s own mise rab le s t a t e p a r a l l e l s tha t of Job 44 who a l s o , f o r reasons unknown to him, was beset w i t h m i s -fo r tunes of every v a r i e t y . Each man i s informed of h i s newly acqu i r ed d i s t r e s s by h i s l a s t and most f a i t h f u l servant who pays o f f the remain ing servants and sends them on t h e i r way. In each case the unfor tunate man i s l e f t to s u f f e r a l one . But Constant a l s o d i f f e r s from Job, who i s a r i gh t eous man not d isposed to the h e d o n i s t i c p r a c t i c e s of a man l i k e Constant . There i s no i n d i c a t i o n , however, tha t Constant i s be ing punished f o r any e v i l he has committed, but there i s evidence t h a t , l i k e Job , Constant i s be ing t e s t e d . On more than one occas ion Rumfoord o f f e r s h i n t s and suggest ions and i n v i t e s those over whom he has c o n t r o l to guess the purpose f o r t h e i r a c t i o n s . A t one p o i n t , i n what seems a c r u e l and p o i n t l e s s parody o f God's t e s t i n g of Job , Rumfoord informs Constant , through one of h i s many messages, t ha t " I t ' s an i n t e l l i g e n c e t e s t '.1 1 (195). In seek ing to f i n d the answers to t h i s i n t e l l i g e n c e t e s t , Constant poses ques t ions s i m i l a r to those which Job asks about the s i g n i f i c a n c e of l i f e w i t h a l l i t s p a i n and s u f f e r i n g . Both men l o n g to understand the workings of d i v i n e j u s t i c e which , seen i n human terms, seems so u n j u s t . Through a l l h i s misery and u n c e r t a i n t y J o b ' s f a i t h remains unbroken, and when God f i n a l l y appears before h im, Job repen t s : " I had heard of 45 thee by the h e a r i n g of the ear , but now my eye sees thee; the re fo re I do despise myse l f , and repent i n dust and ashes" (Job 4 2 : 5 - 6 ) . The answers to Cons t an t ' s ques t ions come, not out of God's w h i r l w i n d , but out o f the mouth of Rumfoord. In the absence of a concerned God, Rumfoord has taken i t upon h i m s e l f to d e l i v e r Constant from h i s s ta te of ambigui ty and to prove to him tha t j u s t i c e i s ope ra t ive i n the u n i v e r s e . Rumfoord 1s apparent c o n t r o l over present events and h i s a b i l i t y to prophesy fu ture ones make him look s u s p i c i o u s l y l i k e God (a l though he denies tha t he has any contac t w i t h God), whose omniscience and omnipotence he p a r o d i e s . Only l a t e r does i t become c l e a r tha t he too i s l i m i t e d and i s c o n t r o l l e d by another person . Yet Rumfoord e n l i s t s M a l a c h i Constant i n the s e r v i c e of h i s crusade to redeem the f a l l e n wor ld and r e -e s t a b l i s h the o r i g i n a l Pa rad i se f o r man. Rumfoord, l i k e Gelhorne and h i s a s s o c i a t e s , i s "the opener of doors to u n -dreamed-of new w o r l d s . " He succeeds i n persuading Constant to j o i n h i s M a r t i a n r e c r u i t s by t a k i n g advantage of Cons t an t ' s i n s e c u r i t y , the r e s u l t of h i s recent l o s s of w e a l t h . Cons t an t ' s t r an spo r t through the s o l a r system p o i n t s up the t e r r i f y i n g aspect of systems of c o n t r o l . I t seems n e a r l y i n c o n c e i v a b l e to the reader tha t such e labora te p lans and des igns as the book presents should a l l be f o r no purpose save to p lease some demented o r g a n i z e r who d e l i g h t s i n complex p l o t s . 46 Each of the space journeys which Constant i s f o r c e d to undertake supposedly f u r t h e r s Rumfoord's p l a n i n some s i g n i -f i c a n t way. The journey to Mars r e s u l t s i n the b i r t h of Chrono who i s the product of the rape of B e a t r i c e by Constant. H i s journey to Mercury f o r two years adds to the drama s i n c e the E a r t h l i n g s e x p e c t a n t l y await the a r r i v a l of t h e i r Messiah. The journey to E a r t h and a l l the events which are staged there are p a r t of Rumfoord's promise of the a r r i v a l of a s a v i o u r . The e x p u l s i o n a l s o f i t s the p a t t e r n and f u l f i l l s the prophecy t h a t Constant and B e a t r i c e would d i s c o v e r l o v e f o r the f i r s t time on T i t a n . The c o n c l u s i o n l e a v e s the reader wondering why so much misery i s necessary to produce such a smal l measure of happiness. What Rumfoord wishes to i n i t i a t e on E a r t h i s an epoch of peace and happiness to r e p l a c e the bloodshed and i n t e r n e c i n e s t r i f e t h a t i t has known through the ages. Por Rumfoord, t h i s s o c i a l g o a l i s worth the s a c r i f i c e of a m i n o r i t y of the E a r t h ' s p o p u l a t i o n . The M a r t i a n task f o r c e i s i r o n i c a l l y , a v o l u n t e e r army. People disenchanted w i t h t h e i r s i t u a t i o n w i l l i n g l y accept almost any o f f e r to go and seek t h e i r f o r t u n e s elsewhere. These r e c r u i t s are the vagra n t s of the world, nameless and homeless. In t h e i r eagerness to embrace a new way of l i f e they resemble Constant. A l l are t r a n s p o r t e d to Mars where, as a 47 par t of the grand des ign , they are lobotomized and the s e n t i e n t p o r t i o n of t h e i r minds i s r ep l aced w i t h antennae. L i k e Constant , these shapeless beings are g iven new i d e n t i t i e s . Cons t an t ' s new name—Unk—reflects the p r i m i t i v e c a l i b r e of ex i s t ence on Mars . The one endeavor which Constant never forsakes i s the attempt to pose c e r t a i n b a s i c ques t ions , the answers to which might l e a d to the es tab l i shment of h i s t rue i d e n t i t y and h i s proper p lace i n the scheme of t h i n g s . L i k e P ro teus , Constant l o se s an i d e n t i t y which i s o r i g i n a l l y tenuous s ince i t on ly r e l i e s upon s o c i a l p o s i t i o n . Men l i k e Rumfoord and Constant* s f a t h e r , i n h i b i t at tempts to answer these v i t a l ques t i ons . The pa t t e rns they b u i l d impose i d e n t i t i e s and do not seek to o f f e r a s s i s t a n c e i n d i s c o v e r i n g o ther , more a u t h e n t i c , i d e n t i t i e s . Rumfoord, l i k e Lasher before h im, has a penchant f o r symbolism and p r e f e r s to t r e a t i n d i v i d u a l s as symbols r a t h e r than as persons . L i k e Lasher , he conducts a l l h i s a f f a i r s on an a b s t r a c t l e v e l . He i s not on ly one of the c r u e l e s t agents of mi s fo r tune , but the r eco rde r of the d i s a s t e r i n a cheap h i s t o r y : As he says i n h i s Pocket H i s t o r y of Mars : "Any man who would change the World i n a s i g n i f i c a n t way must have showmanship, a g e n i a l w i l l i n g n e s s to shed o ther p e o p l e ' s b lood , and a p l a u s i b l e new r e l i g i o n to in t roduce d u r i n g the b r i e f p e r i o d of r e -pentance and h o r r o r tha t u s u a l l y f o l l o w s b loodshed . " (174) 48 J u s t as Proteus i s fo rced to be the "fake Messiah ' ' f o r Lasher and h i s c o - c o n s p i r a t o r s , so Constant i s fo rced i n t o a s i m i l a r r o l e i n which he, chameleon- l ike , changes i d e n t i t i e s a t the whim of Rumfoord. Constant appears i n the n o v e l i n a more s tunning a r ray of d i s g u i s e s than does Proteus i n P l a y e r P i a n o . Throughout the- e n t i r e p e r i l o u s adventure from one p lane t to another Constant r e t a i n s h i s d e s i r e to be f ree of c o n t r o l , the source of which i s m y s t e r i o u s l y h idden . As h i s p r i m i t i v e "message" to h i m s e l f , which he h ides on Mars , i n d i c a t e s , some-one has c o n t r o l over h i s behaviour and can hur t him at w i l l . However, Constant bears i n h i s mind wherever he t r a v e l s a vague reminiscence of a parad ise conjured up by the memory of the three s i r e n s of T i t a n he had once seen i n a photograph. The three enchantresses represent f o r Constant escape from involvement i n p u b l i c a f f a i r s and r e t r e a t i n t o a peace fu l wor ld of beauty and harmony. The wor ld Constant imagines has l e s s to do w i t h the pe r fec t w o r l d Rumfoord wishes to crea te than w i t h the vague d e s i r e s Proteus has to escape from the i n e x o r -able movements of s o c i e t y and h i s t o r y . As Constant l ooks down the o i l y b a r r e l of h i s r i f l e he sees the parad ise he longs f o r , but which i s u n a t t a i n a b l e because of the n e c e s s i t y of per form-i n g h i s pa r t i n a l a r g e r drama. Cons t an t ' s second d e s t i n a t i o n , Mercury , appears to o f f e r 49 some o f the c o n s o l a t i o n s which he d e s i r e s i n h i s p a r a d i s e . On Mercury he i s t r e a t e d to "a c r u e l and l o v e l y i l l u s i o n . " Mercury , which i s immediate ly a t t r a c t i v e to the beholder but f a t a l l y i n h o s p i t a b l e i n a c t u a l i t y , i s the p lane t o f o p p o s i t e s : " I t i s the t e n s i o n between the hot hemisphere of day -wi thou t -end and the c o l d hemisphere of n i g h t - w i t h o u t - e n d tha t makes Mercury s i n g " (184) . The on ly i n h a b i t a n t s of Mercury are the b e a u t i f u l , t r a n s l u c e n t Harmoniums who l i v e an i d e a l ex i s t ence n u r t u r i n g themselves £>lely on the music t h e i r p lane t p rov ides i n abundance. These d e l i g h t f u l c rea tu res are p e r f e c t l y adapted to t h e i r s trange environment. However, when Unk and h i s companion Boaz step ou ts ide the sh ip the h o s t i l e atmos-phere bu r s t s t h e i r b lood v e s s e l s . Unk ' s f i r s t r e a c t i o n to the c o l o r f u l landscape i s one of g r a t i t u d e and j o y , f o r he t h i n k s he i s on E a r t h . He b e l i e v e s tha t t h i s " c i v i l i z a t i o n " i s s u r e l y a p lace where "nameless hopes cou ld f l o u r i s h l i k e — . " Unk cannot complete h i s s t a t e -ment because through h i s exper ience on Mars he has l o s t the a b i l i t y to produce images of beauty but he does r e t a i n a d e s i r e to produce such images. Unk ' s i n i t i a l joy a t a r r i v i n g on Mercury very q u i c k l y d i s s i p a t e s and joy soon tu rns to anger . Boaz' behaviour i s i n every we/a con t r a s t to U n k ' s . 50 Boaz, an ou tcas t on E a r t h , f i n d s acceptance among the Harmon-iums who need h i s ca re , or so he b e l i e v e s . He warns Unk, who f r e q u e n t l y at tempts to t e l l him the t r u t h about t h e i r c o n d i -t i o n , not to " t r u t h me." Boaz i s happy i n h i s i l l u s i o n and does not want r e a l i t y to impinge upon h i s newly c rea ted w o r l d . L a t e r Unk succumbs to a s i m i l a r d e s i r e f o r i l l u s i o n s when he 3 d i s c o v e r s tha t r e a l x t y i s overwhelming. Unk ' s r e t u r n to E a r t h i s but another of the many " c r u e l and l o v e l y i l l u s i o n s " to which he i s sub jec ted . In h i s i g -norance Unk b e l i e v e s tha t he i s about to be rewarded f o r hav ing suf fe red so g r e a t l y . H i s e v a l u a t i o n of the s i t u a t i o n p o i n t s up the a b s u r d i t y of Rumfoord's massive campaign to i n i t i a t e happiness through g u i l t . Unk ' s na ive b e l i e f i s t ha t "With everyone so k i n d and e n t h u s i a s t i c and p e a c e f u l , not on ly a good l i f e but a pe r f ec t l i f e cou ld be l i v e d on E a r t h " (247) . But Unk ' s exper iences on E a r t h q u i c k l y convince him tha t l i f e i s at l e a s t as absurd as i t was before Rumfoord put h i s p l a n i n t o o p e r a t i o n . In p a t h e t i c i m i t a t i o n o f the N i n e v i t e s , whom Jonah i s sent to inform of the n e c e s s i t y of repentance, the adherents of Rumfoord's decree dress them-se lves i n r i d i c u l o u s costumes and encumber themselves w i t h bags of l ead shot and s l abs of i r o n . In t h e i r pa s s ion f o r fo rg ivenes s the E a r t h l i n g s spurn a l l m a t e r i a l a c q u i s i t i o n s 51 and make themselves as unhappy as p o s s i b l e so that they can a l l l i v e i n peace and happiness. The p a r a l l e l between Rumfoord's plan and the Book of Jonah i s an apt one, f o r i t serves as an i r o n i c statement about submission to the w i l l of God, the i n e f f a b l e Presence i n the Void. E a r t h l i n g s cannot accept that "Things f l y t h i s way and that ... w i t h or without messages. I t ' s chaos, and no mistake, f o r the Universe i s j u s t being born. I t ' s the great becoming that makes the l i g h t and the heat and the motion, and bangs you from h i t h e r to yon" (39). Their love f o r symmetry and great spectacles leads E a r t h l i n g s to b e l i e v e i n the v a l i d i t y of patterns no matter how outrageous these might be. Salo, the perceptive observer of E a r t h l i n g behaviour, remarks that "The E a r t h l i n g s behaved at a l l times as though there were a b i g eye i n the s k y — a s though that b i g eye were ravenous f o r entertainment. The b i g eye was a g l u t t o n f o r great t h e a t e r . The b i g eye was i n d i f f e r e n t as to whether the E a r t h l i n g shows were comedy, tragedy, f a r c e , s a t i r e , a t h l e t i c s , or v a u d e v i l l e . I t s demand, which E a r t h l i n g s apparently found as i r r e s i s t i b l e as g r a v i t y , was that the shows be great" (276). E a r t h l i n g s , l o n g i n g to hear a sound or see a s i g n some-where i n the Void, s e i z e upon Rumfoord's message and repent. 52 I n the Book of Jonah the assumption i s tha t God does e x i s t and tha t Jonah i s conveying a message of cons ide rab le impor tance . In Vonnegut ' s v e r s i o n i t i s apparent tha t the mess ian ic r o l e o f Rumfoord i s on ly a parody. The c r e a t i o n of a new w o r l d , a t l a s t peacefu l and f i l l e d w i t h good w i l l , i s rendered r i d i c u l o u s . M a l a c h i Cons t an t ' s m i s s i o n to E a r t h i s f u r t h e r c l a r i f i e d by another B i b l i c a l p a r a l l e l . J u s t as Constant i s a modern Jonah, j ou rney ing somewhat r e l u c t a n t l y to the N i n e v i t e s , so i s he a l s o M a l a c h i , one of the twelve minor prophets of the Old Testament and the s i m i l a r i t i e s between the two are f r e q u e n t l y both i r o n i c and r e v e a l i n g . M a l a c h i ' s m i s s i o n to the I s r a e l i t e s conta ined i n the Book of M a l a c h i was f o r the purpose of r e - k i n d l i n g i n them a d e s i r e to p r a c t i c e t h e i r f a i t h . The community's c o n d i t i o n was g e n e r a l l y wre tched . The hopes aroused i n the people by the mess i an i c - type promises connected w i t h the r e - e s t ab l i shmen t of the sanctuary remained u n f u l f i l l e d . Consequently the p r i e s t s and people tended to become ca re -l e s s . M a l a c h i t r i e d to arouse the people to r e - d e d i c a t e themselves to t h e i r r e l i g i o n . Advoca t ing the r e s t o r -a t i o n of Temple r i t u a l , he emphasized tha t i nne r commitment must accompany r e l i g i o u s r i t e s . L i k e the other prophets , M a l a c h i a s s e r t s the b e l i e f tha t there w i l l be a "day of the Lord ' ' when I s r a e l w i l l be p u r i f i e d by God's judgment and a sav ing remnant w i l l su rv ive to wi tness the mess ian ic e r a . 4 5 3 M a l a c h i 1 s i n s i s t e n c e upon the n e c e s s i t y of " i n n e r commitment" accompanying r e l i g i o u s r i t e s con t r a s t s w i t h Rumfoord 1 s emphasis upon symbols and appearances. Rumfoord a l s o b e l i e v e s i n the p u r i f i c a t i o n of the race and i s on ly too w i l l i n g to s a c r i f i c e a great number of people so tha t the " s a v i n g remnant" may s u r v i v e . Rumfoord's grand des ign , the Church of God the U t t e r l y I n d i f f e r e n t , r i v a l s and the most e labora te designs produced by the human i m a g i n a t i o n . As a device f o r l e a r n i n g something about human nature i t i s v a l u a b l e , and i t i s i n t h i s way tha t Vonnegut employs i t as a f i c t i o n . However, as a p r a c t i c a l 5 program to govern human ex i s t ence i t i s t y r a n n i c a l . In the course of h i s b r i e f appearance on E a r t h M a l a c h i Cons t an t ' s a c t i o n s p a r a l l e l numerous episodes recounted i n the Book of M a l a c h i . I n the B i b l e M a l a c h i addresses h i m s e l f to the doubt ing mind. Men ask how i t i s tha t the good s u f f e r w h i l e the e v i l p rosper : ^ "your words have been s tou t aga ins t me, says the LORD. Yet you say, 'How have we spoken aga ins t thee? ' You have s a i d , • I t i s v a i n to serve God. What i s the good of our keep ing h i s charge or o f w a l k i n g as i n mourning before the LORD of hos t s? Hencefor th we deem the ar rogant b l e s s e d ; e v i l d o e r s not on ly prosper but when they put God to the t e s t they escape 1" M a l a c h i 2 : 1 3 54 M a l a c h i Cons t an t ' s exper ience a t the hands of Rumfoord i s p roof tha t e v i l d o e r s do not escape punishment. In a sudden r e v e r s a l o f f o r t unes , which i s so c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of events i n t h i s n o v e l , Constant i s t ransformed from sav iou r to s i n n e r , and h i s banishment i s f i n a l proof of the j u s t i c e of Rumfoord's r e l i g i o n . The B i b l i c a l p rophe t ' s messages p a r a l l e l Cons t an t ' s messages to the mobs who gather to see h im. He exhor ts a l l people to be f a i t h f u l to God and to one another . The message to the I s r a e l i t e s mentions marr iage s p e c i f i c a l l y and warns aga in s t the p reva len t h a b i t of incons tancy among the chosen peop le . "So take heed to y o u r s e l v e s , and l e t none be f a i t h -l e s s to the w i f e of h i s y o u t h , " f o r God d e s i r e s , above a l l , constancy and "Godly o f f s p r i n g " (Ma lach i 2:15). Vonnegut seems to suggest through the use of the p a r a l l e l w i t h the B i b l i c a l prophet tha t M a l a c h i Cons t an t ' s quest f o r the meaning of "what a l l c r e a t i o n was a l l about" i s i n e x t r i c a b l y connected w i t h the f a t e of h i s wi fe and c h i l d . Constant i s g u i l t y of incons tancy , and h i s i n i t i a l p r o f l i g a c y i s compounded by h i s treatment of B e a t r i c e aboard the space c r a f t on i t s way to Mars . Throughout the n o v e l Constant longs to be r e u n i t e d w i t h h i s mate and t h e i r o f f s p r i n g so tha t he can take them away to a p lace where they can l i v e i n peace. 55 A number of impediments prevent Constant from secu r ing B e a t r i c e f o r s e v e r a l years and, when he f i n a l l y does he must w a i t u n t i l one year p r i o r to t h e i r deaths before they l e a r n to love one another . I t i s c l e a r from t h e i r behaviour on Tralfamadore tha t they must f i r s t l e a r n to respec t one ano the r ' s separateness , and dreams of the w o r l d , before they can accept one another . The path to r e c o n c i l i a t i o n i s a l o n g and d i f f i c u l t one because each of the pa r tne r s i s fo rced to p l ay a r o l e i n a drama which overshadows h i s pe r sona l needs. They have each been e n l i s t e d i n the s e r v i c e of humanity and must p l ay t h e i r e x p i a t o r y pa r t s i n the drama which i s designed to fuse a l l human beings i n t o one homogeneous group. On Tralfamadore, where the major p a r t i c i p a n t s i n the pa t t e rn s are brought toge ther f o r the l a s t t ime, i t i s f i n a l l y r evea led tha t Rumfoord, the manipu la to r of so many, i s h i m s e l f the v i c t i m of m a n i p u l a t i o n by a fo rce beyond h i s c o n t r o l . H i s attempt to e s t a b l i s h a new r e l i g i o n on E a r t h i s , l i k e every major event i n w o r l d h i s t o r y , a s m a l l pa r t of a l a r g e p l a n to a s s i s t i n the d e l i v e r y o f a minor replacement pa r t f o r the Tra l famador ian space c r a f t . The se r iousness w i t h which human beings undertake the c o n s t r u c t i o n of e l abora te models and systems i s r evea led as a par t of a cosmic j o k e . Robert Scholes p o i n t s out tha t "Th i s n o v e l suggests tha t the joke i s on us 56 every time we a t t r i b u t e purpose or meaning that s u i t s us to t h i n g s which are e i t h e r a c c i d e n t a l , or possessed of purpose and meaning qu i t e d i f f e r e n t from those we would supp ly . And i t doesn ' t mat ter which of these mis takes we make." S a l o , not Constant , i s the " f a i t h f u l messenger" who b e l i e v e s above a l l i n the importance of d e l i v e r i n g h i s message, a sec re t correspondence between Tralfamadore and whoever Salo might encounter a t the f a r reaches of the U n i v e r s e . S a l o ' s m i s s i o n i s to t r a v e l from "one r i m of the Un ive r se to the o ther" bea r ing a message whose content i s a s i n g l e dot , the Tra l fama-d o r i a n word f o r " G r e e t i n g s " . The d i s c o v e r y of the t r i v i a l i t y of t h i s message comes as a s u r p r i s e even to Salo who i s faced w i t h a dilemma. Having i n v e s t e d so much time and e f f o r t i n the d e l i v e r y of t h i s message, he i s r e l u c t a n t to g ive up h i s m i s s i o n . Vonnegut seems to suggest t ha t the de s i r e to search f o r the answers to i n s o l u b l e ques t ions p e r s i s t s , even though the search i s doomed. Cons t an t ' s f i n a l w i s h i s to be re tu rned to E a r t h , h i s home. S a l o , who i s s u r p r i s e d a t Cons t an t ' s d e c i s i o n to r e t u r n to the p lace which has been the source of so many of h i s mi s fo r tunes , and who knows a l l too w e l l tha t more than the ha rsh weather i s i n h o s p i t a b l e to the aged and h e l p l e s s , dec ides to induce i n Constant an i l l u s i o n . The v i s i o n which Constant 57 i s granted at the end of the n o v e l c o i n c i d e s w i t h h i s death and p rov ides him w i t h the s a t i s f a c t i o n that he has spent the major pa r t of h i s l i f e s eek ing . Cons t an t ' s d e s i r e f o r r e -un ion w i t h h i s w i f e and h i s best f r i e n d , Stony Stevenson, and h i s d e s i r e to depart to a country i n which they can l i v e w i t h -out i n t e r f e r e n c e from anyone, i s granted i r o n i c a l l y , on ly a t the moment of dea th . Constant , a man who has been used r u t h -l e s s l y and whose pe r sona l needs have been repea ted ly s a c r i -f i c e d to l a r g e r needs, has a f i n a l joke p layed upon h im. The f i n a l v i s i o n i s merely an i l l u s i o n , but i n the face o f the harshness of r e a l i t y , there i s no a l t e r n a t i v e f o r a man who seeks to have done w i t h the misery of l i v i n g . Vonnegut emphasizes t h i s p o i n t when, i n the f i n a l scene o f the n o v e l , Cons t an t ' s qu ie t r e v e r i e i s counte rpo in ted by the sounds coming from the nearby t r o u b l e d s l e e p e r . In con t r a s t to the r e s t l e s s s leep o f the man i n the b u i l d i n g , Cons t an t ' s r e v e r i e i s 8 p e a c e f u l . He i s a l l owed to ''Dream other dreams, and b e t t e r . " The c o n f l i c t between the wor ld o f p p r i v a t e dreams and ambi t ions and the wor ld o f p u b l i c o b l i g a t i o n s which Vonnegut f i r s t began to develop i n P l a y e r Piano i s , then , developed f u r t h e r i n The S i r ens of T i t a n . N e i t h e r Proteus nor Constant i s able to r e c o n c i l e the two p o s i t i o n s s u c c e s s f u l l y . P ro t eus , who s a c r i f i c e s h i m s e l f to a p u b l i c cause, i s fo rced i n the end to surrender h i m s e l f comple te ly to p u b l i c p r e s su re . 58 Constant , whose l i f e i s spent as a p u b l i c f i g u r e , surrenders h i m s e l f to the i l l u s i o n o f p r i v a t e happiness . N e i t h e r con-c l u s i o n s i s p a r t i c u l a r l y s a t i s f y i n g . I n the n o v e l which f o l l o w s — Mother Nigh t — Vonnegut examines the i m p l i c a t i o n s of l i v i n g too p r i v a t e a l i f e . People who are r e c e p t i v e to the i n f l u e n c e of a r t cannot set too h i g h a va lue on i t as a source of p leasure and c o n s o l a t i o n i n l i f e . Never the le s s the m i l d n a r c o s i s induced i n us by a r t can do no more than b r i n g about a t r a n s i e n t w i thd rawa l from the pressure of v i t a l needs, and i t i s not s t rong enough to make us fo rge t r e a l m i s e r y . O i v i l i z a t i o n and i t s D i scon ten t s Sigmund Freud ( K r a f t - Potapov) o f f e r s the o p i n i o n tha t I was an ardent N a z i , but tha t I s h o u l d n ' t be h e l d r e s p o n s i b l e f o r my a c t s , s ince I was a p o l i t i c a l i d i o t , an a r t i s t who cou ld not d i s t i n g u i s h between r e a l i t y and dreams. Mother N igh t K u r t Vonnegut, J r . CHAPTER I I I MOTHER NIGHT In Mother Nigh t or The Confess ions of Howard W. Camp-b e l l , J r . (1961), Vonnegut aga in examines the d i f f i c u l t i e s encountered by a person whose p u b l i c and p r i v a t e i d e n t i t i e s c o n f l i c t and whose p u b l i c a c t i o n s do not r e f l e c t h i s pe r sona l c o n v i c t i o n s . Campbel l , a man who p r i v a t e l y admires good and abhors e v i l , i s a l s o a w e l l known N a z i propagandis t whose behaviour i s so outrageous because i t i s so "obscenely p u b l i c . " * L i k e Proteus and Constant before him, Campbell i s d i v i d e d between h i s p r i v a t e d e s i r e f o r escape from s o c i a l involvement and h i s p u b l i c o b l i g a t i o n s as a member of s o c i e t y . Campbell a l s o f i n d s h i m s e l f i n a p r e s t i g i o u s p u b l i c p o s i t i o n and i n possess ion of cons ide rab le wea l th and i n f l u e n c e . He resembles the f i r s t two p r o t a g o n i s t s i n h i s b e l i e f t ha t he can c o n t r o l h i s own d e s t i n y and tha t he can make d e c i s i o n s w i t h p r e d i c t a b l e r e s u l t s . L i k e Pro teus and Constant , he e v e n t u a l l y d i s c o v e r s tha t he not on ly has ve ry l i t t l e c o n t r o l over h i s f a t e , but has even l e s s knowledge of who i s m a n i p u l a t i n g him and f o r what purpose he i s be ing manipu la ted . 59 60 Campbell i s a man w i t h no p o l i t i c a l or s o c i a l c o n v i c -t i o n s . He i s , l i k e a l l of Vonnegut 's c h a r a c t e r s , a wanderer i n a s p i r i t u a l as w e l l as i n a p h y s i c a l sense. The n o v e l ' s ep ig raph , taken from S i r Wal t e r S c o t t , i s an express -i o n of S c o t t ' s r e j o i c i n g upon h i s r e t u r n to h i s "na t i ve l a n d " "Prom wandering on a f o r e i g n s t r a n d . " In c o n t r a s t , Campbell who i s , by h i s own admiss ion , "a s t a t e l e s s pe r son , " (44) can f e e l a t home n e i t h e r i n Amer ica , h i s b i r t h p l a c e , nor i n Germany, h i s adopted homeland. Campbel l ' s f e e l i n g of d i s -l o c a t i o n resembles s i m i l a r f e e l i n g s of Proteus and Cons tan t . In P l a y e r Piano Proteus i s used l i k e a p i n g pong b a l l i n a game played by the two opposing p o l i t i c a l f a c t i o n s . In The S i rens of T i t a n Vonnegut employs the metaphor of space t r a v e l to suggest the extent to which Constant i s moved about i n the b i z a r r e p lans of Rumfoord and S a l o . Vonnegut ' s adop t ion of the technique o f " e d i t i n g " the Confess ions o f Howard Campbell i s evidence of h i s growing awareness of the problems encountered by a w r i t e r who wishes 2 to convey exper iences through the medium of f i c t i o n . Vonnegut 1 s wry E d i t o r ' s Note makes reference to the excus -ab le " l i e s " tha t a reader w i l l encounter i n the Confess ions . The l i e s are the r e s u l t of t h e i r hav ing been w r i t t e n by an a r t i s t , one d isposed to communicating t r u t h by means o f 61 seeming u n t r u t h s . In the f i r s t two nove l s Vonnegut h i m s e l f l i e s qu i t e c o n s c i o u s l y i n an e f f o r t to t r ansmi t c e r t a i n t r u t h s . In Mother Nigh t he qu i t e f a c e t i o u s l y parodies the r o l e of a d i s i n t e r e s t e d and i m p a r t i a l t r a n s l a t o r whose "du t i e s as an e d i t o r are i n no sense po l emic . They are s imply to pass on, i n the most s a t i s f a c t o r y s t y l e , the confess ions of Campbell" ( i x - x ) . 5 Vonnegut 's r o l e as e d i t o r a l l o w s him s u f f i c i e n t d i s t ance from h i s p r o t a g o n i s t to m a i n t a i n a c r i t i c a l vantage p o i n t , w h i l e a t the same time i t a l l o w s him to i d e n t i f y w i t h Campbel l . Campbell i s the f i r s t o f Vonnegut 's p r o t a g o n i s t s who i s a w r i t e r and Mother Nigh t i s the f i r s t n o v e l which in t roduces the task of w r i t i n g as a major theme. A l l of the nove l s which f o l l o w dea l w i t h some aspect o f w r i t i n g and a l l the remaining p r o t a g o n i s t s , w i t h the excep t ion of B i l l y 4 P i l g r i m , are w r i t e r s . Campbell moves about i n pa t t e rns which he only p a r t i a l l y understands and encounters numerous d i f f i c u l t i e s i n s e p a r a t i n g the f a c t s from the apparent f a c t s or f i c t i o n s . Vonnegut 1 s nove l s are l i k e Campbe l l ' s Confess ions , at tempts to "separate the r e a l from the fake" ( 5 3 ) . There are many people i n the n o v e l who c l a i m to be i n posses s ion of the t r u t h and who ac t upon t h e i r assumptions when, i n r e a l i t y , most people merely 62 invent f i c t i o n a l models as a j u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r t h e i r actions. Vonnegut shares with Campbell a d i s t r u s t of such models. In Mother Night, as i n The Sirens of Titan, there i s an abundance of messengers and messages t r a v e l l i n g everywhere, but no message i s any more important than another. The messages which Campbell passes along to the Germans and to the A l l i e s are as confusing as the numerous c o n f l i c t i n g messages which are delivered to him from such eccentrics as the Reverend Jones and Bernard V. O'Hare. A f t e r a l l the messages have been delivered and a l l the designs completed, man i s s t i l l l e f t to face the fundamental problem of e x i s t i n g i n a world i n which unhappiness, pain, and death are the norms. As a writer, Campbell has no i n t e r e s t i n p o l i t i c s or war. His plays, which are a l l medieval romances, are as p o l i t i c a l as "chocolate e c l a i r s " (37). The world which he creates through art i s "a world elsewhere," and t h i s world i s complicated by none of the contemporary s o c i a l or p o l i t i c a l problems of Europe or America. Like the rest of h i s works, his diary, Memoirs of a Polygamous Casanova, contains "not one word i n i t to indicate even the century or the continent of i t s o r i g i n " (99). The alternate world which Campbell creates for himself and h i s wife i s romantically b e a u t i f u l and, seemingly, incapable of being affected by external 63 r e a l i t y . I t resembles the s h e l t e r e d world of Proteus* r u s t i c r e t r e a t , of Constant's p a r a d i s e i n h a b i t e d by the three s i r e n s of T i t a n , of the cavern i n which Jonah and Mona r e t r e a t from the d e s t r u c t i o n of a crazed world, and of the Tr a l f a m a d o r i a n zoo which B i l l y P i l g r i m v i s i t s . L i k e the p l o t s of K i l g o r e Trout's n o v e l s , the p l o t s of Campbell's p l a y s p r o v i d e " f a n t a s i e s of an i m p o s s i b l y h o s p i t a b l e world." H i s p l a y s , as George K r a f t p o i n t s out, are not without morals: The p l a y s r e v e a l "That you admire pure h e a r t s and heroes.... That you lov e good and hate e v i l . . . . a n d t h a t you b e l i e v e i n romance" (41). S i g n i f i c a n t l y , Campbell i s a pl a y w r i g h t and h i s wife i s an a c t r e s s and Campbell's only b e l i e f i s i n h i s w i f e and h i m s e l f and the a r t which g i v e s e x p r e s s i o n to t h e i r p e r f e c t l o v e . They allow no place i n t h e i r s e l f - c r e a t e d world f o r anyone but themselves. H i s f o u r t h p l a y , e n t i t l e d "Nation of Two", was "to be about the lov e my wif e and I had f o r each other. I t was going to show how a p a i r of l o v e r s i n a world gone mad co u l d s u r v i v e by being l o y a l to a n a t i o n composed of themselves — a n a t i o n of two" (37). Campbell b e l i e v e s t h a t he can s u c c e s s f u l l y support two i d e n t i t i e s , one p r i v a t e and one p u b l i c . He f e e l s t h a t by s e r v i n g the Nazis as a propagandist and bro a d c a s t e r he 64 f u l f i l l s h i s p u b l i c o b l i g a t i o n , w h i l e by c o n t i n u i n g to w r i t e p lays he proves to h i m s e l f tha t h i s p r i v a t e w o r l d i s i n t a c t and secure . S ince Campbell has no attachment to any i d e o l o g y or s o c i a l system, he merely inven t s m a t e r i a l which p leases h i s supe r io r s and a l l o w s him to e x i s t s a f e l y . He views a l l h i s a c t i v i t i e s as a propagandis t as a tour de f o r c e . When f i r s t approached by Wir tanen , Campbell m i s t a k e n l y b e l i e v e s tha t he can perform h i s d u t i e s as an espionage agent as though he were t a k i n g pa r t i n a p l a y : As a spy of the so r t he d e s c r i b e d , I would have an oppor tun i ty f o r some p r e t t y grand a c t i n g . I would f o o l everyone w i t h my b r i l l i a n t i n t e r -p r e t a t i o n of a N a z i , i n s i d e and ou t . And I d i d f o o l everybody. I began to s t r u t l i k e H i t l e r ' s r i g h t -hand man, and nobody saw the honest me I h i d so deep i n s i d e . (41) Campbell succeeds so admirab ly i n i d e n t i f y i n g h i m s e l f as a N a z i " i n s i d e and out" , and i n submerging h i s own p e r s o n a l i t y , t ha t he becomes h i s persona . He does not recognize u n t i l i t i s too l a t e tha t "We are what we pretend to be, so we must be c a r e f u l about what we pretend to be" ( v ) . Because Campbell has no i deo logy of h i s own he i s e a s i l y c o n t r o l l e d by those who a s se r t t h e i r own i d e o l o g i c a l b e l i e f s . As i n the p rev ious n o v e l s , p a r t i c u l a r l y The S i r ens of T i t a n , 65 Campbell i s e n l i s t e d as a double agent and i s for c e d to play a part i n a h i g h l y secret drama. Campbell i s asked to d e l i v e r v i t a l i n f o r m a t i o n to the A l l i e s through a s e r i e s of pauses and s t u t t e r s . L i k e Constant, he i s the bearer of a message whose contents are unknown to him. The messages which Campbell d e l i v e r s are important to the A l l i e s , but they are eq u a l l y important to the Germans. The r e s u l t i s that he s a t i s f i e s the German need f o r e f f e c t i v e propaganda and the A l l i e s ' need f o r secret i n f o r m a t i o n . Campbell d i s c o v e r s that one cannot be c e r t a i n that one i s understood i n the manner one intends. He cannot understand why so many people were so w i l l i n g to b e l i e v e what he had to say: I had hoped as a broadcaster, to be merely l u d i c r o u s , but t h i s i s a hard world to be l u d i c r o u s i n , w i t h so many human beings so r e l u c t a n t to laugh, so incapable of thought, so eager to b e l i e v e and s n a r l and hate. So many people wanted to b e l i e v e me '. (120) I r o n i c a l l y , h i s most s k e p t i c a l c r i t i c , h i s f a t h e r - i n - l a w , Werner Noth, l i s t e n s c a r e f u l l y to every broadcast f o r any h i n t t h a t h i s son-in-law i s an agent f o r the A l l i e s . H i s co n c l u s i o n a f t e r l i s t e n i n g to numerous broadcasts, most of which convey 66 secret information to the A l l i e s , i s that no amount of damage could he done by Campbell to o f f s e t the good he has done f o r the Nazi cause. On the other hand, Franklin Roosevelt, Campbell's most frequent target f o r c r i t i c i s m , i s his most devoted l i s t e n e r . He undoubtedly believes that whatever v i r u l e n t propaganda Campbell issues cannot offset the benefits of his reports. The r e s u l t of such pressure exerted upon Campbell from two p o l i t i c a l extremes i s a case of what he c a l l s schizpphrenia, a d i v i s i o n of the s e l f into opposing sides. Campbell's schizophrenia, which manifests i t s e l f i n a separation of public and private selves, resembles the condition of E l i o t Rosewater. He f e e l s strongly that h i s i d e n t i t y resides i n h i s private s e l f . He and h i s wife are capable even of speak-ing i n public i n voices never used or evaluated i n t h e i r private l i v e s : I f we had l i s t e n e d f o r more, had thought about what we heard, what a nauseated couple we would have been '. Away from the sovereign t e r r i t o r y of our nation of two, we talked l i k e the p a t r i o t i c lunatics a l l around us. (44) The s p l i t within Campbell i s symptomatic of an i l l n e s s within h i s society, as Campbell suggests i n his decision to re-dedicate h i s book: 67 I would p r e f e r to dedica te i t to one f a m i l i a r person, male or female, w i d e l y known to have done e v i l w h i l e s ay ing to h i m s e l f , "A very good me, the r e a l me, a me made i n heaven, i s h idden deep i n s i d e . " ( x i i ) The person he dec ides to r e - d e d i c a t e the book to i s h i m s e l f , a man convinced tha t h i s a r t served good, and t h a t , by ex tens -i o n , the r e a l Campbell served good, w h i l e as a p u b l i c f i g u r e he served e v i l . The book cou ld e a s i l y have been ded ica ted to a number of o ther people , a l l s i m i l a r l y convinced tha t they too are s e r v i n g good. Nea r ly every person i n the n o v e l i s possessed of a d u a l p e r s o n a l i t y . Each has the a b i l i t y to j u s t i f y h i s a c t i o n s as good by reference to the s ide he i s on. Campbell i s the on ly one who does not have such a c o n v i c t i o n . When he cons ide r s h i s r o l e as a propagandis t he r e f l e c t s : " I can h a r d l y deny that I s a i d them. A l l I can say i s tha t I d i d n ' t b e l i e v e them, tha t I knew f u l l w e l l what i g n o r a n t , d e s t r u c t i v e , obscenely j o c u l a r t h ings I was s ay ing" (133) . Campbell i s surrounded by men who b e l i e v e a b s o l u t e l y i n what they are do ing i n the war . What these men l a c k i s the f a c u l t y f o r c r i t i c a l judgment. Men l i k e Hoess, Jones , and O'Hare have the a b i l i t y to over look s imple , b a s i c t r u t h s and so s u f f e r no g u i l t as a r e s u l t of t h e i r a c t i o n s . They see no c o n t r a d i c t i o n s , i n what they say and do. Such an 68 a b i l i t y to over look i n c o n s i s t e n c i e s and a b s u r d i t i e s a l l o w s such a d i s p a r a t e group as Jones , Fa ther K e e l e y , V i c e -Bundesfueher Krapptauer and the B lack Fuehrer to e x i s t toge ther i n the same household . Campbel l , on the o ther hand, cannot over look any p e r t i n e n t f a c t s : ...I have never tampered w i t h a s i n g l e t oo th i n my thought machine, such as i t i s . There are t e e t h m i s s i n g , God knows—some I was born w i t h o u t , t e e th tha t w i l l never grow. And other t e e th have been s t r i p p e d by the c l u t c h l e s s s h i f t s of h i s t o r y — But never have I w i l f u l l y des t royed a too th on a gear of my t h i n k i n g machine. Never have I s a i d to myse l f , "Th i s f a c t I can do w i t h o u t . " (163) Campbel l ' s awareness of the i m p l i c a t i o n s of h i s a c t i o n s g ives him a f e e l i n g of u n c e r t a i n t y and l a c k of purpose which i s shared by none of the people who serve the numerous causes, each of which c l a ims to be the au then t i c one. Vonnegut 's c r i t i c i s m of Campbell i s i m p l i c i t i n the n o v e l where Vonnegut a l l o w s Campbell to speak by tu rns i n tones which suggest s e l f - p i t y , i r o n y and und i sgu i sed candor. Campbell pretended to be a N a z i agent, and he was one. The consequences of h i s involvement i n the N a z i cause make him cu lpab le f o r the cr imes wh ich , as a p ropagandis t , he encour-aged. On the other hand, Vonnegut i s aware o f the f a c t t ha t 69 c e r t a i n acc iden t s of b i r t h can b r i n g about great changes i n human d e s t i n y . H i s own f e e l i n g i s tha t " I f I ' d been born i n Germany, I suppose I would have been a N a z i , bopping Jews and gyps ies and Po l e s around, l e a v i n g boots s t i c k i n g out of snow-banks, warming myse l f w i t h my s e c r e t l y v i r t u o u s i n s i d e s " ( v i i i ) . There i s no s o l u t i o n to t h i s problem except i n the hope tha t people w i l l l e a r n to penetra te the l e v e l s of decep t ion which prevent them from see ing t h e i r t rue mo t ive s . You are what you say you a re , Vonnegut c l a i m s , and i t i s exceed ing ly dangerous to d i s g u i s e the f a c t w i t h r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n s . Th i s p o i n t i s made q u i t e c l e a r by the example of Arpad Kovacs , one of Campbel l ' s ass igned guards i n the I s r a e l i p r i s o n . Dur ing the war Kovacs masqueraded as an S . S . o f f i c e r w h i l e , i n r e a l i t y , he was a Jew. Kovacs pe rce ives no d i s c r e p a n c i e s between h i s two p e r s o n a l i t i e s and takes p r ide i n h i s a b i l i t y to f u n c t i o n e f f e c t i v e l y w i t h two i d e n t i t i e s . A s i m i l a r escape i s not open to Campbell because h i s a c t i o n s as a N a z i propagandis t were so "obscenely p u b l i c " and because he can f i n d no au then t i c cause w i t h which to i d e n t i f y . He i s n e i t h e r German nor American, so those who have a de s i r e to p r o j e c t t h e i r own ha t red or g r a t i t u d e upon some objec t can e a s i l y use Campbel l . He may be impr isoned deservedly because of h i s cr imes aga ins t humanity, but the s e l f - r i g h t e o u s n e s s o f those 70 who seek to pun i sh him i s h y p o c r i t i c a l . He i s no more g u i l t y o f war crimes than i n Kovacs , who, by a cu r ious t u r n of f a t e , i s the j a i l e r and not the p r i s o n e r . Campbell i s i n every way the s a c r i f i c i a l v i c t i m and m i r r o r of the s o c i e t y i n which he l i v e s . I n t h i s r espec t he resembles n e a r l y a l l of Vonnegut 's p r o t a g o n i s t s , but c h i e f l y M a l a c h i Constant . He stands as a p u b l i c image of h i s f e l l o w c i t i z e n s and as an ind ic tmen t of t h e i r way of l i f e . He l i v e s i n a wor ld i n which decep t ion r a t h e r than honesty p r e v a i l s and i n which i t i s imposs ib l e to a s c e r t a i n w i t h any degree of accuracy whether a pe r son ' s p u b l i c statements and a c t i o n s have any r e l a t i o n to h i s pe r sona l c o n v i c t i o n s . L i k e so many of Vonnegut 's p r o t a g o n i s t s , Campbell l i v e s i n a wor ld i n which men are engaged i n c e s s a n t l y i n c r e a t i n g personae to d i s g u i s e what they b e l i e v e to be t h e i r r e a l s e l v e s . Such a defence aga in s t the f ea r of be ing d i s cove red permits the numerous double agents i n the n o v e l to adopt r o l e s which are a b s o l u t e l y c o n t r a d i c t o r y . When everyone pretends to be always other than they c l a i m i t becomes imposs ib l e to t r u s t anyone or to b e l i e v e i n a n y t h i n g . Such a s i t u a t i o n e a s i l y c rea tes a f e e l i n g of paranoia s ince no one i s sure who anyone e l se i s . In such a s o c i e t y no th ing i s s u b s t a n t i a l ; e v e r y t h i n g i s capable of d i s t o r t i o n and r e - i n t e r p r e t a t i o n . 71 M e s s a g e s a p p e a r i n a b u n d a n c e b u t c a r r y a m u l t i p l i c i t y o f m e a n i n g s a n d i n f e r e n c e s . C a m p b e l l ' s p u b l i c s t a t e m e n t s a r e a n e x a m p l e o f s u c h a s i t u a t i o n . A t t i m e s e v e n h e , o p e r a t i n g a s a d o u b l e a g e n t , i s u n a w a r e o f t h e c o n t e n t s o f t h e m e s s a g e s t h a t h e d e l i v e r s . A t o n e p o i n t , h e t r a n s m i t s n e w s o f h i s w i f e ' s d e a t h w i t h o u t e v e n b e i n g a w a r e o f i t . C a m p b e l l d i s c o v e r s t h a t e v e n h i s m o s t p r i v a t e s t a t e m e n t s a r e c a p a b l e o f d i s t o r t i o n . A R u s s i a n s o l d i e r s e i z e s C a m p b e l l ' s p l a y s , p o e m s a n d d i a r y , a n d h e t r a n s l a t e s a n d p u b l i s h e s t h e m u n d e r a n o t h e r n a m e . T h e p u r p o s e o f t h e t r a n s l a t i o n i s t o p r o v i d e v i c a r i o u s e m o t i o n a l f a n t a s i e s t o a n a t i o n b u r d e n e d w i t h t h e r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s o f a n o v e r w h e l m i n g e x t e r n a l r e a l i t y . C a m p b e l l ' s f o r m e r b e l i e f t h a t h i s m o s t p r i v a t e t h o u g h t s a n d i d e a l s w e r e s e c u r e f r o m i n t e r f e r e n c e b y t h e o u t s i d e w o r l d c o l l a p s e s a s h e f i n d s t h a t h i s w o r k s a r e c a p a b l e o f d i s t o r t i o n l i k e a n y o n e e l s e ' s : T h e p a r t o f me t h a t w a n t e d t o t e l l t h e t r u t h g o t t u r n e d i n t o a n e x p e r t l i a r 1 T h e l o v e r i n me g o t t u r n e d i n t o u g l i n e s s s u c h a s t h e w o r l d h a s r a r e l y s e e n b e f o r e . (150) He l e a r n s t h a t j u s t a s H i t l e r c a n r e s p o n d e m o t i o n a l l y t o t h e G e t t y s b u r g A d d r e s s , s o t h e R u s s i a n s c a n r e s p o n d t o h i s w o r k s , d i s t o r t i n g t h e m a s t h e y do s o . 72 Campbell cont inues to be the ob jec t over which competing f a c t i o n s s t rugg le even a f t e r the war . H i s p r i v a t e l i f e i s f u r t h e r exposed and used by h i s f r i e n d George K r a f t and h i s w i f e ' s s i s t e r , R e s i Noth . K r a f t , who i s the o rgan ize r of a Russ i an spy r i n g , masquerades as the widower and r e c l u s e i n New York e i t y . R e s i , who i s a l s o a Russ ian agent, assumes her s i s t e r ' s i d e n t i t y i n an attempt to f i n d a p lace f o r h e r -s e l f i n Campbe l l ' s l i f e , l i k e everyone e l s e , she i s an agent of decep t ion and her m i s s i o n i s not to p a r t i c i p a t e i n any r e j u v e n a t i o n of Campbel l ' s l i f e but to a s s i s t i n h i s t r a n s p o r t a t i o n to the Sov ie t Union where he can be used as a p u b l i c example of tha t c o m p l i c i t y between the Germans and the Americans i n the war. The r e l a t i o n s h i p tha t Campbell has w i t h George K r a f t and R e s i Noth p rov ides a temporary p o s s i b i l i t y of a r e t u r n to a s t a te of a f f a i r s ve ry s i m i l a r to tha t enjoyed by Campbell p r i o r to the war. Campbe l l ' s slow u n f o l d i n g reaches the po in t at v /hich he e n t e r t a i n s the p o s s i b i l i t y of resuming h i s w r i t i n g once a g a i n . He i s i n the fo r tuna te p o s i t i o n of be ing able to r e -cap tu re the exper ience of an e a r l i e r i d y l l i c r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h h i s wi fe and h i s best f r i e n d Heinz Sch i ldknech t by drawing c lo se to R e s i Noth and George K r a f t . Wi th the r e t u r n of s t a b i l i t y to h i s l i f e Campbell begins to t h i n k once more of the r e -e s t ab l i shmen t of h i s w o r l d . 73 He i s o f fe red the chance to escape from the o b l i g a t i o n s of l i v i n g i n a h i g h l y organized s o c i e t y . The p l a n which i s f i n a l l y agreed upon i s a f l i g h t to some e x o t i c c l i m a t e , '•one of the warm p laces purpor ted to be Edens" (119) . Th i s dream of escape to some s imple , p a s t o r a l s e t t i n g looks back to s i m i l a r dreams by Proteus and Constant and a n t i c i p a t e s s i m i l a r dreams by l a t e r p r o t a g o n i s t s . Campbel l ' s dream vanishes under the pressure of r e a l i t y . There can be no escape, f o r there i s no one w i t h whom to share the dream. K r a f t s imply p lans to t r anspo r t Campbell to i n h o s p i t a b l e Russ ian c o u r t s . K r a f t can m e r c i l e s s l y s a c r i f i c e h i s f r i e n d to an unjus t t r i a l because he, l i k e everyone e l se i n the n o v e l , has developed a defense aga ins t compassion and hones ty . K r a f t i s not the widower and r e c l u s e he c l a ims to be; nor i s he the o rgan i ze r of a Russ ian espionage u n i t i n the U n i t e d S ta tes as he t h i n k s he i s . K r a f t d i s c o v e r s tha t he i s no more i n c o n t r o l of h i s f a te than anyone e l s e i s . H i s espionage r i n g has been i n f i l t r a t e d e f f e c t i v e l y by American agents , and so h i s t r i u m p h a l r e t u r n to Russ ia w i l l b r i n g not acco lades , but death . K r a f t should be h u m i l i a t e d and^crushed by h i s exposure to r i d i c u l e and O f a i l u r e , but he has developed a means o f escape by assuming a r o l e which i s concealed by h i s p u b l i c a c t i v i t i e s as an espionage agent: 74 K r a f t thought the s i t u a t i o n over , and s c h i z o p h r e n i a rescued him n e a t l y . "None of t h i s r e a l l y concerns me," he s a i d and h i s u r b a n i t y r e t u r n e d . "Why n o t , " s a i d the boss . "Because I 'm a p a i n t e r , " s a i d K r a f t . " T h a t ' s the main t h i n g tha t I am." ( 1 6 5 ) K r a f t ' s i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h h i s r o l e as an a r t i s t i s a form of madness r e s u l t i n g from h i s extreme removal from the concerns o f l i f e around him and h i s defence i s , l i k e C a m p b e l l ' s , an inadequate one. Campbell l e a r n s tha t h i s r e t r e a t i n t o the w o r l d of a r t i s i n s u f f i c i e n t . Such a r e t r e a t cou ld not save h i s w i f e ' s l i f e , nor cou ld i t preserve i n t a c t h i s " n a t i o n of two" . As a defence aga ins t submersion i n a mad and chao t i c w o r l d such a r e t r e a t has disadvantages as w e l l as advantages. A f t e r the war, t h i n k i n g of ye t another escape, t h i s t ime through morphine, Campbell r e f l e c t s : But then I understood tha t I was a l r eady drugged. I was f e e l i n g no p a i n . My n a r c o t i c was what had got me through the war; i t was an a b i l i t y to l e t my emotions be s t i r r e d by on ly one t h i n g — my love f o r H e l g a . Th i s c o n c e n t r a t i o n of my emotions on so sma l l an area had begun as a young l o v e r ' s happy i l l u s i o n , had developed i n t o a device to keep me from going insane du r ing the war, and had f i n a l l y become the permanent a x i s about which my thoughts r e v o l v e d . (47) By saving h i m s e l f from madness, Campbell has condemned h im-75 s e l f to s u f f e r from h i s f e e l i n g s of g u i l t . A l though Campbell longs f o r some escape from the pressure of involvement i n s o c i e t y he d i s c o v e r s tha t there can be no s u c c e s s f u l escape from h i s p u b l i c o b l i g a t i o n s . He can only look from a d i s t ance a t p o s s i b l e pa rad i ses such as the " l i t t l e Eden" (30) which h i s New York apartment o v e r l o o k s . C h i l d r e n p l ay there heed-l e s s of the p a i n and misery of l i f e i n h i s purga to ry . L i k e s e v e r a l o ther of Vonnegut 's p r o t a g o n i s t s , Campbell longs f o r an i d y l l i c s e t t i n g where he can be a t peace w i t h h i m s e l f . Ins tead of be ing o f fe red an oppor tun i ty to remove h i m s e l f to an i d e a l s t a t e , Campbell i s condemned to l i v e i n a purga-t o r i a l s t a t e i n which no judgment i s passed upon h im. He i s fo rced to bear h i s g u i l t and i s g iven no oppor tun i ty to be t r i e d f o r h i s c r imes . Wi th the c o l l a p s e of h i s " n a t i o n of two" Campbell i s depr ived of a l l a t tachments . As a " s t a t e -l e s s person" he has made no p r o v i s i o n s to enter the w o r l d . By a c r u e l t u r n of f a te he i s f reed and a l lowed to l i v e i n the w o r l d wi thou t be ing a pa r t of i t . He i s s imply ignored to the p o i n t where i t i s safe and to resume the use of h i s own name. A man w i t h no i d e n t i t y and whose own name i s l i t t l e more than a f i c t i o n , Campbell becomes a r e c l u s e i n one of the l a r g e s t c i t i e s of the w o r l d . He i s the s a c r i f i c i a l v i c t i m who i s e x p e l l e d from every n a t i o n because 76 h i s cr imes are so "obscenely p u b l i c . " Campbel l ' s g u i l t i s , however, no g rea te r than tha t of any of the other cha rac te r s i n the n o v e l . He has the s p e c i a l mis for tune ' o f hav ing recorded h i s cr imes on tape and i n p r i n t . The messages which he d e l i v e r e d , however, were the messages of o t h e r s . In t h i s respec t Campbel l ' s g u i l t i s shared by every person who b e n e f i t t e d i n some way from h i s b roadcas t s . Such persons i n c l u d e not on ly minor f u n c t i o n a r i e s l i k e Werner Noth , crazed p a t r i o t s l i k e the Reverend Jones , but a l s o prominent persons l i k e H i t l e r and R o o s e v e l t . When Campbell i s f r eed through the secre t i n t e r c e s s i o n of Wir tanen and re turned to the "mainstream of l i f e " (167) he i s incapab le of movement. He r e a l i z e s tha t freedom to go anywhere means tha t he has no freedom at a l l s ince there i s nowhere f o r him to go. What had go t t en him through so many years was a cu r ious ambivalence towards h i s f e l l o w c r e a t -u re s , but now even h i s c u r i o s i t y has l e f t h im. Without h i s own c u r i o s i t y and a sense of d i r e c t i o n p rov ided .by someone other than h i m s e l f , Campbell i s p a r a l y z e d . . Standing on the s t r e e t , he i s f i n a l l y t o l d to move a long by a po l iceman. Incapable of making pe r sona l d e c i s i o n s , he i s once aga in manipula ted by e x t e r n a l f o r c e s . Campbe l l ' s d e c i s i o n to surrender to I s r a e l i cour t s 77 r e s u l t s from h i s r e a l i z a t i o n tha t complete freedom such as he has been granted i s i n t o l e r a b l e . The Jews promise him severe and d e c i s i v e punishment. H i s i n i t i a l f e a r of be ing judged becomes a f ea r of not be ing judged. He cannot accept the g r a t i t u d e of b i g o t s l i k e O'Hare or l u n a t i c s l i k e Jones and h i s c o l l e a g u e s , and he can no longer l i v e w i t h the ha t red of the Jews pur su ing him, so he surrenders to the I s r a e l i c o u r t s . K r a f t ' s a f f a d a v i t , sent i n defence of Campbel l , i s , l i k e Campbel l ' s own submiss ions , f u r t h e r evidence of h i s g u i l t . "He o f f e r s the o p i n i o n that I was an ardent N a z i , but tha t I s h o u l d n ' t be h e l d r e s p o n s i b l e f o r my a c t s , s ince I was a p o l i t i c a l i d i o t , an a r t i s t who cou ld not d i s t i n g u i s h between r e a l i t y and dreams" (189) . W i r t a n e n ' s l e t t e r con ta ins the necessary i n f o r m a t i o n to b r i n g about Campbel l ' s freedom. I f Campbell accepted w i r t a n e n ' s o f f e r of a s s i s t a n c e he would once more be re tu rned to the "mainstream of l i f e . " He would be assured of the p r a i s e of those who had fo rmer ly condemned h im. However, Campbell n e i t h e r deserves nor d e s i r e s t h e i r p r a i s e , and he cannot bear the k i n d of freedom such an escape would p rov ide h im. He i s a " s t a t e l e s s person" and no cour t d e c i s i o n can ever a l t e r tha t f a c t . F i n a l l y , Campbell e l e c t s to be h i s own t r i b u n a l and i n the l a s t moments of h i s 78 l i f e pronounces sentence upon h i m s e l f . H i s d e c i s i o n to commit s u i c i d e r e s u l t s from the steady e l i m i n a t i o n of the reasons f o r c o n t i n u i n g to l i v e . Campbel l ' s gesture i s one of r e n u n c i a t i o n . He refuses to accept s o c i e t y ' s judgment because i t i s not a f a i r one. He r e j e c t s any o b l i g a t i o n to a s o c i e t y i n which he never a c t u a l l y p a r t i c i p a t e d . Throughout h i s l i f e he l i v e d f o r h i s p r i v a t e w o r l d , and w i t h the disappearance of t ha t , he has a b s o l u t e l y no th ing to l i v e f o r . H i s gesture i s one of hope-l e s s n e s s , f o r he cannot p a r t i c i p a t e i n a wor ld the m a j o r i t y of whose members are s a t i s f i e d to "hate wi thou t r e s e r v a t i o n " (181) and to i d e n t i f y themselves w i t h causes which permit them to e x e r c i s e t h e i r c apac i t y f o r c r e a t i n g m i s e r y . On the other hand, he cannot l i v e s ecu re ly i n a p r i v a t e w o r l d which attempt to ignore the r e a l i t i e s of the e x t e r n a l w o r l d . Campbell r e l i e too e x c l u s i v e l y upon the resources of h i s " n a t i o n of two" j u s t as a l a t e r p r o t a g o n i s t — E l i o t Rosewa te r—re l i e s upon h i s involvement w i t h s o c i e t y to the e x c l u s i o n of h i s n a t i o n of two Campbe l l ' s w o r l d i s too r e s t r i c t i v e j u s t as Rosewater 1 s i s too i n c l u s i v e . Both men are defeated by t h e i r attempts to l i v e v / i t h i n the boundaries of the wor lds they b u i l d . Howard Campbell takes h i s p lace as the t h i r d of Vonnegut ' s p r o t a g o n i s t s to be defeated i n h i s attempts to mediate between p u b l i c o b l i g a t i o n s and pe r sona l needs. The 79 a l t e r n a t i v e s which face him are "both unaccep tab le . He cannot l i v e comfortably i n a cor rup t s o c i e t y , nor can he l i v e e x c l u s -i v e l y i n an i d y l l i c and romantic w o r l d . In C a t ' s Cradle Jonah faces a s i m i l a r dilemma because, l i k e the three p rev ious p r o t a g o n i s t s , he i s a Utopian dreamer who hopes tha t the wor ld can become a more h o s p i t a b l e p lace w i t h i n which to l i v e . He i s aware, too , of the many f a c t o r s which m i t i g a t e aga ins t such a v i ew. In t h i s n o v e l Vonnegut inven t s the r e l i g i o n o f Bokonon to a s s i s t him i n h i s e x p l a n a t i o n of the way i n which an i n d i v i d u a l must mediate between p u b l i c and p r i v a t e r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s . I am h o r r o r - s t r u c k at t h i s antemosaic, unsourced ex i s t ence of the unspeakable t e r r o r s of the whale, wh ich , hav ing been before a l l t ime , must needs e x i s t a f t e r a l l humane ages are over . Moby-Dick Herman M e l v i l l e Have you entered the storehouses of the snow, or have you seen the storehouses of the h a i l , which I have rese rved f o r the time of t r o u b l e , f o r the day of b a t t l e and war? What i s the way to the p l ace where the l i g h t i s d i s t r i b u t e d , or where the east wind i s s c a t t e r e d upon the ear th? Has the r a i n a f a t h e r , or who has begot ten the drops of dew? Prom whose womb d i d the drops of i c e come f o r t h , and who has g iven b i r t h to the hoa r f ro s t o f heaven? The waters become hard l i k e s tone, and the face of the deep i s f r o z e n . The Book of Job I mean to examine a l l s t r ong h i n t s as to what on E a r t h we, c o l l e c t i v e l y , have been up t o . Oa t ' s Cradle K u r t Vonnegut, J r . CHAPTER IV CAT'S CRADLE The absurd pa t t e rns which men inven t and then attempt to fo rce other men to l i v e w i t h i n are nowhere more e f f e c t i v e l y s a t i r i z e d than i n Vonnegut 's f o u r t h n o v e l , C a t ' s Cradle (1963). The imaginary i s l a n d of San Lorenzo, a p o t e n t i a l e x o t i c p a r a d i s e , p rov ides the s e t t i n g f o r t h i s n o v e l . The people of San Lorenzo have no f i r m c o n v i c t i o n s of t h e i r own, nor do they have any defence aga ins t those who appear on the i s l a n d and t r y to impose t h e i r w i l l on the n a t i v e s . The h i s t o r y of San Lorenzo i s a h i s t o r y of c o l o n i a l dominat ion by the major m e r c a n t i l e powers of the western w o r l d . Each of these c o u n t r i e s c la imed the t i n y i s l a n d , but gave up a l l c l a ims when cha l l enged by another n a t i o n . The res idue l e f t by these numerous c o l o n i a l i n c u r s i o n s i s the C a t h o l i c Church and C a s t l e Sugar, I n c . These two o r g a n i z a t i o n s symbolize the two major pa t t e rns of western c i v i l i z a t i o n — r e l i g i o n and c a p i t a l i s m . The San Lorenzans are a p a t h e t i c towards any f o r e i g n 80 8 1 dominat ion of t h e i r i s l a n d . They accept each new system as i t i s imposed upon them, a l though they pay l i t t l e heed to t h e o r i e s of r e l i g i o n or government. The i r most p r e s s i n g con-cern i s w i t h b a s i c s u r v i v a l , and none o f the f o r e i g n powers has done any th ing to s i g n i f i c a n t l y change the fa te of the San Lorenzans who seem to be condemned fo reve r to l i v e s of pover ty and d i s ea se . I t i s aga ins t t h i s p e c u l i a r backdrop tha t Vonnegut has h i s cha r ac t e r s , most of whom are Americans , perform. Each o f the cha rac te r s i n the n o v e l i s a t t r a c t e d to San Lorenzo f o r some reason and each b r i n g s w i t h him c e r t a i n preconcep-t i o n s of how a s o c i e t y should opera te . San Lorenzo i s l i k e a p iece of pu t ty out of which those who have an i n t e r e s t can make whatever shape they w i s h . The shapes or pa t t e rns which people make are symbol ized by the c a t ' s c r a d l e , a l a b y r i n t h of s t r i n g which assumes a s i g n i f i c a n t shape i f i t i s p r o p e r l y manipu la ted . . However, the s t r i n g f i g u r e s may q u i c k l y t u rn to t ang les i f the person makes a mi s t ake . The s t r i n g f i g u r e s are extremely f r a g i l e and are e a s i l y des t royed j u s t as those tenuous pa t t e rns t ha t human beings crea te are e a s i l y des t royed . U s i n g the example of t h i s c h i l d 1 s game, Vonnegut examines man's c u r i o s i t y about the presence of a des ign i n h i s w o r l d . 82 A d u l t s l i k e F e l i x Hoenikker h o l d s t r i n g mazes up i n f r o n t of t h e i r c h i l d r e n ' s faces and i n v i t e them to see the des ign i n the s t r i n g . Some see the p a t t e r n which i s supposed to be the re ; o the rs , l i k e l i t t l e Newt, b e l i e v e tha t n A c a t ' s c r a d l e i s n o t h i n g but a bunch of X ' s between somebody's hands, and l i t t l e k i d s look and look and look at a l l those X ' s . . . 0 ' 'And? 1 ' "No damn ca t , and no damn c r a d l e . " 1 There may be no cat and no c r a d l e , but most people are i n t r i g u e d by the p o s s i b i l i t y tha t w i t h i n the maze of s t r i n g there i s a d i s t i n g u i s a b l e form. Thus, w i t h i n the n o v e l , the p r o f u s i o n of s o c i a l , p o l i t i c a l and r e l i g i o u s pa t t e rns r e f l e c t s the need of most people to pe rce ive meaning and order w i t h i n s o c i e t y and w i t h i n the u n i v e r s e . Somewhere behind the forms of the r e a l wor ld there may l u r k the face of God, and men of a l l ages have been tempted to search the l a b y r i n t h s of the wor ld f o r evidence tha t He e x i s t s w i t h i n the p a t t e r n which seems to be i n ev idence . Jonah, the p r o t a g o n i s t of t h i s n o v e l , i s i n v o l v e d i n an e x p l o r a t i o n and e v a l u a t i o n of a number of these p a t t e r n s . He resembles the p r o t a g o n i s t s of the former nove l s i n h i s d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n w i t h h i s present mode of e x i s t e n c e . H i s l i f e i n New York C i t y i s r o u t i n e and monotonous and he summarizes i t , a p p r o p r i a t e l y , i n a s t a t i s t i c a l f a s h i o n : 83 "When I was a younger man—two wives ago, 250,000 c i g a r e t t e s 2 ago, 3,000 quar ts of booze a g o . . . 1 1 ( 1 1 ) . L i v i n g w i t h i n the p a t t e r n of l i f e i n Amer ica , Jonah f e e l s tha t h i s ex i s t ence i s p o i n t l e s s and, l i k e M a l a c h i Constant , he seeks some meaning-f u l course . Jonah i s an i d e a l i s t who resembles Pro teus i n h i s d e s i r e to improve the l o t o f h i s f e l l o w man. He i s a wanderer who t r a v e l s , not to the s t a r s , but to a t i n y Ca r r i bean i s l a n d . H i s s e l f - c o n s c i o u s adopt ion of the name Jonah i n d i c -a ted h i s awareness of h i s mys te r ious but important r o l e . He f e e l s tha t "somebody or something has compelled me to be c e r t a i n p l aces at c e r t a i n t imes , wi thou t f a i l . Conveyances and mot ives , both conven t iona l and b i z a r r e , have been p rov ided" ( 1 1 ) . Jonah 1 s d e c i s i o n to leave h i s r o u t i n e l i f e i n America i s not wi thou t precedent i n Vonnegut ' s other n o v e l s . Jonah, however, demonstrates tha t he i s aware of a f u r t h e r l i t e r a r y precedent when, i m i t a t i o n of the ce l eb ra t ed opening of Moby-Dick , he announces: " C a l l me Jonah" (11 ) . L i k e Ishmael , Jonah i s d i s s a t i s f i e d w i t h h i s commonplace and unremarkable ex i s t ence and seeks adventure by removing h i m s e l f from h i s present environment. He shares w i t h Ishmael a f e e l i n g tha t h i s des t iny w i l l somehow manifes t i t s e l f g r a d u a l l y as h i s t r a v e l s proceed. He overcomes the l a s t t r a ce s of r e l u c t a n c e 84 when, upon seeing h i s name on a very o l d tombstone i n M a r v i n Breed ' s shop, he concludes tha t " P e c u l i a r t r a v e l suggest ions are dancing l e s sons from God" (50). He accepts the n e c e s s i t y of t r a v e l l i n g i n doubt, o f be ing always i n the midst of con fus ion . S tanding " i n the middes t" , Jonah e l e c t s to f o l l o w the course of h i s k a r a s s , a team which , Bokonon says , does God's w i l l w i thou t ever d i s c o v e r i n g what i t i s d o i n g . Jonah makes i t c l e a r at the beg inn ing of h i s book t ha t , w h i l e i t i s not fo rb idden to t r y to d i s c o v e r the l i m i t s of a k a r a s s , one must be aware of "the f o l l y of p re tend ing to d i s c o v e r , to understand" (13 ) . A t the same t ime , he announces tha t " I i n t end i n t h i s book to i n c l u d e as many members of my ka rass as p o s s i b l e , and I mean to examine a l l s t rong h i n t s as to what on E a r t h we, c o l l e c t i v e l y , have been up to" (13 ) . Jonah ' s d e c i s i o n to f o l l o w the d i r e c t i o n set by h i s ka r a s s p a r a l l e l s I shmae l ' s d e c i s i o n to sh ip aboard the Pequod: Though I cannot t e l l why i t was e x a c t l y tha t those stage managers, the Pa tes , put me down f o r t h i s shabby pa r t of a w h a l i n g voyage, when o thers were set down f o r magni f i cen t p a r t s i n h i g h t r a g e d i e s , and short and easy p a r t s i n g e n t e e l comedies, and j o l l y pa r t s i n farces—though I cannot t e l l why t h i s was e x a c t l y ; y e t , now tha t I r e c a l l a l l the c i rcumstances , I t h i n k I see a l i t t l e i n t o the sp r ings and mot ives which be ing 85 cunning ly presented to me under v a r i o u s d i s g u i s e s , induced me to set about performing the par t I d i d , bes ides c a j o l i n g me i n t o the d e l u s i o n tha t i t was a choice r e s u l t i n g from my own unbiased f ree w i l l and d i s c r i m i n a t i n g judgment. ^ Jonah ' s n a r r a t i v e , l i k e I shmae l ' s , at tempts to make sense of the pa r t s men p lay i n the l i v e s of other men and the pa r t s men p lay i n the cosmic drama. In the sense tha t Vonnegut r e tu rns to t h i s theme i n each of h i s n o v e l s , he shares Jonah ' s concern w i t h such i s s u e s . Not a l l people e l e c t to f o l l o w the course of t h e i r k a r a s s . There are i n the n o v e l two other groups of i n d i v i -d u a l s , those who belong to a g ranfa loon and those who belong to a duprass . A granfa loon i s an a r t i f i c i a l group of people h e l d together by no very meaningful bond, and examples of such groups abound i n the n o v e l . H a z e l Crosby, the main ex-ponent of g ranfa loonery , b e l i e v e s i n n a t i o n a l groups such as Americans and r e g i o n a l groups such as H o o s i e r s . N e i t h e r of these groups has any p a r t i c u l a r meaning f o r the members o f a ka rass who may belong to d i f f e r e n t s o c i a l c l a s s e s , even to d i f f e r e n t n a t i o n s . The n o v e l s & t i r i z e s those who, l i k e the Crosbys , put t h e i r f a i t h i n i n s t i t u t i o n s . Such people make the mistake of measuring e v e r y t h i n g by i t s r e l a t i o n to the i n s t i t u t i o n . I t i s p o s s i b l e , t he r e fo re , f o r H . Lowe Crosby 86 to d e l i g h t i n see ing the e f f i g i e s of ' ' nea r ly every enemy freedom ever had" be ing r i d d l e d w i t h b u l l e t s . The i d e n t i f i c -a t i o n w i t h an i n s t i t u t i o n i s a dangerous a c t , as Vonnegut makes c l e a r i n Mother N i g h t . There, the White C h r i s t i a n Minutemen shoot w i t h s e l f - r i g h t e o u s p r i d e a t the e f f i g i e s of nominal v i l l a i n s . The f a s c i n a t i o n w i t h o r g a n i z a t i o n s accounts i n pa r t f o r the success of f a s c i s t i c groups i n America as w e l l as i n Germany. Whi le the Crosbys are g regar ious and e x t r o v e r t e d , the Min tons , t h e i r f e l l o w t r a v e l l e r s , are calm and i n t r o v e r t e d . The Mintons are as f a r removed from involvement w i t h t h e i r f e l l o w human beings at the one extreme as the Crosbys are a t the o the r . Together, the Mintons form what Bokonon c a l l s a duprass, a "sweet ly conce i t ed es tab l i shment" which " c a n ' t be invaded, not even by c h i l d r e n born of such a un ion" ( 6 4 ) . The Mintons are desc r ibed w i t h compassion, but t h e i r p l i g h t i s a p a t h e t i c one. Min ton exper iences a severe s p l i t between h i s p u b l i c p e r s o n a l i t y and h i s p r i v a t e one. On the r e v i e w i n g stand he d e l i v e r s two speeches r a the r than one, the f i r s t an o f f i c i a l ambassador ia l speech, the second a b a r e l y a u d i b l e and meancholy one o f f e r i n g no hope f o r a s i g n i f i c a n t change i n the d e s t i n y of human b e i n g s . H o r l i c k and C l a i r e Min ton a re , l i k e the Campbells i n 87 Mother N i g h t , the e x c l u s i v e members o f a " n a t i o n of two." The complete s e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y of such unions appears to a t t r a c t Vonnegut, even though he recogn izes the severe l i m i t a t i o n s of such an arrangement. A complete w i thd rawa l from p u b l i c a f f a i r s can be d i s a s t r o u s , as the case of Campbell demonstrates. The inadequacy of the M i n t o n ' s un ion i s shown when, s t and ing on the waver ing parapet , they d e c l i n e to c ross over to s a f e t y . They plunge to t h e i r deaths together i n a d i g n i f i e d but u se l e s s manner. Jonah has no s a t i s f a c t o r y ph i losophy of l i f e . He i s as Mona desc r ibes him, a " m a n - w i t h - n o - r e l i g i o n " (142) . H i s d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n w i t h the l i v e s tha t most men l e a d causes h i s w i f e to c a l l him a " p e s s i m i s t " . However, he i s a l s o an i d e a l i s t who has a d e s i r e to see the fu ture of man improve. H i s U top ian dream and the oppor tun i ty to implement i t resemble tha t of McCabe and Johnson. He recogn izes as they d i d tha t t h i s impover ished l i t t l e i s l a n d w i l l never r i s e above i t s own mise ry , and he i s fo rced to i m i t a t e h i s p r e -decessors ' s epa ra t i on between the m a t e r i a l and s p i r i t u a l p r o v i s i o n s . Bokononism, the outlawed r e l i g i o n of San Lorenzo , p rov ides the people w i t h much-needed i l l u s i o n s , which become f o r them the everyday r e a l i t y . A c c o r d i n g to J u l i a n C a s t l e , Bokonon o r i g i n a l l y set up h i s r e l i g i o n " c y n i c a l l y and p l a y f u l l y , " 88 but "when i t became evident tha t no governmental or economic reform was going to make the people much l e s s m i s e r a b l e , the r e l i g i o n became the one r e a l instrument of hope. Tru th was the enemy of- the people , because the t r u t h was so t e r r i b l e , so Bokonon made i t h i s bus iness to prov ide the people w i t h b e t t e r and b e t t e r l i e s " (118). Bokonon, a y o u t h f u l f o l l o w e r of Gandhi , set about to inven t a r e l i g i o n tha t had no substance i n a c t u a l i t y . H i s warn ing , p l aced at the very beg inn ing of The Books o f Bokonon, reads : "Don ' t be a f o o l 1 I t i s no th ing but foma •' (17-7). H i s reason f o r i n v e n t i n g a r e l i g i o n which i s based e n t i r e l y on un t ru ths i s s t a t ed i n one of h i s Ca lypsos : I wanted a l l t h ings To seem to make some sense, So we a l l could be happy, yes , Ins tead of tense . And I made up l i e s So tha t they a l l f i t n i c e , And I made t h i s sad wor ld A p a r - a - d i s e . (90) I n s e t t i n g up h i s r e l i g i o n , Bokonon wished to s a t i s f y one of the most r e cu r r en t needs of man—a d e s i r e to know h i s p lace i n the scheme o f t h i n g s . Bokonon's r e l i g i o n i n c l u d e s a l l aspect of l i f e and seeks to p rov ide answers f o r man's ques t ions about the purpose of h i s a c t i o n s . Bokonon a l lowed h i m s e l f to be outlawed by McCabe be-cause he r e a l i z e d "That a r e a l l y good r e l i g i o n i s a form of 90 t reason" (118) and tha t , s ince n e i t h e r the government nor r e l i g i o n can p rov ide the necessary so lace a lone , the two must c o - e x i s t i n a s t a te of "dynamic t ens ion" (74 ) . As an out law, Bokonon i s i n a p o s i t i o n to o f f e r the people a p o s s i b l e a l t e r n a t i v e to t h e i r present c o n d i t i o n wi thou t hav ing to produce p h y s i c a l proof of h i s success . Bokonon and Trou t , the sc ience f i c t i o n w r i t e r whom Vonnegut uses so o f ten to express h i s v iew concern ing the c r e a t i o n of a u t o p i a , o f f e r imaginary wor lds i n which man's impulses .toward p e r f e c t i o n and happiness are r e a l i z e d . Bokonon 1 s l i e s " that a l l f i t n i c e " resemble the l i e s of the n o v e l i s t , and are qu i t e s i m i l a r to the l i e s tha t Vonnegut assembles i n the c r e a t i o n of h i s own a r t . However, Vonnegut does not avo id the t r u t h i n h i s n o v e l s , and i n t h i s respec t he d i f f e r s from Bokonon. Vonnegut*s n o v e l , which i s a l s o Jonah ' s n o v e l , encompasses a p l u r a l i t y of views ranging from Boko-nonism to f a c t u a l accounts of the d i scovery of i c e - n i n e . In C a t ' s Cradle Vonnegut c rea tes a l l the l i e s tha t " f i t n i c e " ; but he a l s o examines, w i t h i n the context of the San l o r e n z a n pa rad i se , the l i m i t s o f such a w o r l d . Jonah, Vonnegut ' s means of e x p l o r i n g h i s f i c t i o n a l w o r l d , b e l i e v e s i n the p o s s i b i l i t y of c r e a t i n g a u t o p i a i n San Lorenzo . Given the oppor tun i ty to implement h i s p l an f o r e s t a b l i s h i n g a u t o p i a , he i s fo rced to concede tha t the l i k e l i h o o d of 91 there ever be ing one i s remote. The fo rces tha t oppose the c o n s t r u c t i o n of such a p e r f e c t s t a te are both n a t u r a l and c r ea t ed . The San Lorenzans can never p a r t i c i p a t e i n the c r e a t i o n of a u t o p i a i n a c t u a l i t y because, a l l e f f o r t s to the c o n t r a r y , t h e i r l i v e s remain as 11 shor t and b r u t i s h and mean as ever" (119) . There i s , however, a f u r t h e r reason tha t they can never achieve a s t a te of happiness . There are those who seek, not to a s s i s t the San Lorenzans , but to c o n t r o l them f o r t h e i r own s e l f i s h ends. Such people b r i n g to the t i n y i s l a n d a new dimension i n t r u t h and a more f r i g h t e n i n g example of the r e a l i t y the i s l a n d e r s have had to encounter a l l a l o n g . The most impress ive v i s i t o r to the i s l a n d i s F r a n k l i n Hoenikker , the son of the nobe l l au rea t e p h y s i c i s t , F e l i x Hoenikker , the " fa the r of the atom bomb." F r a n k l i n b r ings w i t h him a t i n y p o r t i o n of i c e - n i n e , a t i n y ch ip of which has the p o t e n t i a l to c r y s t a l l i z e a l l mo i s tu r e . As impor t -ant as the ch ip of i c e - n i n e i s the a t t i t u d e which F r a n k l i n b r ings w i t h him to San Lorenzo . An outcas t as a c h i l d , F r a n k l i n developed a secre t l i f e f o r h i m s e l f , composed of i n t r i g u e s , p lans and schemes f o r c o n t r o l l i n g o ther peop le . F r a n k l i n b r ings the m e n t a l i t y of a f r u s t r a t e d c h i l d to h i s p o s i t i o n as t e c h n i c a l a d v i s o r to Papa M.onzano, the H a i t i a n s t y l e d d i c t a t o r . " F r a n k l i n i s accustomed to sca le model r ep re sen t a t i ons of l i f e and he makes no concess ions when he becomes i n v o l v e d w i t h r e a l people . In the basement of a hobby shop he cons t ruc t s a " f a n t a s t i c l i t t l e country b u i l t on plywood, an i s l a n d as p e r f e c t l y r e c t a n g u l a r as a township i n Kansas" (56). F r a n k l i n i s i n t o t a l c o n t r o l of the w o r l d he b u i l d s and, l i k e God, he can r ep l ace a mountain w i t h a l ake at w i l l . F r a n k l i n ' s o ther ch i ldhood exper ience w i t h f o r c i n g bugs to f i g h t i s r e l a t e d to h i s m a n i p u l a t i o n of the c rea tu res i n h i s w o r l d . Jonah r e f e r s to him as the " f u g i t i v e from j u s t i c e , the model-maker, the Great God Jehovah and Beelzebub of the bugs i n Mason j a r s " (59). F r a n k l i n , the son of a b r i l l i a n t i n v e n t o r , i s h i m s e l f merely a technocra t who i s concerned l e s s w i t h i n v e n t i o n than w i t h a p p l i c a t i o n . He uses h i s f a t h e r ' s i n v e n t i o n to advance h i s own ca ree r . However, he shares w i t h h i s f a the r a c e r t a i n mental d i s p o s i t i o n ; the two men are ded ica ted to t r u t h . To F r a n k l i n the possess ion o f t r u t h means i nc rea sed power and a g rea te r ex t ens ion of h i s w i l l over o t h e r s . F r a n k l i n ' s f a t h e r devoted h i s e n t i r e l i f e to the p u r s u i t of t r u t h w i t h -out ever q u e s t i o n i n g the va lue of amassing tremendous com-pendia of f a c t s . Whatever may have been F e l i x H o e n i k k e r ' s reasons f o r so d e d i c a t i n g h i m s e l f to the p u r s u i t of t r u t h , h i s c o l l e a g u e , 93 D r . Breed, c a r r i e s on h i s own p u b l i c r e l a t i o n s campaign r e g a r d i n g the famous s c i e n t i s t . Asa Breed i s convinced tha t no th ing shor t of the t r u t h can s a t i s f y the human i n s t i n c t to d i s c o v e r the purpose of e x i s t e n c e . I n an i n t e r v i e w w i t h Jonah he c l a ims tha t "New knowledge i s the most v a l u a b l e commodity on e a r t h . The more t r u t h we have to work w i t h , the r i c h e r we become" ( 3 6 ) . There i s , however, a great d i s p a r i t y between what the pure resea rchers cons ide r v a l u a b l e and what the average layman cons ide r s impor tan t . Th i s p o i n t i s c l e a r l y made i n a scene i n which Jonah i n t e r v i e w s one of D r . B reed ' s s e c r e t a r i e s : " D r . Breed keeps t e l l i n g me the main t h i n g w i t h D r . Hoenikker was t r u t h . " "You don ' t seem to ag ree . " " I d o n ' t know whether I agree or n o t . I j u s t have t r o u b l e unders tanding how t r u t h , a l l by i t s e l f , cou ld be enough f o r a pe r son . " (43) Jonah, too , f i n d s i t d i f f i c u l t to understand how t r u t h , a l l by i t s e l f , i s s u f f i c i e n t . The more he researches f o r h i s book about the d e s t r u c t i o n of H i rosh ima , the more he becomes s k e p t i c a l of t r u t h and what i t means f o r man. Jonah i s faced w i t h the same problem tha t Howard Campbell faced i n Mother N i g h t . The two w r i t e r s endeavor to "separate the r e a l from the f a k e . " The book which Jonah f i r s t proposed to w r i t e was e n t i t l e d , The Day the World Ended. I t was to be a " f a c t u a l " account of what prominent Americans had done on 94 the day the f i r s t atomic bomb was dropped on H i ro sh ima . Jonah t i r e s of c o m p i l i n g data f o r h i s book as he d i s c o v e r s tha t f a c t s are by themselves u n s a t i s f a c t o r y . G a t ' s C r a d l e , the book Jonah e v e n t u a l l y does w r i t e , i n c l u d e s much of the m a t e r i a l which The Day the World Ended might have con ta ined . Beyond t h i s , C a t ' s Cradle i n c l u d e s i n f o r m a t i o n about the a c t i v i t i e s o f c e r t a i n major personages • on another ,day when the wor ld a c t u a l l y does end. He l i v e s to see the most outrageous f a n t a s i e s become r e a l i t y and from the outse t he seems to suspect tha t the b o r d e r l i n e between f a c t and f i c t i o n i s not very c l e a r l y demarcated. Jonah i s , then , very e a r l y i n h i s t r a v e l s , " r i p e f o r Bokononism" ( 4 4 ) . Jonah subsc r ibes ve ry e a s i l y to Bokononism, f o r i t appears to o f f e r him a view of the w o r l d very much as he would l i k e to see i t . The c o n s o l i n g l i e s o f Bokonon become i n c r e a s i n g l y more important to Jonah and to the r e s t of the people on San Lorenzo as the th rea t of d e s t r u c t i o n by means of i c e - n i n e becomes r e a l i t y . I ce -n ine supplants pover ty and s i ckness as the overwhelming r e a l i t y which the i s l a n d e r s must confront and i c e - n i n e threa tens to des t roy e v e r y t h i n g i n s t a n t l y . The conf iden t f a i t h i n progress which i s made p o s s i b l e through the s t o c k p i l i n g o f q u a n t i t i e s of t r u t h tu rns i n t o a nightmare of u n c e r t a i n t y and confus ion . The 95 Crosbys , who were content w i t h t h e i r former e x i s t e n c e , are a b s o l u t e l y h e l p l e s s when thrown back upon t h e i r own d e v i c e s . H a z e l Crosby runs about c r y i n g , ' 'American!." as though the d e s t r u c t i v e tornadoes cared about the n a t i o n a l i t y of t h e i r v i c t i m s . I ce -n ine represen ts a s e r i o u s th rea t to the foundat ions of Bokononism because, i n a sense, i t i s the u l t i m a t e r e a l i t y . Al though many people s u r v i v e the ravages of the s torm-tossed w o r l d , few s u r v i v e i t s a f te rmath . Confronted w i t h the task of a t t empt ing to l i v e i n a wor ld tha t i s even more deso la te than before the i n t r u s i o n of F r a n k l i n Hoenikker , the i s l a n d e r s demand to be t o l d the meaning of t h i s l a t e s t out rage . They do what they never dared do be fo re : they capture the h o l y man and force him to answer t h e i r ques t ions d i r e c t l y . Bokonon*s on ly r e p l y to t h e i r demands that they be t o l d the purpose of the d e s t r u c t i o n i s t h a t , appa ren t ly , whoever engineered the ca tas t rophewished everyone to d i e . The i s l a n d e r s , faced w i t h no a l t e r n a t i v e , i t seems, choose to f o l l o w the d i r e c t i o n s of the spur ious ho ly man and d i e . A l l of the messages of Bokonon which Jonah d i s c o v e r s f o l l o w i n g the d e s t r u c t i o n of the i s l a n d c o n t a i n c y n i c a l statements s i m i l a r to those which he gave to the s u r v i v o r s o f the d i s a s t e r . However, Jonah i s s t i l l s u f f i c i e n t l y i d e a l -96 i s t i c t o b e l i e v e t h a t where t h e r e i s l i f e t h e r e i s t h e p o s s i b i l i t y o f i m p r o v i n g upon the p r e s e n t c o n d i t i o n s . Jonah p o s s e s s e s a vague d e s i r e t o p e r s i s t , but i t i s not a c o u r s e o f a c t i o n w h i c h he can defend w i t h any c o n v i c t i o n . T h e r e f o r e , when Mona a s k s him t o g i v e h e r one r e a s o n f o r c o n t i n u i n g t o e x i s t , Jonah i s ''slow t o answer" ( 1 8 2 ) . Jonah has t r i e d t o w i t h d r a w from h i s p u b l i c o b l i g a t i o n s by r e t r e a t i n g i n t o a c l o s e r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h Mona. However, he d i s c o v e r s t h a t he can no more r e t r e a t i n t o a p r i v a t e w o r l d t h a n he can p a r t i c i p a t e i n a p u b l i c w o r l d . He i s as u n s u c c e s s f u l i n d i s c o v e r i n g h a p p i n e s s w i t h Mona as he i s w i t h h i s p o s i t i o n as p r e s i d e n t o f San L o r e n z o . A l t h o u g h he i s surrounded by d e f e a t and d e a t h , Jonah c o n t i n u e s t o b e l i e v e t h a t t h e r e i s t h e p o s s i b i l i t y o f a l t e r i n g the p r e s e n t c o u r s e of e v e n t s . Somehow he f e e l s t h a t h i s k a r a s s has an i m p o r t a n t message f o r him t o d e l i v e r w h i c h he hopes w i l l e x p r e s s an o p t i m i s t i c v i e w . E v e r y t h i n g f o l l o w i n g the d e s t r u c t i o n o f San L o r e n z o seems t o p o i n t t o d e f e a t : the i s l a n d e r s choose d e a t h and Mona e l e c t s t o j o i n them. However, t h r o u g h o u t h i s j o u r n e y Jonah has p r e s e r v e d a r e s p e c t f o r l i f e . He l e a r n e d t h a t n i h i l i s m was n o t the c o u r s e f o r him when the poet Krebbs s e n s e l e s s l y r u i n e d h i s apartment and k i l l e d h i s c a t . Prom t h a t p o i n t on Jonah s t e e r s a course between pes s i m i s m and o p t i m i s m . 97 I n h i s conve r sa t i on w i t h P h i l i p C a s t l e on the p o s s i b i l i t y of a w r i t e r ' s s t r i k e u n t i l mankind comes to i t s senses, he o f f e r s the o p i n i o n that a w r i t e r ' s s t r i k e would produce the same e f f ec t as the " f i remen w a l k i n g out" (156) . The task of f i r emen , as Vonnegut makes qu i t e c l e a r i n s e v e r a l o f h i s n o v e l s , i s to m a i n t a i n a v i g i l which prevents a gene ra l c o n f l a g r a t i o n . By ex t ens ion , i t i s the w r i t e r ' s task to keep a v i g i l i n order to prevent mankind from d e s t r o y i n g i t s e l f . Despi te frequent temptat ions to abandon h i s t a sk , Jonah cont inues h i s v i g i l i n an at tempt, not on ly to prevent any u l t i m a t e d e s t r u c t i o n , but a l s o to d i s c o v e r what s i g n i f i c a n c e there might be i n the a c t i o n s of those around h im. l i k e Campbel l ' s n a r r a t i v e , Jonah ' s i s not on ly an attempt to "separate the r e a l from the f a k e , " but i s a l s o an attempt to examine numerous f a n t a s i e s i n order to d i s c o v e r which are b e n e f i c i a l and which are d e t r i m e n t a l to the we l fa re of man. Jonah b e n e f i t s enormously from the f a n t a s i e s p rov ided by Bokonon but , i n the face of such a harsh r e a l i t y as i c e -nine Bokononism can h a r d l y p r e v a i l . Searching f o r some way out of h i s dilemma, Jonah r e v e r t s to h i s b e l i e f i n the va lue of i n d i v i d u a l a c t s . He denounces Bokononism as a "depress ing r e l i g i o n " and p r e f e r s to t a l k about U t o p i a s , " o f what might have been, of what should have been, of what ye t might be, i f the w o r l d would thaw" (189) . He r e f e r s to Bokonon as 98 "a j igaboo bas ta rd" (90) who underest imates the perseverance of i n d i v i d u a l s . The l a s t few chapters of h i s n a r r a t i v e r e v e a l tha t Jonah i s caught between h i s d e s i r e to see the wor ld thaw and come to l i f e aga in and the c y n i c i s m of Bokonon who succumbs to the i n e v i t a b i l i t y of h i s own a p o c a l y p t i c p r e d i c t i o n s . Bokonon's a n a l y s i s of the s i t u a t i o n i s deadly accu ra t e , but h i s conc lus ions are not ones which Jonah can accept r e a d i l y . Jonah ' s focus tu rns more and more to the d i s t a n t mountain peak w i t h i t s p e c u l i a r shape. O u t l i n e d aga ins t the sky, i t resembles no th ing so much as a whale : I t was i n the sunr i se tha t the cetacean majesty of the h ighes t mountain on the i s l a n d , of Mount McCabe, made i t s e l f known to me. I t was a f e a r f u l hump, a b lue whale , w i t h one stone p lug on i t s back f o r a peak. In sca le w i t h a whale , the p lug might have been the stump of a snapped harpoon, and i t s seemed so u n r e l a t e d to the r e s t of the mountain tha t I asked Prank i f i t had been b u i l t by men. (142) Mount McCabe i s , l i k e Moby-Dick, a symbol of L e v i a t h a n . Jonah knows tha t h i s d e s t i n y , l i k e tha t of Ahab, i s connected w i t h the p u r s u i t and capture of L e v i a t h a n , proudest and most indomi tab le of a l l the beasts of c r e a t i o n . As God t e l l s Job , L e v i a t h a n cannot be overcome by mere m o r t a l man; i t i s as i n a c c e s s i b l e to human beings as d i v i n e knowledge i s . 99 The snapped harpoon i n the hump of Mount McCabe symbol izes a former attempt to conquer the mountain but, because the harpoon i s broken the conquest was, l i k e A h a b ' s , a f a i l u r e . Ahab lashes out at the wor ld which des t roys men and then refuses to y i e l d up any reason f o r the d e s t r u c t i o n . Th i s i s e s s e n t i a l l y the i s s u e i n C a t ' s Cradle where Mount McCabe comes to symbolize the t e r r i f y i n g l y ambiguous response of nature to the d e s t i n y of man. Who w i l l anwer f o r the t e r r i b l e d e s t r u c t i o n caused by i c e - n i n e ? Those who crea ted i t are incapab le of f e e l i n g any genuine remorse s ince they have d i s s o c i a t e d themselves from other human be ings . I t i s the muteness of the n a t u r a l wor ld tha t Mount McCabe symbol i zes . In the f i n a l chapter Bokonon r e v e a l s to Jonah h i s d e s i r e to end by l y i n g on h i s back on the top of the mountain and by being c a r r i e d to h i s death by the force which refuses to y i e l d i t s sec re t to the very end. Bokonon's proposed posture i s one of de f i ance , but i t i s a def iance which d i f f e r s from the rage of Ahab. The i r o n y of Bokonon"s f i n a l words are ev ident when compared to I shmael ' s account of Ahab ' s p a s s i o n : He p i l e d upon the wha le ' s whi te hump the sum of a l l the genera l rage and hate f e l t by h i s whole race from Adam down; and then, as i f h i s chest had been a mortar , he burs t h i s hot h e a r t ' s s h e l l upon i t . 5 100 Bokonon's c h o i c e i s t o c l i m b t h e mountain and, l y i n g on h i s back, u s i n g h i s " h i s t o r y o f human s t u p i d i t y " f o r a p i l l o w , t o make a s t a t u e o f h i m s e l f " g r i n n i n g h o r r i b l y , and thumbing my nose a t You Know Who" (191) . Bokonon 1s d e c i s i o n i s t o r e f u s e t o pursue the i n s a n e c o u r s e any f u r t h e r . He i n d i c a t e s t h a t he f e e l s t h a t l i f e i s a l l a jo k e p l a y e d by an i n e f f e c t u a l 6 God.' A l l man can do under the c i r c u m s t a n c e s i s t o r e f u s e t o be the p l a y t h i n g any l o n g e r . Bokonon i s , however, too o l d a man t o attempt the a s c e n t up the mountain. He o f f e r s t h e t a s k t o a younger man and the most l i k e l y c a n d i d a t e f o r t h e c l i m b i s Jonah. Vonnegut con-c l u d e s h i s n o v e l b e f o r e Jonah r e a c h e s any d e c i s i o n . The a l t e r n a t i v e o f f e r e d by Bokonon p r o v i d e s Jonah w i t h a r e l e a s e from the problems o f c o n t i n u i n g t o e x i s t i n a w o r l d t h a t seems t o w i l l t he d e s t r u c t i o n o f a l l l i f e . I f Jonah were t o f o l l o w Bokonon's a d v i c e , he would j o i n t he l e g i o n s o f dead who have a l r e a d y t a k e n h i s a d v i c e . Jonah's n a r r a t i v e r e v e a l s t h a t he i n s t i n c t i v e l y r e b e l s a g a i n s t such a d e c i s i o n t o abandon l i f e , but the a l t e r n a t i v e i s not v e r y e n c o u r a g i n g f o r the w o r l d shows no s i g n s o f t h a w i n g . The t i n y community w h i c h s u r v i v e s the d i s a s t e r seems c o n t e n t t o p e r p e t u a t e the o l d system. H a z e l Crosby i n d u s t r i o u s l y sews an emblem o f one o f h e r f a v o r i t e g r a n f a l o o n s w h i c h she, i r o n i c a l l y , w i s h e s Jonah t o 101 c a r r y to the top of Mount McCabe. F r a n k l i n bus ies h i m s e l f w i t h experiments w i t h bugs, thus r epea t i ng an e a r l i e r p a t t e r n . I t may be tha t Jonah, i n a f u r t h e r i m i t a t i o n of Ishmael , does su rv ive and does r e t u r n to t e l l h i s s t o r y . As f a r as i t i s p o s s i b l e to a s c e r t a i n , Jonah, l i k e Ishmael , "has escaped to t e l l t hee . " He t r a v e l s to the f a r t h e s t r i m of ex i s t ence and r e tu rns to d e l i v e r h i s important message: un le s s the w o r l d does thaw, there can be no happy or secure fu ture f o r man. Whi le Jonah has no c e r t a i n b e l i e f tha t t h i s w i l l happen, he does w r i t e h i s "funny book" (185) i n an attempt to make the w o r l d thaw a l i t t l e . I n the f o l l o w i n g n o v e l , God  B l e s s You, M r . Rosewater, Vonnegut presents another p r o t a g o n i s t who attempts to create a u t o p i a i n a s o c i e t y tha t i s , i n i t s own way, r i g i d and f r o z e n . A love tha t does not d i s c r i m i n a t e seems to me to f o r f e i t a pa r t of i t s own v a l u e , by doing an i n j u s t i c e to i t s ob jec t ; and secondly , not a l l men are worthy of l o v e . C i v i l i z a t i o n and i t s D i scon ten t s Sigmund Freud I t was a p e r f e c t l y good word u n t i l E l i o t got aho ld of i t . I t ' s s p o i l e d f o r me now. E l i o t d i d to the word love what the Russians d i d to the word democracy. I f E l i o t i s going to love everybody, no mat ter what they a re , no mat ter what they do, then those of us who love p a r t i c u l a r people f o r p a r t i c u l a r reasons had b e t t e r f i n d our se lves a new word. God B l e s s You, M r . Rosewater K u r t Vonnegut, J r . CHAPTER V GOD BLESS YOU, MR. ROSEWATER God B l e s s You, M r . Rosewater (1965) shows a f u r t h e r development of Vonnegut 's i n t e r e s t i n a p r o t a g o n i s t who at tempts to s a t i s f y h i s pe r sona l needs f o r happiness and s e c u r i t y w i t h i n a very h i g h l y s t r u c t u r e d p a t t e r n . The s e t -t i n g f o r t h i s f i f t h n o v e l i s the U n i t e d S t a t e s , g e n e r a l l y acknowledged to be a l and of u n l i m i t e d promise . The n o v e l ' s p r o t a g o n i s t , E l i o t Rosewater, i s l i k e Vonnegut 's o ther p r o -t a g o n i s t s , an i d e a l i s t who d e s i r e s above a l l to a s s i s t people i n t h e i r d e s i r e to l i v e a happ ie r l i f e . He, too , i s the h e i r to a cons ide rab le fo r tune , and he possesses power and i n f l u e n c e ; and he i s the h e i r of a d e f i n i t e p a t t e r n which i s d i f f i c u l t to escape! L i k e M a l a c h i Constant , Rosewater i n h e r i t s from h i s f a the r a sec re t system f o r mak-i n g l a r g e sums o f money and f o r s ecu r ing m a t e r i a l happiness . The Rosewater. Foundat ion and The Rosewater C o r p o r a t i o n are confus ing but ingenious s t r u c t u r e s which the Rosewaters use f o r amassing more c a p i t a l . To the common man these e labora te 102 103 s t r u c t u r e s are comple te ly m y s t i f y i n g . E l i o t ' s i n h e r i t a n c e , Rosewater County, i s ''a r e c t ang l e on which other men—Rosewaters, mainly—had a l ready made some bold d e s i g n s . " E l i o t , l i k e P a u l Pro teus before him, f e e l s tha t he has i n h e r i t e d p r i v i l e g e u n j u s t l y at the expense o f the l e s s f o r t una t e , and so he seeks to r e s t o r e a balance by c a r i n g f o r those who have l e s s than he does. He i s a "Utop ian dreamer" (14) whose i n i t i a l b e l i e f i s tha t he can conver t h i s e a r l y i d e a l i s m and h i s fo r tuna te p o s i t i o n i n t o a program f o r h e l p i n g the un fo r tuna te . To t h i s end he decorated expensive o f f i c e s i n the Foundat ion and "proc la imed them the headquarters f o r a l l the b e a u t i f u l , compassionate and s c i e n t i f i c t h ings he hoped to d o l " ( 1 7 ) . He faces the same problems as the u t o p i a n planners i n C a t ' s Cradle who attempt to cons t ruc t a u t o p i a on the h o p e l e s s l y i n h o s p i t a b l e and unproduct ive i s l a n d o f San Lorenzo . Rosewater County, the s e t t i n g f o r E l i o t ' s s o c i a l e x p e r i -ment, i s l i k e San Lorenzo, a sma l l ghet to i n an a f f l u e n t c i v i l i z a t i o n . I t i s a n e a r l y f o r g o t t e n reminder of a "Utop ia gone bust" (13 ) . A c c o r d i n g to E l i o t ' s r e - t e l l i n g of the h i s t o r y of Amer ica , the promise of i n f i n i t e bounty and equal oppor tun i ty tha t was o f fe red to s e t t l e r s i n America become q u i c k l y l o s t . Rather than f u l f i l l i n g i t s expec ta t ions 104 as a parad ise f o r the s e t t l e r s , America became the s e t t i n g f o r the re-enactment of the s t o ry of Ca in and A b e l . E l i o t ' s s e l f - p r o c l a i m e d task i s to redress the i n j u r y done to those who have been unfor tunate enough not to have secured w e a l t h . H i s t o r y and i n s t i n c t convince him tha t he owes h i s wea l th and p o s i t i o n , not to h i s r e l a t i v e s , but to "the r i c k e t y sons and grandsons of the p ioneers" (33 ) . H i s t rue home l i e s i n "the once green h i l l s of Kentucky, the promised l and of Dan'1 Boone" ( 3 4 ) . 2 E l i o t Rosewater, l i k e so many of Vonnegut ' s o ther p r o -t a g o n i s t s , f e e l s tha t he has a c e r t a i n de s t i ny to f u l f i l l and tha t t h i s d e s t i n y i s unavo idab le . As a member of the Rosewater f a m i l y he i s manipula ted by the s t r u c t u r e of which he i s a p a r t . However, he resembles Jonah i n h i s d e s i r e to f o l l o w a course which i s more n a t u r a l and which w i l l l e ad him to h i s purpose. He i d e n t i f i e s h i m s e l f w i t h a f i g u r e i n search of a purpose: Maybe I f l a t t e r myse l f when I t h i n k that I have th ings i n common w i t h Hamlet, tha t I have an important m i s s i o n , tha t I 'm t e m p o r a r i l y mixed up about how i t should be done. Hamlet had one b i g edge on me. H i s f a t h e r ' s ghost t o l d him e x a c t l y what to do, w h i l e I 'm ope ra t ing wi thout i n s t r u c t i o n s . But from somewhere some-t h i n g i s t r y i n g to t e l l me where to go, what to do the re , and why to do i t . D o n ' t wor ry , I don ' t hear v o i c e s . But there i s t h i s f e e l i n g tha t I have a 105 d e s t i n y f a r away from the sha l low and preposterous pos ing tha t i s our l i f e i n New Y o r k . And I roam. And I roam. 5 (51) E l i o t ' s l e t t e r to h i s w i f e s t a t e s the i n t e n t i o n of n e a r l y everyone of Vonnegut 's p r o t a g o n i s t s , each of whom i s " o p e r a t i n g wi thou t i n s t r u c t i o n s " . He wanders i n search of h i s t rue home and h i s t rue r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s . He appears to be aware of a burden of g u i l t which he, as the descendant of the Rosewaters, bears f o r h i s a n c e s t o r ' s " c u p i d i t y u n l i m i t e d " ( 1 5 ) . He a l s o f e e l s a burden of g u i l t f o r hav ing a c c i d e n t a l l y k i l l e d s e v e r a l f i remen dur ing the war. H i s r e s o l v e i s , l i k e t ha t of Constant who has k i l l e d h i s best f r i e n d , to cause l e s s r a the r than more p a i n . E l i o t ' s i d e a l i s m resembles tha t of Pro teus and Constant , but i t i s a l s o a development of ideas h e l d by Jonah, McCabe and Bokonon i n C a t ' s C r a d l e . E l i o t never grows out of h i s y o u t h f u l i d e a l i s m to become c y n i c a l as Bokonon does. He c l i n g s to h i s ch i ldhood dream of be ing a mascot at the f i r e -h a l l . E l i o t ' s t e r r i b l e fea r of the ea r th being consumed by f i r e de r ive s from h i s exper ience i n the war. I t a l s o looks forward to the d e s c r i p t i o n of the f i r e -bombing of Dresden i n S laugh te rhouse -F ive , a nove l i n which E l i o t reappears . L i k e Jonah before him he imagines the imminent d e s t r u c t i o n 106 of the w o r l d . E l i o t a l s o shares Jonah ' s concern w i t h the d i f f i c u l t i e s o f w r i t i n g . E l i o t i s a w r i t e r who i s contemptuous of a r t and i t s a b i l i t y to s a t i s f y any of the needs of man. E l i o t , fo rmer ly a great pa t ron of the a r t s , c r i t i c i z e s them f o r t h e i r a r t i f i c i a l s epa ra t ion from the common peop le . He abandons h i s u n f i n i s h e d n o v e l and ded ica tes h i m s e l f i n s t e a d to the d e t a i l e d accounts of p e o p l e ' s l i v e s which he records i n h i s Doomsday Book. In s ide i t s pages only the bares t f a c t s are recorded , and w i t h r e c u r r e n t monotony. The book, u n l i k e h i s uncompleted n o v e l , i s comple te ly f a c t u a l and o b j e c t i v e . I t l i s t s on ly the most urgent demands and records only the most abbrev ia t ed d e t a i l s about the l i v e s of those w i t h whom he comes i n c o n t a c t . H i s Doomsday Book i s , i n a sense, an a l t e r n a t i v e to compara t ive ly u se l e s s works of f i c t i o n . I t r ecords only the t r u t h about people and does not e m b e l l i s h the t r u t h w i t h any l i e s . In t h i s r espec t E l i o t ' s Doomsday Book resembles Jonah ' s proposed book The Day the World Ended, but i t i s qu i t e d i f f e r e n t from C a t ' s C r a d l e , the book Jonah a c t u a l l y does w r i t e . E l i o t ded ica tes h i m s e l f to the c r e a t i o n of a l i v i n g work of a r t : E 'm going to love these d i sca rded Americans , even though t h e y ' r e u se l e s s and u n a t t r a c t i v e . That i s going to be my work of a r t . (361 1 0 7 U n l i k e Howard Campbell , who devotes h i m s e l f to the c r e a t i o n of l i t e r a r y works of a r t , E l i o t devotes h i m s e l f to human ones. Campbel l , a t one extreme, d i s s o c i a t e s h i m s e l f from p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the a f f a i r s of o thers by c r e a t i n g an impermeable s h e l l around h i m s e l f and h i s w i f e . E l i o t Rose-water goes to the opposi te extreme when he e l e c t s to devote h i m s e l f s e l f l e s s l y to the improvement of the l o t of o t h e r s . The de s i r e f o r change and improvement among human beings leads E l i o t to va lue u n s p h i s t i c a t e d a r t i s t i c express ions more than the " c l a s s i c s ' ' or p r e t e n t i o u s ones. H i s f a v o r i t e poem i s a p iece of g r a f i t t i whose theme i s the n e c e s s i t y f o r c o n s i d e r a t i o n of the needs of o the r s . E l i o t i s c r i t i c a l of a s e r ious work l i k e A i d a where so much energy seems to be wasted i n the expres s ion of so l i t t l e . Perhaps t h i n k i n g of the s u f f o c a t i n g smoke du r ing a f i r e , E l i o t warns the hero and heroine who are enclosed i n an a i r - t i g h t v a u l t not to waste oxygen by s i n g i n g so s t r e n u o u s l y . E l i o t i s obsessed w i t h the urgency of communicating important ideas and i s extremely impa t i en t w i t h those who go on at great l eng ths wi thou t say ing any th ing impor tan t . E l i o t ' s v iews cannot be taken e n t i r e l y s e r i o u s l y , and y e t , he does po in t out tha t i t i s urgent tha t c e r t a i n v i t a l communication be c a r r i e d out s w i f t l y , before i t i s too l a t e . E l i o t i s impressed by sc ience f i c t i o n w r i t e r s , 108 p a r t i c u l a r l y K i l g o r e Trout because he addresses h i m s e l f to t r u l y important themes, l i t e r a l l y cosmic themes. ^ U n f o r -t u n a t e l y , they " c a n ' t w r i t e f o r sour apples" (18) , and t h e i r range of themes i s l i m i t e d . They f a i l to acknowledge the importance of sex, s t y l e , and economics, subjec ts to which another w r i t e r whom E l i o t s u b s i d i z e s , A r t h u r Garvey Ulm, t o t a l l y ded ica tes h i m s e l f . U lm ' s fan tasy i s , a f t e r a l l the pedant ic re ferences have been r ecogn ized , a s imple t a l e about the des i r e f o r s e l f - g r a t i f i c a t i o n . K i l g o r e T r o u t ' s nove l s share the technique of fantasy but employ i t as a means of sugges t ing a l t e r n a t i v e s to the w o r l d as i t i s . The d i f f e r e n c e s between Ulm and Trout r e f l e c t , on one l e v e l , an important d i f f e r e n c e between Howard Campbell and E l i o t Rosewater. Campbel l ' s t o t a l p reoccupa t ion w i t h h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h h i s w i f e , which he records i n h i s Memoirs i  of a Polygamous Casanova, con t r a s t s w i t h E l i o t ' s preoccupa-t i o n w i t h s o c i e t y . Both men s u f f e r from a s p l i t between t h e i r p r i v a t e and p u b l i c s e l v e s . This s p l i t i s ev iden t i n the works o f Ulm and Trout as w e l l . E l i o t ' s w i fe S y l v i a becomes estranged as a r e s u l t of h i s bestowing a l l h i s " u n c r i t i c a l l o v e " (56) upon the members of Rosewater County. There i s r e a l l y no r o l e f o r her to p l a y , s ince i n h i s devo t ion to the we l fa re of the p u b l i c , E l i o t i s "no p a r t i c u l a r sex 109 at a l l " (157). In h i s attempt to s a t i s f y a l l the needs of the members of h i s community he overlooks the needs of h i s own w i f e . E l i o t ' s w i f e , l i k e Paul Proteus' w i f e , i s a t t r a c t e d to a man whose goals are l e s s p u b l i c than her husband's. A n i t a Proteus abandons her husband i n favor of the a t t r a c t i o n s of Shepherd, a man of fewer t a l e n t s but more personal ambition than her husband. When she s u f f e r s her f i r s t nervous c o l l a p s e , S y l v i a Rosewater seeks the company o f s o c i a l l y uncommitted people. Her romantic d e s i r e i s to f a i n t " i n the arms of a t a l l , dark stranger, i n t o the arms, h o p e f u l l y , of a double spy" (44). E l i o t ' s w i f e seems the more s e n s i t i v e of the two women because she attempts at l e a s t to p a r t i c i p a t e i n her husband's U top i an dreams. She r e i g n s f o r a whil e as the queen of Rosewater Mansion, but her capacity f o r dispensing " u n c r i t i c a l l o v e " i s not n e a r l y as great as her husband's. The disease which S y l v i a Rosewater s u f f e r s i s diagnosed as samaratrophia, an " h y s t e r i c a l i n d i f f e r e n c e to the t r o u b l e s of those l e s s f o r t u n a t e than oneself" (41). The disease i s the r e s u l t of an i r r e c o n c i l a b l e s p l i t between p r i v a t e needs ( i n t h i s case, personal love from her husband) and p u b l i c demands. The disease i s a c t u a l l y q u i t e rare because i t only p r o p e r l y "attacks those exceedingly rare i n d i v i d u a l s who reach b i o l o g i c a l m a turity s t i l l l o v i n g and wanting to help 110 t h e i r f e l l o w man1' ( 4 2 ) . While there may be no s p e c i f i c cause f o r samarat rophia , the d isease i s caused by the r e c o g -n i t i o n by the senses tha t s o c i a l involvement does not appease the consc ience , " tha t i t ( the conscience) cont inues to s h r i e k , and they note , too, tha t the ou t s ide wor ld has not been even m i c r o s c o p i c a l l y improved by the u n s e l f i s h a c t s the conscience has demanded" ( 4 2 ) . E n l i g h t e n e d S e l f - i n t e r e s t takes over i n such a case as S y l v i a ' s . Por S y l v i a , the dilemma faced by her and E l i o t i s i n s o l u b l e . Al though she and her husband " l i s t e n e d t i r e l e s s l y to the misshapen fea r s and dreams ofppeople who, by almost anyone 's s tandards , would have been b e t t e r o f f dead, gave them love and t r i f l i n g sums of money" (40) , there i s no app rec i ab l e change i n t h e i r l i v e s . Par from r e s t o r i n g to the common man the d i g n i t y and p r i d e tha t once was h i s , E l i o t c rea tes a community o f h e l p l e s s people who depend more and more upon h i s p a r e n t a l v i g i l a n c e . E l i o t becomes f o r these people the embodiment of r e l i g i o n , government and f a m i l y . As Diana Moon G-lampers, one of E l i o t ' s wards, t e l l s him as he i s l e a v i n g Rosewater County f o r the f i n a l t ime : Y o u ' r e my church group 1 Y o u ' r e my every th ing ' . Y o u ' r e my government. Y o u ' r e my husband. Y o u ' r e my f r i e n d s . (172) I l l E l i o t ' s f a n a t i c a l de s i r e to love u n s e l f i s h l y every person who needs i t p laces him i n the r i d i c u l o u s p o s i t i o n of be ing r e -spons ib le f o r s a t i s f y i n g the demand of t h i s s i x t y - e i g h t year o l d v i r g i n who has never had anyone to love he r . E l i o t o f f e r s her love but i s incapab le of g i v i n g her any th ing beyond a few c o n s o l i n g words. The demands of such people as Glampers upon E l i o t are enormous and, of course , u l t i m a t l e l y imposs ib l e to s a t i s f y . H i s i d e a l i s t i c d e s i r e to he lp the h e l p l e s s i s f i n e i n theory , but i t i s w i l d l y i m p r a c t i c a l . There i s a great d i s p a r i t y between E l i o t ' s i d e a l love f o r a l l the h e l p l e s s c rea tu res who are the " c h i l d r e n " of Rosewater County and the r e a l i t y o f a t t empt ing to apply tha t i d e a l love to everyday exper i ence . E l i o t f e e l s the burden of hav ing to s a t i s f y the demands of so many people . In a t tempt ing to he lp these u n d e r p r i v i -leged people , he reduces h i m s e l f to t h e i r c o n d i t i o n . He does e x a c t l y what M c A l l i s t e r warned Stewart B u n t l i n e would happen to him i fhhe attempted to d i s t r i b u t e h i s wea l th amongst those who need i t . B u n t l i n e , one of E l i o t ' s f o i l s i n the n o v e l , takes the l a w y e r ' s a d v i c e . The r e s u l t f o r the f r u s t r a t e d i d e a l i s t i s a l c o h o l i s m and boredom. E l i o t , who refuses s i m i l a r adv ice from h i s f a t h e r , becomes, l i k e those he seeks to h e l p , p r o g r e s s i v e l y more a l c o h o l i c and h i s h e a l t h d e t e r i o r a t e s . 112 E l i o t ' s awareness of the great p r i c e he must pay f o r h i s d e d i c a t i o n to the poor r e v e a l s i t s e l f i n conversa t ions w i t h h i s wi fe and f a t h e r . He a t t r i b u t e s h i s p h y s i c a l and emot ional exhaus t ion to a "bad connec t ion" (86 ) . E l i o t ' s f a t h e r i s the s t ronges t c r i t i c of h i s son ' s behavior and c o n s t a n t l y r e v e a l s the a b s u r d i t y of h i s son ' s p o s i t i o n . He objec ts to S y l v i a ' s use of the word " l o v e " to desc r ibe any th ing to do w i t h E l i o t : I t was a p e r f e c t l y good w o r d — u n t i l E l i o t got ho ld of i t . I t ' s s p o i l e d f o r me now. E l i o t d i d to the word love what the Russians d i d to the word democracy. I f E l i o t i s going to love everybody, no matter what they a re , no matter what they do, then those of us who love p a r t i c u l a r people f o r p a r t i c u l a r reasons had b e t t e r f i n d ourse lves a new word. (65) The Senator o f f e r s no p o s i t i v e a l t e r n a t i v e except to d i s r e g a r d the demands of the common people , but he does po in t to a weakness i n E l i o t ' s p h i l o s o p h y . Genera l , " u n c r i t i c a l l o v e " of the k i n d E l i o t p rofesses i s s imply not p o s s i b l e . The ambigui ty of E l i o t ' s response to c a l l e r s p o i n t s to t h i s same c o n f l i c t between a d e s i r e to he lp everyone and a knowledge tha t such a fea t i s i m p o s s i b l e : Rosewater Foundat ion How Can We Help You? (49) Some of E l i o t ' s c a l l e r s po in t to a s i m i l a r weakness i n h i s p h i l o s o p h y . How can a man who loves everybody love anybody 113 p a r t i c u l a r ? Diana Moon Glampers wonders who would care i f she d i e d : " T h i s would be a mighty sad town, dear, i f tha t ever happened." "Who'd care?" " I ' d c a r e . " "You care about everybody. I mean who e l s e ? " "Many, many, many people , dear . " (58) Al though E l i o t i s unable to appease the woman, he consoles her t e m p o r a r i l y more by the sound of h i s v o i c e than by what he says . Al though E l i o t never a l l o w s h i m s e l f to admit tha t he i s not s u c c e s s f u l i n h i s p r o j e c t , there are s igns tha t he recogn izes h i s own f a i l u r e . Unable to l i v e complete ly i n the r e a l i t y of Rosewater County, he escapes more and more o f ten i n t o i n t o x i c a t i o n . However, he does, have a s t rong defence aga ins t a t t a cks from o u t s i d e . He has, the doc tor t e l l s S y l v i a , a "mass ive ly defended neurosis" (28 ) . H i s f a t h e r ' s p e r s i s t e n c e and the i n c r e a s i n g evidence that E l i o t ' s g o o d w i l l m i s s i o n to Rosewater County i s a f a i l u r e beg in to a f f e c t E l i o t . F i n a l l y , i t i s Senator Rosewater who breaks down h i s son ' s defence aga ins t i n t r u s i o n from persona l c o n t a c t . E l i o t i s f o r c e d to r e a l i z e tha t , w h i l e i d e a l l y man may love h i s f e l l o w man, i n r e a l i t y c e r t a i n d i s t i n c t i o n s 114 must be made. E l i o t cannot t r e a t h i s f a t h e r l i k e any other c a l l e r at the Founda t ion . Al though Senator Rosewater bears no love f o r mankind g e n e r a l l y , he does po in t to the n e c e s s i t y of i n d i v i d u a l l o v e . H i s t i r a d e aga ins t E l i o t centers on t h i s sub jec t ; " L o v e l " the Senator echoed b i t t e r l y . ' 'You c e r t a i n l y l oved me, d i d n ' t you? Loved me so much you smashed up every hope or i d e a l I ever had. And you c e r t a i n l y l oved S y l v i a , d i d n ' t you?" (160) The repeated re ferences to pe r sona l r e l a t i o n s h i p s have a profound e f f e c t upon E l i o t , who knows tha t he has s a c r i f i c e d one type of r e l a t i o n s h i p f o r another : E l i o t uncovered h i s ea r s , f i n i s h e d d r e s s i n g , as though no th ing s p e c i a l had happened. He sat down to t i e h i s shoe laces . When these were t i e d , he s t r a igh t ened up. And he f roze as s t i f f as any corpse . The b l ack telephone rang . He d i d not answer. (160) E l i o t ' s i n a b i l i t y to move i s the r e s u l t of hav ing r e j e c t e d one way of l i f e w i thou t d i s c o v e r i n g an a l t e r n a t i v e to i t . I n t h i s respec t he resembles Howard Campbell , whose p r i v a t e l i f e i s as e x c l u s i v e as E l i o t ' s p u b l i c l i f e i s i n c l u s i v e . Both men f reeze when faced w i t h the d i s i n t e g r a t i o n of t h e i r wor lds and fo rced i n t o the oppos i te s i t u a t i o n . E l i o t i s no 1 1 5 more prepared to resume h i s r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s as a member of the four t een th w e a l t h i e s t f a m i l y i n the U n i t e d Sta tes than Campbell i s to p a r t i c i p a t e i n a w o r l d he has r e j e c t e d . E l i o t ' s s c h i z o p h r e n i a , h i s s p l i t between p u b l i c and p r i v a t e s e l v e s , i s , l i k e Campbell's, f i n a l l y overpowering. Each of the men su f f e r s a nervous breakdown as a r e s u l t of h i s i n a b i l i t y to r e c o n c i l e two opposing fo rces w i t h i n h i m s e l f . E l i o t ' s breakdown i s immediately preceded by an h a l l u c i n a t i o n o f a f i r e - s t o r m he sees from the window of a bus. Incapable of c o n t i n u i n g on h i s own, E l i o t i s taken to an asylum where attempts are made to r e s to r e him to normal h e a l t h . Among those who a s s i s t E l i o t w i t h h i s therapy are Senator Rosewater and K i l g o r e T rou t . A f t e r a f u l l year of t reatment , d u r i n g which time E l i o t apparen t ly showed o c c a s i o n a l s igns of r ecovery , h i s f a t h e r s t i l l cont inues to o f f e r h i s son pragmatic adv ice and i s s t i l l ab le to a s s e r t tha t h i s son ' s p r i n c i p a l problem i s boozes "Keep away from booze, remember who you a re , and behave a c c o r d i n g l y , " the Senator roundly d e c l a r e d . "And d o n ' t p l ay God to people , or they w i l l s lobber a l l over you, take you f o r e v e r y t h i n g they can ge t , break commandments j u s t f o r the fun of be ing forg iven—and r e v i l e you when you are gone." ( 1 8 6 ) Trout , on the o ther hand, main ta ins tha t E l i o t ' s experiment 116 i n Rosewater County proves tha t "people can use a l l the u n c r i t i c a l l ove tha t they can get" (186) . 5 Trout c la ims t ha t E l i o t ' s experiment has been a success , tha t i t may teach o thers i t i s p o s s i b l e to extend love to " m i l l i o n s upon m i l l i o n s of people" (187) . Trout i s the spokesman f o r an o p t i m i s t i c v iew, and Senator Rosewater i s the spokesman f o r a c y n i c a l , p e s s i m i s t i c v i e w . T r o u t ' s i d e a l i s m and Senator Rosewater ' s c y n i c i s m are c a r e f u l l y weighed by E l i o t , whose breakdown has erased a good p o r t i o n of h i s memory of the past y e a r s . Wi th h i s mind v i r -t u a l l y a b lank , E l i o t i s fo rced to make a d e c i s i o n which w i l l a l t e r d e c i s i v e l y the fu ture of the Rosewater for tune and h i s d e c i s i o n r e f l e c t s the hopeless paradox, which faces h im. By p rov ing h i s s a n i t y , E l i o t merely perpetuates a system which i s s l owly d e s t r o y i n g the f i b r e o f l i f e i n America and turns h i s back on a l l those he sought to h e l p . The a l t e r n a t i v e , however, i s e q u a l l y hope le s s . By a d m i t t i n g p a t e r n i t y of a l l those c h i l d r e n reputed to be h i s , he ma in ta ins h i s t i e s w i t h the mass of unloved and unwanted people and r e v e r t s to h i s former hopeless s t a t e . E i t h e r d e c i s i o n means f o r E l i o t tha t the balance between p r i v a t e and p u b l i c demands w i l l be i r r e v e r s i b l y upse t . I f he accepts h i s r o l e as f a t h e r and as husband of 117 i coun t l e s s women, he must r e j e c t h i s r o l e as husband of S y l v i a . H i s f i n a l words, spoken i n the s p i r i t of C h r i s t , ep i tomize the i d e a l i s m and a b s u r d i t y of h i s ges tu re . "Be f r u i t f u l and m u l t i -p l y " (190) , E l i o t en jo ins h i s f o l l o w e r s , but E l i o t h i m s e l f "Begat not a s o u l " (15 ) . E l i o t ' s f i n a l words w i l l p rov ide Norman Musha r i , the lawyer f o r Fred Rosewater, w i t h the nec-essary proof tha t E l i o t does cons ider h i m s e l f to be something of a Mess i ah . He i s asked to perform s p i r i t u a l s e r v i c e s f o r some people , i n c l u d i n g b a p t i z i n g i n f a n t s . At every t u r n the r o l e of s a v i o r i s t h ru s t upon E l i o t , and he seems capable of r e p u d i a t i n g i t . He r e j e c t s h i s f a t h e r ' s warning not to "p lay G-od to people" and r e v e r t s to h i s r o l e as M e s s i a h . The con-c l u s i o n of the n o v e l r e f l e c t s the f a i l u r e of Rosewater to r e c o n c i l e the demands of h i s conscience w i t h the demands of h i s w i f e and f a t h e r . H i s f i n a l gesture i s , l i k e tha t of Howard Campbel l , one of r e j e c t i o n s . Both he and Campbell r e j e c t wor lds i n which they can f i n d no comfortable p l a c e . Campbell escapes from r e a l i t y by i g n o r i n g the p o l i t i c a l and s o c i a l fo rces about h im, He concen t ra tes , i n s t e a d , upon h i s s e l f - c r e a t e d wor ld of romance where there are heroes who admire good and hate e v i l . E l i o t i s e q u a l l y immersed i n a fantasy wor ld i n which a l l men l i v e harmoniously and h a p p i l y t oge the r . H i s w o r l d of a r t i s not a w r i t t e n one but a r e a l 118 one. U s i n g h i s wea l th and power, he attempts to create a u t o p i a f o r a l l the members of Rosewater County, but he i s as incapable of l i v i n g w i t h i n the conf ines of h i s c rea ted w o r l d as Howard Campbell i s incapab le of l i v i n g w i t h i n h i s . E l i o t ' s u t o p i a f a i l s because i t cannot overcome r e a l i t y . He l e a r n s , l i k e Proteus and Jonah, tha t there can be no u t o p i a , tha t men remain s e l f i s h and c r u e l towards one another and i n s i s t upon competing w i t h one another f o r power. E l i o t a l s o l e a r n s tha t Utop ias are not p o s s i b l e because, desp i t e a l l h i s e f f o r t s to the c o n t r a r y , l i f e remains "as short and b r u t i s h and mean as e v e r . " In the f i n a l a n a l y s i s , E l i o t may be s imply "a drunkard , a U top ian dreamer, a t i n h o r n s a i n t , an a imless f o o l " (14) , a man who seeks to appease a g u i l t y conscience r e s u l t i n g from h i s war exper ience and h i s r e c o g n i t i o n that he has no s p e c i a l r i g h t to the fo r tuna te p o s i t i o n he ho ld s i n s o c i e t y . Un-doubtedly , there i s something of s imple appeasement i n some of E l i o t ' s ges tu res . He f r equen t ly o f f e r s money i n " t r i f l i n g sums" as a s u b s t i t u t e f o r genuine concern . Neve r the l e s s , he i s an embodiment of the hopeless paradox which confronts each of Vonnegut 's p r o t a g o n i s t s . Al though E l i o t ' s at tempts to l i e about r e a l i t y or to pretend tha t squa lor and misery can be r ep l aced by compassion 119 and happiness are doomed to the same f a i l u r e tha t over takes the attempts of each of Vonnegut 's u t o p i a n dreamers, E l i o t d i f f e r s s i g n i f i c a n t l y from the former p r o t a g o n i s t s . P ro teus , Constant , and Campbell each succumb to the pressures exer ted upon them by the s o c i e t i e s i n which they l i v e . The three nove l s a l l end i n defeat and death, e i t h e r p h y s i c a l or symbo l i c . However, i n C a t ' s Cradle Vonnegut l eaves room f o r reasonable doubt about Jonah ' s f i n a l ges tu re . I f he accepts Bokonon's a d v i c e , he w i l l p e r i s h l i k e the former p r o t a g o n i s t s . I f he "escapes to t e l l thee" as Ishmael does, h i s book may be read as a t e s t i m o n i a l of the de te rmina t ion of the i n d i v i d u a l to s u r v i v e d i s p i t e overwhelming odds aga ins t such a s u r v i v a l . E l i o t ' s d e c i s i o n i s qu i t e c l e a r . He chooses h i s l i v i n g work of a r t and h i s f i n a l words e x p l a i n h i s de te rmina t ion to pe r se rve re . That h i s f i n a l ac t of acceptance must a l s o be, p a r a d o x i c a l l y , an ac t of r e l i n q u i s h m e n t , i s one of the book ' s t e l l i n g i r o n i e s . Vonnegut ' s most recent attempt to r e c o n c i l e the de s i r e f o r the c r e a t i o n of a be t t e r p o s s i b l e wor ld w i t h an a c t u a l w o r l d o f s u f f e r i n g and defeat i s S laugh te rhouse-Eive , i n which the p r o t a g o n i s t despe ra te ly attempts to r e - i n v e n t h i m s e l f and h i s u n i v e r s e . In t h i s n o v e l Vonnegut cont inues to examine the p o s s i b i l i t i e s of e n t e r t a i n i n g " f a n t a s i e s 120 of an imposs ib ly h o s p i t a b l e w o r l d , " but makes a s i g n i f i c a n t pe r sona l development by p r o j e c t i n g h i m s e l f i n t o h i s f i c t i o n a l w o r l d . Because the subjec t of the book i s Vonnegut 's exper-i ence as a p r i s o n e r of war i n Dresden and because he i n c l u d e s h i m s e l f a long w i t h a hos t of f i c t i o n a l cha r ac t e r s , t h i s nove l takes on an added s i g n i f i c a n c e i n the development of Vonnegut ' s pe r sona l v i e w . This n o v e l represen ts h i s most ex tens ive e f f o r t to understand the a t t r a c t i o n of fan tasy and the necess-i t y of r e a l i t y i n man's l i f e . I n t h i s n o v e l he at tempts to pursue the p o s s i b i l i t i e s of f i n d i n g a s u c c e s s f u l p o s i t i v e s o l u t i o n to the paradox of l y i n g about r e a l i t y w h i l e be ing f o r c e d to acknowledge i t . (A pa r t of each day — or n i g h t ) as they have been l o o k i n g to me the past seven y e a r s : as be ing NON-EXISTENT. That i s , there i s n o t h i n g . That there i s no God and no u n i v e r s e ; tha t there i s on ly empty space, and i n i t a l o s t and homeless and wandering and companionless Thought. And tha t I am tha t thought . And God, and the U n i v e r s e , and Time, and L i f e , and Death, andJoy and Sorrow and P a i n only a grotesque and b r u t a l d ream, ' evo lved from the f r a n t i c i m a g i n a t i o n of tha t insane Thought And so, a par t of each day L i v y i s a dream, and has never e x i s t e d . The r e s t of i t she i s r e a l , and i s gone. Then comes the a c h e . . . W r i t i n g s o f the L a t e r Years Mark Twain ' I t was the f i r s t fancy c i t y I ' d ever s een , ' he s a i d . Then a s i r e n went o f f and we went down two s t o r i e s under the pavement i n t o a b i g meat l o c k e r . I t was c o o l t he re , w i t h cadavers hanging a l l around. When we came up the c i t y was gone. K u r t Vonnegut, J r . i n t e r v i e w e d by R icha rd Todd They (Tra l famador ians) can see how permanent a l l the moments a re , and they can look a t any moment tha t i n t e r e s t s them. I t i s j u s t an i l l u s i o n we have here on E a r t h tha t one moment f o l l o w s another one, l i k e beads on a s t r i n g , and tha t once a moment i s gone i t i s gone f o r e v e r . S laughterhouse-Five K u r t Vonnegut, J r . CHAPTER VI SLAUG-HTERHOUSE-EIVE Vonnegut ! s experience as a w r i t e r of f i c t i o n lias taught him tha t man1 s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of ex i s t ence l i e s somwhere between i l l u s i o n and r e a l i t y . In S laughterhouse-Five Vonnegut attempts once more to mediate between f a c t and f i c t i o n . He c rea tes a f i c t i o n a l c h a r c t e r who e n t e r t a i n s w i l d l y improbable f a n t a s i e s of t r an spo r t to a s trange p lane t and who i n t e r p r e t s a l l h i s exper iences , i n c l u d i n g those pe r -t a i n i n g to the war, i n the l i g h t of h i s f a n t a s i e s of time t r a v e l . In a d d i t i o n to the p r o t a g o n i s t , B i l l y P i l g r i m , the author appears i n the n o v e l as a p a r t i c i p a n t i n the a c t i o n . Vonnegut shares w i t h h i s cha rac te r an exper ience i n v o l v i n g the d e s t r u c t i o n of human l i f e . The r e a l i t y of the f i r e -bombing of Dresden i s an undeniable f a c t . However, B i l l y P i l g r i m and the author f e e l a d i s t r u s t of r e a l i t y and share a f e e l i n g tha t r e a l i t y i s too overwhelming f o r a s e n s i t i v e i n d i v i d u a l to bear . Vonnegut i s c a r e f u l not to l o se touch w i t h r e a l i t y comple te ly , as B i l l y P i l g r i m threa tens to do throughout the n o v e l . Al though he acknowledges the authen-t i c i t y of B i l l y ' s f a c t u a l comments a t s e v e r a l p o i n t s i n the n o v e l , Vonnegut seems eager to examine the f a n t a s i e s as w e l l . 121 122 Throughout the n o v e l there i s a m i n g l i n g of f a c t and f i c t i o n . When f a c t s such as the secre t r a i d on Dresden are as f a n t a s t i c as the s i m i l a r d e s t r u c t i o n of Sodom and Gomorrah, the l i n e between f a c t and f i c t i o n becomes l e s s c l e a r l y d e f i n e d . Something o f t h i s u n c e r t a i n t y about the r e l a t i o n s h i p of f a c t to f i c t i o n i s ev ident i n the opening words of the novels A l l t h i s happened, more or l e s s . The war p a r t s , anyway, are p r e t t y much t r u e . 2 Por each a s s e r t i o n of f a c t or t r u t h there i s a q u a l i f i c a t i o n . In the f i r s t chapter Vonnegut e s t a b l i s h e s a few of the t rue p a r t s of h i s n a r r a t i v e . In an e f f o r t to "separate the r e a l from the f ake" , he a l s o examines a number of r e co rds , documents and books about h i s sub jec t . Two a c t u a l books he lp him to c l a r i f y h i s own sub jec t . Mackay 's book, E x t r a o r d i n a r y Popula r De lus ions and the Madness of Crowds, e x p l o r e s , among other t h i n g s , the reasons f o r the numerous h i s t o r i c a l crusades . Mackay, who i s c r i t i c a l o f a l l crusades, draws an important d i s t i n c t i o n between f a c t and f i c t i o n , or what he c a l l s H i s t o r y and Romance. The C h i l d r e n ' s Crusade,^ l i k e the Second World War, was a s l augh te r tha t has been r o m a n t i c i z e d by many. The memory of the war o f f e r s an occas ion f o r many to f a n t a s i z e about tha t which never was. 123 I n S laughterhouse-Five Roland Weary dreams of h i m s e l f as a musketeer, a d a r i n g i n d i v i d u a l who ou twi t s an e n t i r e army. Weary 's d e l u s i o n becomes qu i t e c l e a r l y a case of f a l s e r o m a n t i c i z i n g when he u n w i t t i n g l y repeats a phrase from Mackay ' s book r e f e r r i n g to the "the great s e r v i c e s they ( the musketeers) rendered to C h r i s t i a n i t y " (14, 4 4 ) . The t r u t h i s , of course , tha t Weary i s one of the l e a s t C h r i s t i a n p a r t i c i p a n t s i n a crusade which renders no s e r v i c e whatsoever to C h r i s t i a n i t y . The other book, Dresden, H i s t o r y , Satage and G a l l e r y , p rov ides an account of an e a r l i e r a t t ack upon Dresden by the P r u s s i a n s . Man, i t seems, has always been ingenious enough to des t roy the most b e a u t i f u l of h i s c r e a t i o n s , and to des t roy them comple te ly . Compared w i t h the i n c e n d i a r i e s used by the A l l i e s , the P r u s s i a n bombs are p r i m i t i v e . L i k e the i n c e n d -i a r i e s , however, the P r u s s i a n cannonade "rebounded l i k e r a i n " (15) and the e f f e c t of each a t t ack i s s i m i l a r . The two a t t a c k s are s t r a t e g i c a l l y unimportant , and n e i t h e r conquest i s f o l l o w e d up by the v i c t o r s . The d e s t r u c t i o n of Dresden by the A l l i e s was pa r t of some "des ign" unknown to almost everyone. In t h i s opening chapter Vonnegut en ters h i s f i c t i o n a l w o r l d f o r the f i r s t t ime . He begins and ends h i s s t o r y about a f i c t i o n a l s o l d i e r i n World War I I w i t h p e r s o n a l , 124 b i o g r a p h i c a l d e t a i l s of h i s own l i f e and p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the same war. He e x p l a i n s tha t t h i s "shor t and jumbled and j ang l ed" (17) n o v e l i s the r e s u l t of twenty years of t h i n k i n g about what he once b e l i e v e d would be h i s f i r s t n o v e l . He con-cludes tha t t h i s " l o u s y l i t t l e book" (2) i s a f a i l u r e , a l though o r i g i n a l l y " I thought i t would be easy f o r me to w r i t e about the d e s t r u c t i o n of Dresden, s ince a l l I would have to do would be to r epo r t what I had seen" (2). He d i s c o v e r s tha t a s imple r epo r t i s not adequate to convey the sense of what the experience was r e a l l y l i k e . Nor are the c o n v e n t i o n a l pa t t e rns or inven ted symmetries of f i c t i o n adequate to express the f e e l i n g s of one who has p a r t i c i p a t e d i n such a remarkable and chao t i c event . In h i s n o v e l Vonnegut dispenses w i t h the t r a d i t i o n a l concept of beg inn ing , midd le , and end and, by so do ing , ga ins the freedom to arrange episodes so tha t they form a new and unusual p a t t e r n . The best d e s c r i p t i o n of Vonnegut ' s technique i s the one p rov ided by the Tral famadorians when they e x p l a i n t h e i r "nove l s" to B i l l y P i l g r i m . There i s no c o n s i s t e n t n a r r a t i v e i n Tra l famador ian n o v e l s ; they a re , l i k e Vonnegut 's n o v e l , " s c h i z o p h r e n i c te legrams" i n which each clump of symbols i s a b r i e f , urgent message—descr ibing a s i t u a t i o n , a scene. 125 We Tral famador ians read them a l l at once, not one a f t e r the o the r . There i s n ' t any p a r t i c u l a r r e l a t i o n s h i p between a l l the messages, except tha t the author has chosen them c a r e f u l l y , so t ha t , when seen a l l a t once, they produce an image of l i f e tha t i s b e a u t i f u l and s u r p r i s i n g and deep. There i s no beg inn ing , no midd le , no end, no suspense, no mora l , no causes, no e f f e c t s . What we love i n our books are the depths of many marvelous moments seen a l l at one t ime . ( 7 6 ) T h i s d e s c r i p t i o n i s of i n t e r e s t because i t p o i n t s to both s i m i l a r i t i e s and d i f f e r e n c e s between i t and Vonnegut 's n o v e l s . The emphasis on conciseness which becomes an important fea tu re of Vonnegut 's s t y l e w i t h the p u b l i c a t i o n of Mother  N i g h t , i s s i m i l a r to the Tra l famador ian s t y l e . "The b r i e f clumps of symbols separated by s t a r s " i s both the technique of the Tra l famador ian nove l s and Vonnegut 's n o v e l s , i n p a r t i c u l a r God B l e s s You, M r . Rosewater and Slaughterhouse- F i v e . The p r i n c i p a l d i f f e r e n c e i s an important one. The Tra l famador ians read t h e i r n o v e l s , not s e q u e n t i a l l y as E a r t h l i n g s do, but a l l i n one i n s t a n t . E a r t h l i n g s , however, do not have the c a p a c i t y to exper ience Time and Space as a s imultaneous moment r a t h e r than as a sequence of seconds or i n c h e s . Th i s i s not to say tha t E a r t h l i n g s do not e x i s t as the Tral famadorians say they do. Photographic time exposures may serve to convince us tha t the Tral famadorians are c o r r e c t 126 i n seeing us as "great m i l l i p e d e s " and the un ive r se as "luminous s p a g h e t t i " (75 ) . However, as E a r t h l i n g s we do have c e r t a i n l i m i t a t i o n s which photography cannot overcome. We have no way of see ing what l i e s i n the f u t u r e . The ease w i t h which the Tra l fama-dor ians pe rce ive a l l time as though i t were i n s t a s i s prevents them from p r o p e r l y unders tanding the human concern w i t h the pas s ing o f t ime . The Tral famador ians would he incapab le of unders tanding , f o r example, C e l i n e ' s exaspera-t i o n at the disappearance of the people who crowd the s t r e e t s : Make them s t o p . . . d o n ' t l e t them move anymore at a l l . . . T h e r e , make them f r e e z e . . . once and f o r a l l I . . . S o tha t they won ' t d isappear any morel ^ or Vonnegut 's f e e l i n g when fo rced to move on: There were l o t s of t h ings to stop and see— and then i t was time to go, always time to go. (10) or B i l l y P i l g r i m ' s response to the s i n g i n g of "That Old Gang of M i n e " : Gee, tha t song went, but I ' d g ive the wor ld  to see tha t o l d gang of mine. And so on. A l i t t l e l a t e r i t s a i d , So l o n g f o r e v e r , o l d  f e l l o w s and g a l s , so l ong fo r eve r o l d  sweethearts and pals—God b l e s s 1 em— And so on. (148) 127 The Tra l famador ian v e r s i o n of time has an important c o r o l l a r y . Not on ly do they exper ience a l l time s i m u l t a n -eous ly , but they have the a b i l i t y to choose from among the moments which ones they w i s h to v i s i t , and n a t u r a l l y they choose to exper ience the p leasan t moments. The Tra l famador ians cons ide r the E a r t h l i n g concept o f time s imply an e r r o r , but one which can be c o r r e c t e d . I n a t tempt ing to inven t a metaphor which desc r ibes adequately the E a r t h l i n g concept of t ime, the Tra l famador ian uses the example of a man on a moving f l a t car to whose head has been a t tached a long pipe through which he views a mountain range. This s t r i k i n g image serves i t s purpose, f o r i t shocks the reader i n t o a r e c o g n i t i o n of j u s t now l i m i t e d h i s senses a r e . The metaphor a l s o con ta ins some l i t e r a l t r u t h , f o r s e v e r a l t imes Vonnegut invokes s i m i l a r images to desc r ibe h i s c h a r a c t e r s ' l i m i t e d perspec-t i v e s . B i l l y P i l g r i m journeys s l owly across Europe w h i l e enclosed i n a boxcar and h i s on ly view of the landscape i s p rov ided by a narrow v e n t i l a t o r sha f t . The r e s t r i c t i o n p laced upon B i l l y ' s s i g h t i s an e x t e r n a l one imposed by the Germans, but he at l e a s t r e t a i n s a d e s i r e to see and to enlarge h i s p e r s p e c t i v e . There are those whose narrow v i s i o n i s se l f - imposed and who refuse to attempt to enlarge t h e i r 128 capac i t y to see. Such a person i s Roland Weary: H i s v i s i o n of the ou t s ide wor ld was l i m i t e d to what he cou ld see through a narrow s l i t between the r im of h i s helmet and h i s s c a r f from home, which concealed h i s baby face from the b r idge of h i s nose on down. (36) Weary 's p reoccupa t ion w i t h f a n t a s i e s of the Romantic S e l f obscures any v i s i o n of r e a l i t y , and he i s s i m i l a r i n t h i s respec t to many other charac te r s i n the n o v e l . S h o r t - s i g h t e d -ness i s both a p h y s i c a l and a me taphys ica l a f f l i c t i o n . Two ve ry d i f f e r e n t people , P a u l Laza r ro and W i l d Bob, a l s o have t h i s d i s ea se . B i l l y P i l g r i m i s , s i g n i f i c a n t l y , an op tome t r i s t , one whose job i s the improvement of v i s i o n . At one p o i n t i n the n o v e l B i l l y awakens to f i n d h i m s e l f s t a r i n g i n t o the " g l a s s eyes of a jade green mechanica l owl" which tu rns out to be h i s optometer, "an instrument f o r measuring r e f r a c t i v e e r r o r s i n ey e s—i n order tha t c o r r e c t i v e l enses may be p r e -s c r i b e d " (48 ) . He assures the woman whom he i s examining tha t her eyes are f i n e ; she merely needs g las ses f o r r e a d i n g . L a t e r , when B i l l y has exper ienced l i f e on Tralfamadore, he attempts to conver t E a r t h l i n g s by c o n v i n c i n g them of the p o s s i b i l i t i e s of see ing i n a new way. He o f f e r s a new means of p e r c e i v i n g time tha t has n o t h i n g to do w i t h g l a s s e s , 129 which are l i m i t e d devices ( B i l l y wears t r i - f o c a l s and sees i n three d imens ions ) . He t r i e s to convince people tha t i t i s p o s s i b l e to see i n the f o u r t h dimension, which i s the realm of the i m a g i n a t i o n . As Trout e x p l a i n s i n h i s n o v e l , Maniacs i n the Four th  Dimension, the causes of mental d i s o r d e r s are i n the f o u r t h dimension which i s i n h a b i t e d by a l l the b i z a r r e c rea tures of dreams. E a r t h l i n g doc tors " c o u l d n ' t see those causes a t a l l , or even imagine them" ( 9 0 ) . B i l l y i s ab le to move i n the f o u r t h dimension, he says . He i s a time t r a v e l l e r , which means tha t he v i s i t s d i f f e r e n t 5 moments i n h i s l i f e , pas t , present and f u t u r e : B i l l y i s s p a s t i c i n t ime, has no c o n t r o l over where he i s going nex t , and t r i p s a r e n ' t n e c e s s a r i l y fun . He i s i n a constant s ta te of stage f r i g h t , he says , because he never knows what pa r t of h i s l i f e he i s going to have to ac t i n nex t . (20) L i k e a l l of Vonnegut ' s cha rac t e r s , B i l l y P i l g r i m has no c o n t r o l over h i s a c t i o n s . He has a pa r t i n a p l ay which he d i d not w r i t e . L i k e a s o l d i e r , he i s a c t i n g a very i n s i g n i f -i c a n t pa r t i n a scenar io composed by a few l e a d e r s . The time t r a v e l l i n g which B i l l y does i s c l e v e r l y d e s c r i b e d . Al though the movements of B i l l y i n time are ' ' s p a s t i c ' 1 , there are connect ions between the journeys . U s u a l l y , an image or 130 a memory takes B i l l y to a new l o c a t i o n . The d e l o u s i n g showers i n the p r i s o n camp, f o r example, remind B i l l y of a ch i ldhood hath which h i s mother gave h im. B i l l y c l a ims tha t he a c t u a l l y does t r a v e l i n t ime, but i t may be tha t h i s i m a g i n a t i o n t r a v e l s i n s t e a d . A l l of h i s time t r a v e l s , w i t h the s i n g l e excep t ion of the one i n v o l v i n g h i s death, are t r a v e l s to the pas t , are the e f f e c t s , p o s s i b l y , of memory. F o l l o w i n g the war, B i l l y ' s emot ional s t a te i s qu i t e uns tab le and, l i k e so many ve te rans he q u i e t l y admits h i m s e l f to an asylum. "They had come here v o l u n t a r i l y , alarmed by the ou t s ide w o r l d " (86 ) . I t was a l s o not u n t i l h i s mi racu lous excape from the plane c rash on Sugarbush moun-t a i n ("And I alone am excaped to t e l l thee") tha t B i l l y f i r s t began p u b l i c i z i n g the f a c t tha t on the evening of h i s daughte r ' s wedding he was kidnapped by the Tra l famador ians . H i s e x p l a n a t i o n f o r h i s r e l u c t a n c e to mention any th ing of t h i s i n c i d e n t i s r a t h e r weak: " I d i d n ' t t h ink the time was r i p e " ( 2 6 ) . The reader has on ly B i l l y ' s word f o r the a u t h e n t i c i t y of h i s journeys i n time and space s ince there i s no way he can prove what he says . A l s o , s e v e r a l of h i s accounts are s u s p i c i o u s l y s i m i l a r to the p l o t s of nove l s by Trou t . The e n t i r e s t o ry of the zoo on Tralfamadore f o l l o w s f a i r l y c l o s e l y the p l o t of T r o u t ' s The B i g Board . Both he and Rosewater, 131 a f e l l o w r e c l u s e from the ou t s ide w o r l d , "were t r y i n g to r e - i n v e n t themselves and t h e i r u n i v e r s e . Science f i c t i o n was a b i g h e l p " ( 8 7 ) . Through the a s s i s t a n c e of sc ience f i c t i o n , B i l l y ob ta ins a v iew of the w o r l d which i s more acceptable to him than the one which accompanies h i s ex i s t ence as an o p t o m e t r i s t . L i k e so many of Vonnegut 's p r o t a g o n i s t s , B i l l y i s d i s s a t i s f i e d w i t h h i s own pe r sona l success i n a w o r l d i n which so few are s u c c e s s f u l . B i l l y i s e s s e n t i a l l y an i d e a l i s t who f i n d s i n T r o u t ' s nove l s those necessary " f a n t a s i e s of an i m p o s s i b l y h o s p i t a b l e w o r l d . " Wi th the a s s i s t a n c e of T r o u t ' s nove l s B i l l y c rea tes f o r h i m s e l f a w o r l d i n which p a i n , misery and death are i n c o n s e q u e n t i a l . In B i l l y ' s s e l f - c r e a t e d wor ld happiness i s the norm. The Tra l famador ian zoo, the f a n t a s t i c wor ld to which B i l l y i s t r anspo r t ed , i s one i n which such incongruous f i g u r e s as a blue movie s t a r l e t and a t i m i d op tomet r i s t can e x i s t together con ten ted ly and f r u i t f u l l y . K i l g o r e Trout , the o r i g i n a t o r of B i l l y ' s f a n t a s i e s , pursues B i l l y and h i s t a l e g r e e d i l y , because B i l l y i s a c t i n g out f a n t a s i e s which Trout i s eager to have s u b s t a n t i a t e d . The Tral famador ians teach B i l l y tha t a l l time i s h i s to keep. They t r y to convince B i l l y tha t he can s a f e l y ignore p a i n and death because no th ing can be gained by c o n c e n t r a t i n g on 132 what i s i n e v i t a b l e . The wor ld ends, they c l a i m , when a Tra l famador ian pushes a but ton and a c c i d e n t a l l y a n n i h i l a t e s the u n i v e r s e . The ending i s , l i k e tha t of She S i r ens of T i t a n , o f no p a r t i c u l a r consequence. There i s a l s o no way o f p r e -v e n t i n g such an occurrence because the "'moment i s s t r u c t u r e d tha t way'' (101) . They adv i se B i l l y to ignore the unpleasant moments and concentra te i n s t e a d on the p leasant ones. The Tra l famador ians are convinced tha t E a r t h l i n g s can l e a r n to develop the a b i l i t y to v i s i t on ly happy moments: T h a t ' s one t h i n g E a r t h l i n g s might l e a r n to do, i f they t r i e d hard enough. Ignore the awful t imes , and concentra te on the good ones. (101) F r e q u e n t l y , B i l l y does t r a v e l i n time to a more comfort -a b l e , more p l easu rab le moment. Not a l l of the moments v i s i t e d by B i l l y , however, are p leasant ones. Some of the moments are ha r sh , and o thers are a t t r a c t i v e but dangerous. B i l l y t h i n k s f r e q u e n t l y about death and how i t f e e l s to d i e . The idea i s a t t r a c t i v e to B i l l y , who t h i n k s tha t b i r t h and death are very s i m i l a r : Th i s was when B i l l y f i r s t came unstuck i n t ime . H i s a t t e n t i o n began to swing grandly through the f u l l a rc of h i s l i f e , pass ing i n t o death, which was v i o l e t l i g h t . There wasn ' t anybody e l se the re , or any t h i n g . There was j u s t v i o l e t l i g h t — a n d a hum. 133 And then B i l l y swung i n t o l i f e a g a i n , going backwards u n t i l he was i n p r e - b i r t h , which v/as red l i g h t and bubb l ing sounds. And then he swung i n t o l i f e aga in and s topped. (37) B i l l y ' s mind stops a t a r e c o l l e c t i o n of a swimming l e s s o n du r ing which he n e a r l y drowned. The l e s s o n , which i s l i k e an " e x e c u t i o n " , resembles numerous other t h r ea t s to h i s e x i s t e n c e . Long before he ever t e l l s anyone about h i s time t r a v e l s or f l y i n g saucers , B i l l y exper iences innumerable deaths and t h r ea t s of death . H i s f a the r d i e s i n a hun t ing a c c i d e n t ; h i s dy ing mother cannot understand how she got so o l d ; h i s w i f e d i e s of monoxide p o i s o n i n g . The war p rov ides B i l l y w i t h f u r t h e r occas ions f o r t h i n k i n g about dea th . Throughout the war B i l l y longs f o r the v i o l e t hum which represen ts "no p a i n , " and so he must be prodded, n e a r l y beaten, before he can be convinced to go on. B i l l y ' s a t t r a c t i o n to the " v i o l e t hum" i s , l i k e h i s Edenic v i s i o n s , an a l t e r n a t i v e to the problem of l i v i n g i n a w o r l d i n which p a i n and misery overshadow happiness . When p layed backwards the war movie which B i l l y watches concludes w i t h a r e t u r n to Eden. The image of Eden a l s o appears i n the p a t i n a of the young German " a n g e l ' s " boo ts . B i l l y , l i k e many other Vonnegut p r o t a g o n i s t s , seeks a r e t u r n 134 to a once b e a u t i f u l and peacefu l time symbol ized by p r e l a p s a r i a n innocence. The Tral famadorians "enclose him a c y l i n d e r of purp le l i g h t " (65) i n order to t r anspor t him to a unique Eden which i s i n the form of a zoo where he i s mated w i t h Montana Wi ldhack . They teach B i l l y not to fea r death or to mourn over the l o s s of anyone's l i f e . I f i t were t r u e , as the Tra l famador ians c l a i m , tha t time i s s t a t i c r a the r than con-t i n u a l l y moving, then the ex p r e s s ion , "So i t goes", would be the most app ropr i a t e response to a l l m i s fo r tune ; Now, when I myse l f hear tha t somebody i s dead, I s imply shrug and say what the Tral famadorians say about dead people , which i s , 'So i t goes . ' (23) T h i s statement, which f o l l o w s the mention of each death i n the n o v e l , i s an important one, f o r i t r e f l e c t s the. a t t i t u d e which i s a cqu i r ed by B i l l y through h i s experience on Tra l fama-dore . B i l l y ' s newly acqu i red a t t i t u d e i s summarized by the statement on the plaque hanging on h i s o f f i c e w a l l and the comment which the n a r r a t o r makes about the statement: God Grant Me The Se ren i t y to Accept The Things I Cannot Change, Courage To Change the Things I Can And Wisdom Always To T e l l the D i f f e r ence 135 Among the th ings which B i l l y P i l g r i m cou ld not change were the pas t , the present , and the f u t u r e . (52) Noth ing w i l l ever change. Man remains as s e l f i s h and des i rous of power as ever . B i l l y has l ea rned Bokonon 1 s l e s s o n , but f i n d s tha t w i t h the a i d of the Tra l famador ians , he can accept l i f e r a t h e r than deny i t . Por him l i f e does not have any s p e c i a l v a l u e , but he does not despise i t e i t h e r . He l e a rn s to overcome h i s d e s i r e to ' ' qu i t and su r -render and apo log ize and ask to be l e f t a lone" (159) . In f a c t , B i l l y becomes a c t i v e where he was fo rmer ly p a s s i v e . He becomes engaged i n the task of p r e s c r i b i n g " c o r r e c t i v e l enses f o r E a r t h l i n g s o u l s " (25 ) . H i s f a n t a s i e s g ive him the s t r eng th to overcome h i s p a r a l y s i s and h i s de s i r e to have done w i t h l i f e . However, B i l l y P i l g r i m ' s f a n t a s i e s c o n t a i n c e r t a i n dangers. Al though h i s f a n t a s i e s are d i s t i n g u i s h e d from simple h a l l u c i n a t i o n s , an example of which i s the i c e - s k a t i n g episode (42) , they a re , n e v e r t h l e s s , f a n t a s i e s . B i l l y accepts the f a c t tha t he can do no th ing to change any event i n h i s l i f e . This i s a c o n s o l a t i o n , e s p e c i a l l y to a man who has exper ienced so much mis fo r tune , but i t i s a l s o an escape from involvement i n human a f f a i r s . The f a n t a s i e s may be, 136 l i k e the Magic F i n g e r s which induce s l eep , merely a way o f r e l i e v i n g h i s mind of the burdens of r e a l i t y . He cannot, f o r example, a s s i s t the c r i p p l e s who come to h i s door s e l l i n g i l l e g i t i m a t e magazine s u b s c r i p t i o n s . He faces the same d i f f i c u l t y as E l i o t Rosewater: how to he lp the h e l p l e s s : B i l l y went on weeping as he contemplated the c r i p p l e s and t h e i r boss . H i s door chimes clanged h e l l i s h l y . He c lo sed h i s eyes, and opened them a g a i n . He was s t i l l weeping, but he was back i n Luxembourg a g a i n . He was march-i n g w i t h a l o t of other p r i s o n e r s . I t was a w i n t e r wind tha t was b r i n g i n g t ea r s to h i s eyes . (54) B i l l y ' s weeping i n d i c a t e s a s p l i t i n h i s emotions. On the one hand, he f e e l s sad about the d i s c o m f i t u r e of h i s f e l l o w human be ings , w h i l e on the other he i n s i s t s upon d e l i v e r i n g h i s message of hope. Such a s p l i t a l l o w s him to d r i v e a C a d i l l a c , l i v e i n an expensive house, belong to i n f l u e n t i a l c l u b s , and so on, w h i l e f e e l i n g sympathetic towards those who have n o t h i n g . B i l l y has l ea rned tha t " e v e r y t h i n g was b e a u t i f u l , And no th ing hur t " (106) . As a ve t e ran of numerous "duty-dances" w i t h death, B i l l y r e tu rns to t e l l h i s f e l l o w human beings tha t there i s hope f o r mankind. B i l l y ' s panacea cures pover ty , d i sease , war and death . Al though such a s o l u t i o n to 137 the problems of con f ron t ing p a i n and m o r t a l i t y i s an agree-ab le one, i t i s not one which can be accepted e a s i l y . A l l of B i l l y ' s important r e v e l a t i o n s are q u a l i f i e d i n the n o v e l by the exp re s s ion , "He s a y s , " an exp re s s ion which resembles the phrase, " w r i t e s Bokonon", which i s used so f r equen t ly i n C a t ' s  C r a d l e . B i l l y o f f e r s a v e r s i o n , not the v e r s i o n , of e x i s t e n c e : As a t i m e - t r a v e l e r , he has seen h i s own death many t imes , has desc r ibed i t to a tape r e c o r d e r . The tape i s l ocked up w i t h h i s w i l l and some other v a l u a b l e s i n h i s sa fe -depos i t box at the I l i u m Merchants N a t i o n a l Bank and T r u s t , he says . (122) What remains, even a f t e r B i l l y ' s arguments to the con t r a ry , i s j u s t " p l a i n o l d death" ( 3 ) . Vonnegut, too , i s i n v o l v e d i n a "duty-dance w i t h death" and, l i k e B i l l y , he seeks some way to r e c o n c i l e h i m s e l f to h i s own l i m i t e d c o n d i t i o n . L i k e Trou t , Vonnegut exp lores the p o s s i b i l i t i e s of B i l l y ' s f a n t a s i e s . Vonnegut i s a f e l l o w t r a v e l l e r w i t h B i l l y and h i s tone, when r e p o r t i n g h i s own r e -a c t i o n s , i s always e x c i t e d , and he seems eager to subs t an t i a t e many of B i l l y ' s exper iences by c l a i m i n g , "That was I . That was me. That was the author of t h i s book" (109) . He snares B i l l y ' s concern f o r e s t a b l i s h i n g some coherent view of t ime: 138 And I asked myse l f about the presen t : how wide i t was, how deep i t was, how much was mine to keep. (16) U n l i k e B i l l y , who d i s c o v e r s tha t a l l time i s h i s to keep, Vonnegut r e c o g n i z e s , l i k e C e l i n e , the c e n t r a l i t y of death to human exper ience : •The t r u t h i s d e a t h , ' he wro t e . ' I ' v e fought n i c e l y aga ins t i t as l ong as I c o u l d . . . d a n c e d w i t h i t , fes tooned i t , wa l t zed i t a round . . . deco ra t ed i t w i t h s treamers, t i t i l a t e d i t . . . " The n o v e l ends as i t began, w i t h Vonnegut e n t e r i n g h i s f i c t i o n a l w o r l d . He recounts recent examples o f deaths caused by war, compe t i t i on and even by a c c i d e n t . F o l l o w i n g each of these accounts i s the Tra l famador ian exp re s s ion , "So i t goes ." The e f f e c t of quot ing such a phrase i n the context of f a c t u a l d e t a i l s i s to make the reader aware of the d i f f i c u l t i e s of adopt ing such a pass ive a t t i t u d e towards f a t e . Al though Vonnegut acknowledges the l i m i t a t i o n s of B i l l y ' s f a n t a s i e s , he admits tha t they do prov ide a l e s s o n : I f what B i l l y P i l g r i m l ea rned from the Tra l famador ians i s t r u e , tha t we w i l l a l l l i v e f o r e v e r , no matter how dead we may sometimes seem to be, I am not over joyed . S t i l l — i f I am going to spend e t e r n i t y v i s i t i n g t h i s moment 139 and t ha t , I 'm g r a t e f u l tha t so many of those moments are n i c e . (182) B i l l y ' s f i c t i o n s may be inadequate , but t h e i r s t rengths are p a r t i a l compensation f o r t h e i r weaknesses. In comparison to B i l l y , most of the other charac te r s i n the nove l are r i d i c u -l o u s . Many inven t f i c t i o n s which are h o p l e s s l y inadequate and s e l f i s h . The f a n t a s i e s of both Roland Weary and W i l d Bob are obvious d i s t o r t i o n s of r e a l i t y , and n e i t h e r of these dreamers s u r v i v e s the war. B i l l y ' s daughter, Barbara , c rea tes a f i c t i o n to e x p l a i n the r e l a t i o n s h i p between h e r s e l f and her f a t h e r . In her fantasy she i s i n c o n t r o l of her h e l p l e s s f a t h e r . In o thers there appears to be a l a c k of the c a p a c i t y to dream or to i n v e n t . An example i s the group who debate about the fu ture of the n o v e l . T he i r i n a b i l i t y to see beyond t h e i r own l i m i t e d imagina t ions and t h e i r u n w i l l i n g n e s s to l i s t e n to B i l l y ' s s to ry are s t rong i n d i c a t i o n s of t h e i r inadequacy. The scene i s a humorou©ne, f o r B i l l y ' s s t o r y , which he c l a ims i s t r u e , i s the b a s i s , f o r Vonnegut ' s f i c t i o n . The scene i s , t h e r e f o r e , a c r i t i c i s m of those whose narrow d e f i n i t i o n s of what a n o v e l i s and should be prevent them from accep t ing new examples of imag ina t ive w r i t i n g . C r i t i c s such as those s a t i r i z e d i n t h i s episode would deny man the oppor tun i ty to e x e r c i s e h i s c r e a t i v e v i s i o n and to cons t ruc t i n h i s i m a g i n a t i o n " f a n t a s i e s of an i m p o s s i b l y h o s p i t a b l e w o r l d . " 140 But the c r i t i c s have no reasonable a l t e r n a t i v e s to o f f e r . Ins tead , they appear content w i t h d i s c u s s i n g an a t roph ied form. B i l l y i s "gen t ly e x p e l l e d from the s tud io du r ing a commercial" because what he o f f e r s as a theory about the fu tu re of the n o v e l i s p repos te rous . B i l l y i s qu i t e r i g h t l y e x p e l l e d because he confuses two k i n d s of exper i ence . He o f f e r s h i s imag ina t ive exper iences as f a c t u a l ones, and so confuses f i c t i o n w i t h f a c t . Vonnegut, on the other hand, r ecogn izes the va lue of f i c t i o n i n our l i v e s but does not make the mis take of confus ing h i s f i c t i o n s w i t h f a c t s . H i s nove l s r eco rd the e f f o r t of one man to f i n d a s u c c e s s f u l p o s i t i v e a t t i t u d e to the hopeless paradox tha t confronts a l l men who g ive any thought to the nature of t h e i r l i v e s . H i s nove l s have moved t e n t a t i v e l y i n the d i r e c t i o n of opt imism, but they are never wi thout a c a r e f u l c r i t i c a l s k e p t i c i s m . S laughterhouse-Five may w e l l be the l i m i t to which Vonnegut can go i n f i n d i n g a p o s i t i v e answer. I t i s not a f i n a l answer that he f i n d s i n the exper iences of B i l l y P i l g r i m , nor i s i t an e n t i r e l y c o n s o l i n g one. B i l l y ' s f a n t a s i e s remain l a r g e l y i n a c c e s s i b l e and remote, but Vonnegut i s moved to comment tha t even i f such a view of l i f e as B i l l y has i s not a t t a i n a b l e , there are approximat ions of i t i n the happ ie r moments tha t l i f e p r o v i d e s . 141 B i l l y has one n o t i c e a b l e advantage over the three e a r l i e r p r o t a g o n i s t s , P ro teus , Constant , and Campbel l : he s u r v i v e s and they do no t . Even more than Jonah, B i l l y i s an Ishmael f i g u r e who has "escaped to t e l l thee" of the wreckage of h i s plane and h i s newly acqu i r ed knowledge about l i f e . B i l l y ' s success i s even g rea te r than that of E l i o t Rosewater. He has guaranteed h i m s e l f the k i n d of happiness unknown to any other of Vonnegut*s p r o t a g o n i s t s . However, he s t i l l does not have a comple te ly s a t i s f a c t o r y view of l i f e , f o r h i s ou t look i s too s imp le . I t over looks c o n t r a -d i c t i o n s and c o m p l e x i t i e s . In shor t , B i l l y P i l g r i m detaches h i m s e l f from l i f e as i t i s l i v e d by the m a j o r i t y of men. Vonnegut o f f e r s us the necessary ba lance , and i f h i s p o s i t i o n i s a l e s s happy one than B i l l y ' s , i t i s more honest and i s c l o s e r to our common exper iences . By t a k i n g a pa r t i n h i s own f i c t i o n a l w o r l d , Vonnegut has fo rced h i m s e l f to c l a r i f y the extent to which conso la to ry f i c t i o n s can be of a s s i s t a n c e i n d e a l i n g w i t h the problems of l i v i n g . S laughterhouse-Five i s an honest assessment of t h i s s i t u a t i o n and i t i s d i f f i c u l t to p r o j e c t what course Vonnegut could take a f t e r the statement he makes i n t h i s most recent n o v e l . But , i n c e r t a i n cases , c a r r y i n g on, merely c o n t i n u i n g , i s superhuman. The F a l l A l b e r t Camus As I walked through the w i l d e r n e s s of t h i s w o r l d , I l i g h t e d on a c e r t a i n p lace where was a den, and I l a i d me down i n tha t p lace to s l eep , and as I s l e p t I dreamed a dream. I dreamed, and behold I saw a man c l o t h e d w i t h r ags , s t and ing i n a c e r t a i n p l a c e , w i t h h i s face from h i s own house, a book i n h i s hand, and a great burden upon h i s back. I l ooked , and saw him open the book, and read t h e r e i n ; and as he read he wept and t rembled , and not be ing ab le longer to c o n t a i n , he broke out w i t h a lamentable c r y , s a y i n g , "What s h a l l I do?" The P i l g r i m * s Progress John Bunyan CONCLUSION Vonnegut ' s recent p o p u l a r i t y has a t t r a c t e d cons ide rab le c r i t i c a l i n t e r e s t . Wi th the excep t ion of a few se r ious a p p r a i s a l s , c r i t i c s have contented themselves w i t h bestowing l a v i s h p r a i s e on the n o v e l s . Such u n r e s t r a i n e d a d u l a t i o n i s bound to b r i n g about a r e a c t i o n , and i t has fi . a r e c e n t a r t i c l e i n The New York Review of Books, Jack Richardson o f f e r s an extremely nega t ive view of Vonnegut*s achievement. He accuses Vonnegut of c a p i t a l i z i n g upon the cur ren t demand f o r f i c t i o n which c rea tes a f a c i l e "us" and "them" c o n f r o n t a t i o n . R ichardson c la ims tha t a t an age l i k e ours deserves and gets "a so f t , s en t imen ta l s a t i r i s t l i k e Vonnegut, a p o p u l a r i z e r of naughty whimsy, a compi le r of ea sy - to - r ead t ru isms about s o c i e t y who a l l o w s everyone ' s hear t to be i n the r i g h $ p l a c e . " ^ That M r . R i c h a r d s o n ' s view i s a d i s t o r t e d one i s not d i f f i c u l t to prove . The examples which he s e l e c t s to represent the q u a l i t y o f Vonnegut 's work are h i s f i r s t novel, P l a y e r  P i ano , which , a d m i t t e d l y , i s not Vonnegut 's best work, and a shor t s t o ry o r i g i n a l l y pub l i shed i n Playboy and e n t i t l e d ''Welcome to the Monkey House." The only other work of Vonnegut 's which Richardson comments on i s S laughterhouse-Five 142 143 ( s i n c e the a r t i c l e i s a review of t h i s n o v e l ) . He centers upon t h i s n o v e l ' s major r e f r a i n , "So i t goes ," and c la ims that t h i s statement i s the exp re s s ion of the n o v e l i s t ' s " i n f a n t i l e s t o i c i s m " ( 8 ) . Such a c o n c l u s i o n qu i t e o b v i o u s l y misses the po in t of t h i s phrase . "So i t goes" i s not " i n f u r i a t i n g " because i t i s an exp re s s ion o f the a u t h o r ' s s u p e r i o r i t y or complacency, but because i t i s a reminder t ha t , on the one hand, we r e s i g n ourse lves too e a s i l y to our grim fa te w h i l e , on the o ther , there i s l i t t l e tha t we can a c t u a l l y do to prevent such cataclysms as the d e s t r u c t i o n of Dresden. L i k e the f i v e p rev ious n o v e l s , S laughterhouse-Five p o i n t s to the n e c e s s i t y f o r change, but i t o f f e r s l i t t l e hope that any s i g n i f i c a n t change w i l l take p l a c e . Vonnegut reminds us tha t wars are perhaps our major means of denying the human impulse towards happiness , but "even i f wars d i d n ' t keep p coming l i k e g l a c i e r s , there would s t i l l be p l a n o l d . d e a t h . " By c o n c e n t r a t i n g upon those fo rces which deny man the a t t a i n -ment of order and harmony, Vonnegut o f f e r s an uncompromising view of the human s i t u a t i o n i n our t ime . L i k e C e l i n e , whom he quotes i n S laugh te rhouse -F ive , Vonnegut refuses to ave r t h i s eyes, to ignore what i s evident to the c r i t i c a l eye. At the same time he i s sympathetic to the human d e s i r e f o r order and happiness . Vonnegut 's c o n c l u s i o n seems to be tha t l i f e i s a shor t , 144 confus ing encounter w i t h randomness and u n c e r t a i n t y and tha t desp i t e a l l e f f o r t s to the con t r a ry , there i s no s i n g l e , i d e n t i f i a b l e goa l tha t men are s t r i v i n g f o r . And even i f there were, man must beware of the f o l l y of p re tend ing to understand what i t i s . As L e s l i e F i e d l e r p o i n t s out concerning modern man, "We endure u n c e r t a i n t y , not as a stage on the way to 3 knowledge, but as our e s s e n t i a l c o n d i t i o n . " The extent to which we r e b e l aga ins t t h i s u n c e r t a i n t y w h i l e remaining mind-f u l tha t i t i s our c o n d i t i o n , i s the extent to which we mark ourse lves as human. F i e d l e r ' s idea (which he de r ive s from M e l v i l l e ) tha t the t rue a r t i s t i s one who says Noi In Thunder a p p l i e s to Vonnegut: Here i s the u l t i m a t e nega t i on , the Hard No pressed as f a r as i t w i l l go. Yet "no th ing" i s not qu i t e F a u l k n e r ' s l a s t word, on ly the next to l a s t . In the end, the n e g a t i v i s t i s no n i h i l i s t , f o r he a f f i r m s the v o i d . Having endured a v i s i o n of the meaninglessness of e x i s t e n c e , he r e t r e a t s n e i t h e r i n t o s e l f - p i t y and aggr ieved s i l e n c e nor i n t o a realm of b e a u t i f u l l i e s . He chooses, r a t h e r , to render the a b s u r d i t y which he pe r -c e i v e s , to know i t and make i t known. To know and to render , however, mean to give form; and to g ive form i s to provide the p o s s i b i l t y of d e l i g h t — a d e l i g h t which does not deny h o r r o r but l i v e s at i t s i n t o l e r a b l e h e a r t . 4 F i e d l e r i s speaking here of The Sound and the Fury but he 145 might w e l l be speaking of a n o v e l l i k e C a t ' s Cradle or S laugh te rhouse -F ive . For a l l the a t t r a c t i v e n e s s of the b e a u t i f u l l i e s and the opposing tempta t ion to l apse i n t o aggr ieved s i l e n c e , Vonnegut p e r s i s t s i n r ender ing h i s account o f human exper ience i n i t s naked form. The sense of l o s s and of d e n i a l i s so poignant i n Vonnegut 's novels because the a c t u a l f a l l s so shor t of the p o s s i b l e . "The f u n c t i o n of American f i c t i o n , " c la ims Ihab Hassan, " i s to mediate between the h e r o ' s outrageous dream and the sadness of human m o r t a l i t y . " ^ B i l l y P i l g r i m ' s dream i n v o l v e s an escape from more than a c h a o t i c s o c i e t y ; i t i n v o l v e s an escape from time and death. Faced w i t h f i n i t u d e on every s i d e , he longs f o r a way ou t . Vonnegut i m p l i e s tha t so many of the o l d l i e s have been d i s c r e d i t e d , so many of the o l d escape routes b locked , tha t new ways must be found and that i t i s the task of the c r e a t i v e imag ina t i on to supply them. There i s an a i r of despe ra t ion i n Vonnegut 's nove l s tha t can be t r aced from the f i r s t to the l a s t . I t i s the despe ra t ion of a man who longs to provide these escapes but who i s a l s o aware of the i m p o s s i b i l i t y of doing so. In t h i s respect S laughterhouse-Five represen ts a con-t i n u i n g i n t e r e s t i n tha t paradox which i s c e n t r a l to every one of Vonnegut ' s n o v e l s . H i s p r o t a g o n i s t s t r y despe ra te ly 146 to l i e about t h e i r c o n d i t i o n , but they are fo rced by c i r -cumstances to acknowledge the p i t i l e s s t r u t h of t h e i r s i t u a t i o n . The theme, then, i s constant i n Vonnegut 1 s n o v e l s . What changes and develops are h i s pe r spec t i ve and h i s pe r -sona l r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h h i s p r o t a g o n i s t s . The f i r s t two n o v e l s , P l a y e r Piano and The S i rens of T i t a n , express the major themes of the remain ing n o v e l s . Proteus and Constant both seek an escape from the p a r a d o x i c a l s i t u a t i o n tha t conf ines them. T he i r p r i v a t e l i v e s , ambi t ions and dreams are cha l l enged by the demands of p u b l i c l i f e . N e i t h e r Pro teus nor Constant can s u r v i v e when cha l l enged ; Proteus surrenders and Constant d i e s . In Mother N igh t Vonnegut i n t roduces a v a r i a t i o n on h i s c e n t r a l theme and, i n so do ing , i n t roduces a s i g n i f i c a n t s t y l i s t i c change as w e l l . The theme i s s t i l l the i r r e c o n -c i l a b l e s p l i t between p r i v a t e and p u b l i c demands. In t h i s n o v e l a r t r a t h e r than bus iness i s the refuge which the p r o -t a g o n i s t seeks. One cannot over look the importance t h i s subject has f o r Vonnegut, a w r i t e r h i m s e l f . By adopt ing the r o l e of e d i t o r he a l l o w s h i m s e l f to be at l e a s t p a r t i a l l y drawn i n t o h i s f i c t i o n a l w o r l d and t h i s i s something he does not do i n e i t h e r of the f i r s t two n o v e l s . The correspondence between the imag ina t ive wor lds h i s p r o t a g o n i s t s create and 147 the f i c t i o n a l wor lds the w r i t e r c rea tes becomes an important pa r t of each of the f o l l o w i n g n o v e l s . Vonnegut ' s r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h Howard W. Campbel l , J r . i s d i f f i c u l t to assess because Vonnegut d i s t ances h i m s e l f d e l i b e r a t e l y i n the much the same way Nabakov does i n l o l i t a . Campbell emerges from h i s confess ion as a man who i s by turns amusing, p i t i f u l , and admirab le . In t h i s respec t he resembles the p ro t agon i s t of another c o n f e s s i o n a l n o v e l , The F a l l . L i k e Jean B a p t i s t e Clamence, Campbell i s a judge-pen i t en t , a man whose ind ic tment of h i m s e l f f o r cr imes commited aga ins t humanity becomes, through a m i r r o r image, an ind ic tment of a l l mankind. In denouncing h i m s e l f , he denounces everyone because h i s weakness i s the i n f i r m i t y of the age. Campbell and Clamence openly p r o c l a i m t h e i r own g u i l t and proceed to pass sentence upon themselves . They are e x p i a t o r y v i c t i m s f o r an age that demands a mess iah . Campbell pays f o r h i s own crimes as w e l l as those of o the r s , but no s a l v a t i o n fol lows and no one i s redeemed. Despi te the o v e r t l y p e s s i m i s t i c statement w i t h which Mother Nigh t concludes , Vonnegut suggests tha t an important f i r s t step towards any s a t i s f a c t o r y s o l u t i o n to our present dilemma must be an u n f l i n c h i n g l y honest acknowledgement of our pe r sona l and c o l l e c t i v e g u i l t . Clamence's most p o s i t i v e 148 statement i n The F a l l corresponds to the i m p l i c i t statement Mother N igh t makes: "We cannot endure the innocence of any-one, whereas we can s t a te w i t h c e r t a i n t y the g u i l t of a l l . Every man t e s t i f i e s to the crime of a l l the others — that i s my f a i t h and my hope." ^ Vonnegut 's f o u r t h p r o t a g o n i s t , Jonah of C a t ' s C rad l e , at tempts to f i n d a p o s i t i v e course somewhere between p r i v a t e and p u b l i c demands. He i s o f fe red o p p o r t u n i t i e s to l i v e both p r i v a t e and p u b l i c l i v e s , but seeks some mean between the two. He i s tempted by the refuge o f fe red by Bokononism and Mona Aamons Monzano and he i s tempted by the o f f e r of the p res idency of San Lorenzo . He i s content i n n e i t h e r s i t u a t i o n and by the end of the n o v e l i t i s c l e a r tha t he has yet to f i n d a s a t i s f a c t o r y course . The major s h i f t which takes p lace i n t h i s n o v e l i s from a d e f e a t i s t a t t i t u d e to a more o p t i m i s t i c one, a l though Jonah ' s optimism i s guarded. Jonah i s determined to f i n d a s u c c e s s f u l s o l u t i o n to the problem of l i v i n g i n a w o r l d tha t consp i res to des t roy i t s e l f . He has s u r v i v e d h i s own sea d i s a s t e r and has "escaped to t e l l thee . " But i f he manages to su rv ive where P ro teus , Constant , and Campbell do not , the reader i s l e f t to wonder whether h i s s u r v i v a l presages any th ing f o r the f u t u r e . The n o v e l ' s c o n c l u s i o n i s co loured by Vonnegut 's 149 c h a r a c t e r i s t i c c y n i c i s m . The n o v e l poses the q u e s t i o n t h a t i f genocide i s the f a v o u r i t e p a s s t i m e of t h e human r a c e , i s s u i c i d e the o n l y a l t e r n a t i v e f o r an i n d i v i d u a l ? Vonnegut l e a v e s the q u e s t i o n unanswered. I f the book r e a c h e s any s u r v i v o r s , i t i s up t o them t o answer the q u e s t i o n f o r them-s e l v e s . I n s h o r t , i t i s the duty o f the s u r v i v o r s t o f i n d an answer b e f o r e i t i s t o o l a t e . God B l e s s You, Mr. Rosewater t a k e s up the theme o f the f o r m e r n o v e l s and examines i t from a n o t h e r p o i n t of v i e w . I n s o f a r as t h e n o v e l e x p l o r e s the p o s s i b i l i t i e s o f e xpanding the s e l f t o s a t i s f y the needs o f masses o f p e o p l e , i t i s the companion p i e c e t o Mother N i g h t , w h i c h e x p l o r e s the r e c e s s e s and r e s o u r c e s o f the e x c l u s i v e s e l f . Where Mother N i g h t , w i t h i t s a l l u s i o n t o F a u s t , o f f e r s a view o f d i s s o l u t i o n , God B l e s s You, Mr. Rosewater o f f e r s a v i e w of s a l v a t i o n . E l i o t Rosewater, a shabby prop h e t i m p a t i e n t over the f a i l u r e o f a m essiah t o appear, becomes the m e s s i a h h i m s e l f . U n f o r -t u n a t e l y , as the n o v e l c l e a r l y d e m o n s t r a t e s, the r e s o u r c e s o f our human messiahs a r e l i m i t e d . Money and good v / i l l a r e i n -adequate s u b s t i t u t e s f o r grace and f a i t h . The n o v e l i s not s i m p l y a s a t i r e o f human i n d i f f e r e n c e , but a statement about our i n a b i l i t y t o save o u r s e l v e s . Rosewater i s no more a s u c c e s s f u l m e s s i a h t h a n i s C o n s t a n t , and he i s , i f a n y t h i n g , 150 a l l the more p a t h e t i c because he i s the engineer of h i s own hopeless p l a n f o r s a l v a t i o n . I f love was seen i n Mother Night as too e x c l u s i v e and concentra ted on too sma l l an a rea , i t ' i s seen as too i n c l u s i v e and d i l u t e d i n God B l e s s You, M r . Rose-wate r . The r e a l s i g n i f i c a n c e of t h i s n o v e l , however, i s tha t g iven the choice between s e l f i s h n e s s and s e l f l e s s n e s s , Rosewater chooses the l a t t e r , and desp i t e the apparent a b s u r d i t y of h i s f i n a l statement, a sure s i g n of h i s r e l apse i n t o i n s a n i t y , he i s determined to pe r se rve re . He i s not w i l l i n g to forsake the s t rugg le to he lp improve the l o t of mankind. Desp i te Rosewater*s noble ges ture , however, Vonnegut*s pe r sona l sus-p i c i o n i s ev ident i n the tone of the n o v e l . He i s p r a c t i c a l enough to~know tha t such a l t r u i s t i c schemes are doomed to f a i l u r e . Our Schwei tzers su rv ive i n j u n g l e s , not i n modern m e t r o p o l i s e s . S laughterhouse-Five takes the reader backward and f o r -ward i n t ime, back to the war, forward to the end of the w o r l d . But i t a l s o takes the reader backward i n t o Vonnegut ' s f i c t -i o n a l wor ld and i t r e - i n t r o d u c e s f i g u r e s l i k e Rumfoord, Gamp-b e l l , Trou t , and Rosewater. Th i s l a s t nove l a l s o in t roduces a charac te r whose presence i s f e l t throughout the n o v e l s , a l though he appears on ly once as an i m p a r t i a l r ecorder of 151 the a c t i o n s of another . T h i s f i g u r e i s , of course , Vonne-gut h i m s e l f . H i s attempt to i d e n t i f y h i m s e l f as a p r o t a g -o n i s t i n t h i s n o v e l culminates the e x p l o r a t i o n of h i s r e l a -t i o n s h i p w i t h h i s f i c t i o n a l cha rac te r s and t h e i r f a n t a s i e s . B i l l y P i l g r i m reads sc ience f i c t i o n t a l e s loaned to him by Rosewater. But Rosewater i s a f i c t i o n a l charac te r from a former n o v e l who i s , i n a sense, on l o a n . S i m i l a r l y , Rose-water can thank K i l g o r e Trout f o r the sc ience f i c t i o n books. But Trout i s a l s o a f i c t i o n a l cha rac te r inven ted by Vonne-gut and s u p p l i e d w i t h f a n t a s i e s from the a u t h o r ' s own imag-i n a t i o n . By e n t e r i n g h i s f i c t i o n a l w o r l d , Vonnegut seeks to r e so lve the ambigui ty concerning h i s i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h h i s p r o t a g o n i s t s tha t f i r s t appears i n Mother Nightand cont inues throughout each subsequent n o v e l . By p l a c i n g h i m s e l f w i t h i n the n o v e l s , he d imin i shes the i r o n i c d i s t ance tha t i s so evident i n h i s other works . Through h i s pe r sona l comments and obse rva t ions he attempts to c l a r i f y the extent to which , i n a sense, he i s or i s not Rumfoord, Campbell , Rosewater, B i l l y P i l g r i m , K i l g o r e Trou t , and by i m p l i c a t i o n , P ro teus , Constant , Ulm and o the r s . The author asks h i m s e l f to what extent are t h e i r f a n t a s i e s h i s . He has p layed at be ing a sc ience f i c t i o n w r i t e r l i k e Trout as he has a t be ing an 152 e c c e n t r i c l i k e Campbell and Rosewater. In Slaughterhouse-F i v e he i d e n t i f i e s w i t h B i l l y P i l g r i m at many p o i n t s . The two have been scouts , seen the Dresden r a i d , and re tu rned to the U n i t e d States to marry and become s u c c e s s f u l businessmen. But there are d i f f e r e n c e s a l s o and the nove l examines these . S laughterhouse-Five i s an important work f o r Vonnegut because i t i s , among other t h i n g s , a r e - e v a l u a t i o n ofppast r e l a t i o n s h i p s and assumptions. I t i n e v i t a b l y c rea tes d i v i s i o n s and separ-a t i o n s tha t a r i s e from such c lose a n a l y s i s . What emerges from a read ing of S laughterhouse-Five i s a c o n f i r m a t i o n tha t Vonnegut longs despera te ly f o r what our century needs and so consp icuous ly l a c k s , a view of l i f e which i s meaningful and u n i f i e d , not to say wi thou t complex i ty , but wi thout the angu i sh ing confus ion that undermines our f a i t h i n the purpose of l i f e . To r ep lace confus ion w i t h coherence and senseless death w i t h meaningful l i f e are among Vonnegut 's a ims. Clamence says very po ignan t ly i n The F a l l tha t "one p l ays a t be ing immorta l and a f t e r a few weeks one doesn ' t even know whether or not one can hang on t i l l the next day." ^ Vonne-gut ' s p r o t a g o n i s t s a l l d e s i r e i m m o r t a l i t y through t h e i r f a n t a s i e s . Proteus d e s i r e s a mythic w i l d e r n e s s eden. M a l a c h i want to be immutably cons tan t . Campbell wishes to 153 create a wor ld i n a r t so pure that i t can s u r v i v e ou ts ide t ime . Jonah wants to overcome the n e c e s s i t y of always p r e s s -i n g forward i n t o f u r t h e r doubt by c a p t u r i n g the indominatable L e v i a t h a n . Rosewater wants to r e - c r e a t e the myth of i n f i n i t e bounty which America once appeared to o f f e r i t s s e t t l e r s . And, f i n a l l y , B i l l y P i l g r i m wants to conquer time and death by d i s c o v e r i n g a wor ld t o t a l l y e lsewhere . Vonnegut shares these dreams by i n v e n t i n g them and g i v i n g shape to them, but he a l s o r e a l i z e s how hopeless of a t ta inment they a r e . In the end he i s l e f t w i t h the i n s o l u b l e paradox tha t i s i m p l i c i t i n the phrase, " f a n t a s i e s of an i m p o s s i b l y h o s p i t a b l e w o r l d . " They are imposs ib le because they are j u s t tha t — f a n t a s i e s . Perhaps God d i d r e p l y to Adam as Bokonon records i t : " ' E v e r y t h i n g must have a purpose? ' asked God. ' C e r t a i n l y , ' s a i d man. 'Then I leave i t to you to Q t h i n k of one f o r a l l t h i s , ' s a i d God. And He went away." The need f o r redemptive f a n t a s i e s inc reases i n p r o p o r t i o n to the inc rease i n d e s t r u c t i v e r e a l i t i e s l i k e war, pover ty , s i c k -ness and death. These are the cons tan t s , but man never ceases to imagine w o r l d s , e i t h e r past or f u t u r e , i n which these de-s t r u c t i v e elements are not p resen t . Sa tan ' s adv ice to the young boy i n The Mys te r ious St ranger echoes Vonnegut 's adv ice to us : "Dream other dreams and b e t t e r , " even though these dreams are doomed. NOTES INTRODUCTION 1. Vonnegut has turned to f i l m s aga in r e c e n t l y , t h i s t ime w i t h an adap ta t ion of S l a u g h t e r h o u s e - F i v e » an en t ry i n the 1972 Cannes F i l m F e s t i v a l . 2 . K u r t Vonnegut, J r . , S laughterhouse-Five (New Y o r k , 1969) P. 74 . 3 . K u r t Vonnegut, J r . , C a t ' s Cradle (New York , 1963), p . 13. 4 . Frank Kermode, The Sense of an Ending (London, 1966), p . 17 5. K u r t Vonnegut, J r . , God B l e s s You , M r . Rosewater (New Y or k , 1965J, p . 37. 6. I b i d . , p . 20. 7 . Vonnegut, C a t ' s C r a d l e , p . 189 . 8 . Th i s phrase, which Vonnegut uses i n the f u l l t i t l e of S laugh te rhouse -F ive , i s de r i ved from a statement made by Ce*line i n which the French w r i t e r i n d i c a t e s tha t "No a r t i s p o s s i b l e wi thou t a dance w i t h dea th . " 9. Kermode, The Sense of an Ending , p . 164. In d i s c u s s i n g a n o v e l which has as i t s ep igraph a passage from the l a s t ac t of R i c h a r d I I , Kermode p o i n t s to the p a r a d o x i c a l nature of human f i c t i o n s ; they are both necessary and h o p e l e s s l y inadequate . 10. The phrase i s Kermode 's . 1 1 . Vonnegut, S laugh te rhouse -F ive , p . 3. 12 . R icha rd P o i r i e r , A World Elsewhere (London, 1966), p . 6. 154 155 "So tha t even a t the moment of w o r l d l y defeat the hero has managed to c r ea t e , l i k e the e x i l e d C o r i o l a n u s , "a wor ld e lsewhere . 1 1 P o i r i e r ' s study dea l s w i t h the v a r i o u s strategems employed by American w r i t e r s to c rea te f o r t h e i r heroes an a l t e r n a t i v e l i f e to the one which the' s o c i a l man i s fo rced to l e a d . 13 . K u r t Vonnegut, J r . , P l a y e r P iano (New Y o r k , 1952), p . 316. 14. Tony Tanner, "The U n c e r t a i n Messenger: A Study of the Novels of K u r t Vonnegut, J r . , " The C r i t i c a l  Q u a r t e r l y , 2, No. 2 (Winter 1969), 297-315. To date , t h i s i s the best a v a i l a b l e commentary on Vonnegut ' s n o v e l s . The emphasis i n t h i s a r t i c l e i s upon the mys te r ious mi s s ions which the p r o -t a g o n i s t s are fo rced to undertake w h i l e sea rch ing f o r ways to escape be ing used by o t h e r s . 15 . Mark Twain, Which Was the Dream?, ed. John S. Tuckey ( B e r k l e y , 1967) . Tuckey r e f e r s to an i n c i d e n t i n which Twain was awakened suddenly by h i s w i f e , and i n the moments of semiconsciousness , he had a s ensa t i on tha t the e n t i r e wor ld was a f i r e . Tuckey a l s o notes tha t i n h i s l a t e r years Twain became more and more preoccupied w i t h the "dream of d i s a s t e r " theme. Chapter 1 1. P a u l P ro t eus ' name d e r i v e s from Proteus the Greek sea god who tended Pose idon ' s s e a l s . Vonnegut 's a l l u s i o n to the protean man i s an i r o n i c one, f o r Pau l Proteus i s , l i k e h i s namesake, captured and fo rced to show the means of escape. He cannot, however, because he l a c k s the power. 2. K u r t Vonnegut, J r . , P l a y e r Piano (New Y o r k , 1969), p . 140. A l l subsequent re fe rences w i l l be to t h i s e d i t i o n and w i l l be i n c l u d e d i n the t e x t . 3. Burroughs, the author of numerous sc ience f i c t i o n nove l s 156 as w e l l as of the famous e x p l o i t s of Tarzan , resembles Vonnegut 's f i c t i o n a l w r i t e r , K i l g o r e T r o u t . Both Burroughs and Trout attempt to p rov ide " f a n t a s i e s of an imposs ib ly h o s p i t a b l e w o r l d . " 4 . The d e s i r e to escape from the demands of s o c i e t y has l o n g been a fea ture of American l i t e r a t u r e and i t cont inues to obsess American w r i t e r s . P ro t eus ' e f f o r t s to escape can be compared to s i m i l a r ges tures by Y o s s a r i a n i n H e l l e r ' s Catch-22 (New Y or k , 1961), C h i e f Bromden i n K e s e y ' s One Flew Over the Cuckoo 's Nest (New Y o r k , 1962), and Kenneth LePeters i n Bruce Jay Fr iedman ' s l a t e s t n o v e l , The Dick (New Y o r k , 1970). 5. Throughout t h i s episode i n v o l v i n g the " Ind ian" and the whi te man Vonnegut appears to be parodying c e r t a i n romant ic accounts of the e a r l y t r a n s a c t i o n s between the two r a c e s . The speech which the a c t o r makes echoes Hiawatha ' s p a r t i n g words i n which he en-courages h i s t r i b e to heed the whi te man's wisdom because the l a t t e r has been sent by the gods. The a c t o r ' s speech may a l s o be intended to parody those of the numerous noble savages i n James Fennimore Cooper ' s L e a t h e r s t o c k i n g T a l e s . Nat ty Bumppo, the c e n t r a l f i g u r e i n the n o v e l s , seems h i m s e l f to embody the c o n f l i c t which Cooper cannot r e s o l v e . He i s the i n t r e p i d guide who a s s i s t s the whi te man i n h i s conquest of the w i l d e r n e s s by b l a z i n g new t r a i l s f o r h im. At the same t ime, he cannot l i v e comfortably i n the s o c i e t y he i s h e l p i n g to e s t a b l i s h i n the w i l d e r n e s s . He and h i s n a t i v e companions are f ree s p i r i t s , un fe t t e r ed by s o c i e t y ' s demands. The problem that faces Bumppo and h i s descendants i s i m p l i e d i n a statement by Bumppo i n the f i n a l n o v e l , The P r a i r i e (New Y o r k : New American L i b r a r y , 1964), p . 260: "What the w o r l d of America i s coming to and where the machina-t i o n s of i t s people are to have an end, the Lord on ly knows." Bumppo can only a s se r t h i s own i n d e -pendence and, i n the face of a s h r i n k i n g f r o n t i e r , can only set out f o r v i r g i n t e r r i t o r y . Vonnegut understands tha t the problem l e f t unsolved by Cooper has become more se r ious as the p r e d i c t a b l e occu r s . The w i l d e r n e s s has shrunk and only token 157 s e c t i o n s of w i l d e r n e s s remain . These neatly-sec t ioned p r o p e r t i e s are l a b e l l e d Homestead and Meadows and t h e i r very nature prevents P ro t eus ' p o s s i b l e escape. Chapter I I 1. K u r t Vonnegut, J r . , The S i rens of T i t a n (New York , 1959), P ' 7 . A l l subsequent re fe rences w i l l be to t h i s e d i t i o n and w i l l be i n c l u d e d i n the t e x t . 2. Rumfoord's v iew resembles i n many ways tha t g iven the young boy i n Mark Twain* s The Mys t e r i ous S t ranger . In t ha t s to ry Satan, who has access to the l ong view of e x i s t e n c e , a t tempts , l i k e Rumfoord, to convince the young boy tha t de s t i ny i s i r r e v -e r s i b l e . The young boy ' s r e luc t ance to accept such a p r o p o s i t i o n and the ingenuous nature of h i s p r o t e s t s aga ins t the misery which the fu ture ho lds f o r mankind a l l o w Twain to comment upon the c o n t i n u i n g prominence of misery i n the l i v e s of human be ings . I f a l l events are i n e v i t a b l e , then the i n q u i s i t i v e mind wonders why BO many of these moments must b r i n g such t r i b u l a t i o n s and s u f f e r i n g to mankind. As Twain ' s s t o ry i l l u s -t r a t e s so e f f e c t i v e l y , men are only too eager to t o r t u r e one another f o r the sake of some r i gh t eous cause. In t h e i r f renzy to achieve happiness , E a r t h l i n g s i n f l i c t upon themselves the most hideous of encumbrances which s imply inc rease t h e i r m i s e r y . I t i s j u s t t h i s p r e d i l e c t i o n of human beings f o r caus ing s u f f e r i n g tha t Vonne-gut s a t i r i z e s i n The S i rens of T i t a n . 3-. Vonnegut may have in tended a loose p a r a l l e l between The S i r ens of T i t a n and G - u l l i v e r ' s T r a v e l s (a work which Vonnegut r e f e r s to e x p l i c i t l y e l s e -where) . L i k e Lemuel G u l l i v e r , Boaz v i s i t s s trange lands and encounters strange c r e a t u r e s . He must b lock the entrance to h i s cave d w e l l i n g so tha t the Harmoniums cannot t o t a l l y cover him as the 158 L i l l i p u t i a n s cover Lemuel . However, Unk i s the r e a l Lemuel whose journeys must end i n a r e t u r n to h i s n a t i v e l a n d . Unk cannot be s a t i s f i e d w i t h such a l i m i t e d wor ld as tha t which s u f f i c e s f o r Boaz. Boaz speaks w i t h d i g n i t y and h i s d e c i s i o n to remain on Mercury gains Unk ' s r e s p e c t . Mer -cury i s a parad ise f o r Boaz, a man who never had a proper p lace i n s o c i e t y . However, Cons t an t ' s pa rad i se must i n c l u d e other humans. Wal te r M . Abbot t , et a l , The B i b l e Reader (New Y o r k , 1 9 6 9 ) , P . 572. I am drawing here upon an idea developed by Kermode i n s e v e r a l of h i s essays and c r i t i c a l s t u d i e s : F i c t i o n s are u s e f u l dev ices to t e l l us about the complex workings of human na ture , but when f i c t i o n s are used as o ther than t o o l s of l e a r n i n g they very e a s i l y become absurd and even t y r a n n i c a l . Th i s i s an idea tha t I have t r i e d to make c l e a r i n the I n t r o d u c t i o n because I t h i n k tha t i t i s c e n t r a l to Vonnegut 's theory of the use of f i c t i o n s . M a l a c h i the prophet r a i s e s the ques t ion about the j u s t i c e of God, and so echoes J o b ' s lament. Robert Scho les , The Fabu la to r s (New Y o r k , 1967), p . 6 4 . Scho les ' study of contemporary ' ' f a b u l a t o r s " i n c l u d e s only a b r i e f chapter on Vonnegut 's work, p r i n c i p a l l y C a t ' s Crad le and Mother N i g h t . He uses these nove l s to i l l u s t r a t e the technique and theory of b lack humor, and so concent ra tes upon t h e i r s a t i r i c a l q u a l i t i e s . Mark Twain, The Mys t e r i ous Stranger (New York , 1 9 6 2 ) , p . 252. Salo o f f e r s Constant an oppor tun i ty to possess a happ ie r s ta te and, i n e f f e c t , to do as Satan t e l l s the young boy: "Dream other dreams, and bet ter ' . " Another charac te r f o r whom t h i s adv ice i s ve ry important i s B i l l y P i l g r i m . 159 C h a p t e r I I I 1. K u r t Vonnegut, J r . , Mother N i g h t (New York, 1966), p. 33. A l l subsequent r e f e r e n c e s w i l l be t o t h i s e d i t i o n and w i l l be i n c l u d e d i n t h e t e x t . 2 . A l t h o u g h the d e v i c e o f p u r p o r t e d l y e d i t i n g someone e l s e ' s m a n u s c r i p t i s not a new one, i t has become q u i t e p o p u l a r a g a i n i n t h i s c e n t u r y . Vonnegut's use o f t h i s t e c h n i q u e a l l o w s him t o assume an i r o n i c d i s t a n c e from h i s c h a r a c t e r . 3. Vonnegut may have been i n f l u e n c e d by the use o f a s i m i l a r t e c h n i q u e i n V l a d i m i r Nabakov's L o l i t a . The e d i t o r o f " L o l i t a , o r the Con-f e s s i o n o f a White Widowed Ma l e " i s , l i k e t h e e d i t o r o f Campbell's C o n f e s s i o n s , a prudent man o f good t a s t e who sees h i s t a s k as r e p r o d u c i n g t h e m a n u s c r i p t f a i t h f u l l y , "Save f o r t h e c o r r e c t i o n o f o b v i o u s s o l e c i s m s and a c a r e f u l s u p p r e s s i o n o f a few t e n a c i o u s d e t a i l s . " B o t h "H.H." and Campbell w r i t e w i t h i n the c o n f i n e s o f a c e l l memoirs w h i c h draw upon r e c o l l e c t i o n s o f p r e v i o u s i n c i d e n t s . The two m a n u s c r i p t s , b o t h o f w h i c h c o n t a i n i n -t e n s e p e r s o n a l f e e l i n g , a r e e d i t e d by men whose s t a t e d aim i s s i m p l y t o reprod u c e the t e x t s a c c u r a t e l y . The m a n u s c r i p t s appear posthumous-l y s i n c e b o t h a u t h o r s d i e i n p r i s o n . I n a d d i t i o n , t h e y c o n t a i n - s e v e r a l d i r e c t a d d r e s s e s t o an i m a g i n a r y c o u r t . The e f f e c t o f t h i s d e s i g n on the p a r t o f Nabakov and Vonnegut i s t o f o r c e the r e a d e r i n t o the r o l e o f a j u r y member and t o f o r c e him t o pass judgment upon the ac c u s e d . 4 . I n S l a u g h t e r h o u s e - F i v e the c h a r a c t e r who i s t h e w r i t e r i s Vonnegut h i m s e l f . T h i s n o v e l b r i n g s i n t o c l e a r f o c u s Vonnegut's i n t e r e s t i n the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the d i f f i c u l t i e s o f h i s p r o t a g o n i s t s and h i s own d i f f i c u l t i e s as a w r i t e r . 160 Chapter IV 1. K u r t Vonnegut, J r . , C a t 1 s Cradle (New York , 1963), p . 114. A l l subsequent re ferences w i l l be to t h i s e d i t i o n and w i l l be i n c l u d e d i n the t e x t . 2. Jonah can c l a i m w i t h Pruf rock tha t " I have measured out my l i f e w i t h coffee spoons," and can ask, too , "Then how should I beg in to s p i t out a l l the but t -ends of my days and ways?" 3. Herman M e l v i l l e , Moby-Dick , ed. Char les F i e d e l s o n , J r . (New York , 1964), p . 29. 4 . The i s l a n d of San Lorenzo i s , l i k e so much i n t h i s n o v e l , a blend of r e a l and imaginary elements . I t i s model led upon the example of H a i t i whose l a t e t y r a n n i c a l r u l e r , Papa "Doc" D u v a l i e r , was f a b l e d f o r h i s a b i l i t y to u n i t e medicine and sc ience w i t h b l ack magic and s u p e r s t i t i o n . "Papa" Monzano i s but one of the many cha rac te r s i n the n o v e l whose name i n v o l v e s a pun or an a l l u s i o n to a wel l -known person . Others i n c l u d e Newton Hoenikker , a d i m i n u t i v e S i r Isaac Newton (Newt whose power i s d i s p r o p o r t i o n a t e to h i s s i z e a l s o resembles the newts or salamanders i n K a r e l Capek 's War Wi th the Newts); J u l i a n C a s t l e , whose i n i t i a l s , " i r o n i c a l l y , are those of C h r i s t ; and Bokonon, whose name p o s s i b l y a l l u d e s to M i c h a e l Bakunin , the Russ i an a n a r c h i s t . 5. M e l v i l l e , Moby-Dick, p . 247 6. The idea tha t a l l man's a c t i o n s are a pa r t of a cosmic f a rce i s r ecu r r en t i n Vonnegut ' s n o v e l s . I t compares w i t h I shmae l ' s f e e l i n g tha t "There are c e r t a i n queer t imes and occas ions i n t h i s s t range mixed a f f a i r we c a l l l i f e when a man takes t h i s whole un iverse f o r a vas t p r a c t i c a l joke , though the w i t the reof he but d imly d i s c e r n s , and more than suspects tha t the joke i s a t nobody's expense but h i s own" (302) . 161 Chapter V 1. K u r t Vonnegut, J r . , God B l e s s You, Mr. Rosewater (New Y o r k , 1965), p". yj~. A l l subsequent r e f e r e n c e s w i l l be t o t h i s e d i t i o n and w i l l be i n c l u d e d i n t h e t e x t . 2. The n o s t a l g i a f o r a s i m p l e r , more a u t h e n t i c l i f e s t y l e i s a s s o c i a t e d w i t h the p i o n e e r s i n the mind of P a u l P r o t e u s as w e l l . 3. E l i o t ' s comparison o f h i m s e l f t o Hamlet i s a l s o q u i t e i r o n i c because E l i o t ' s f a t h e r i s v e r y much a l i v e and i s q u i t e c l e a r l y d e t e r m i n e d t o g i v e h i s son d i r e c t i o n s . 4. Vonnegut uses the p l o t s o f K i l g o r e T r o u t ' s n o v e l s t o e x p l a i n some of h i s own i d e a s . Some o f the p l o t s a r e , i n f a c t , p l o t s o f Vonnegut's f i c t i o n as w e l l . T r o u t ' s 2BR02B, w h i c h c o n t a i n s the f i r s t words of Hamlet's famous s o l i l o q u y , c o n t a i n s the o u t l i n e o f P l a y e r P i a n o and i n c l u d e s m a t e r i a l on the E t h i c a l S u i c i d e P a r l o r w h i c h i s the s u b j e c t o f "Welcome t o the Monkey House." 5. The p h r a s e — " u n c r i t i c a l l o v e " — i s one w h i c h Campbell uses i n Mother N i g h t . "No young p e r s o n i s so e x c e l l e n t i n a l l r e s p e c t s as t o need no u n c r i t i c a l l o v e . Good l o r d — a s y o u n g s t e r s p l a y t h e i r p a r t s i n p o l i t i c a l t r a g e d i e s w i t h c a s t s o f b i l l i o n s , u n c r i t i c a l l o v e i s the o n l y r e a l t r e a s u r e t h e y can l o o k f o r " (44). Chapter VI 1. R e a l i t y r e p e a t e d l y u s u r p s f i c t i o n i n Vonnegut's n o v e l s . B e h i n d a l l the b i z a r r e t r a n s f o r m a t i o n s o f f i c t i o n i n t o f a c t i n the p r e v i o u s n o v e l s , s t a n d s the image o f Dresden, a once m a g n i f i c e n t c i t y now r e d u c e d t o r u b b l e as a r e s u l t o f one o f the m i r a c l e s o f modern s t r a t e g i c w a r f a r e . 162 2 . K u r t Vonnegut, J r . , S laughte rhouse-F ive (New York , 1969), p . 1. A l l subsequent re ferences w i l l be to t h i s e d i t i o n and w i l l appear i n the t e x t . 3 . A book which Vonnegut does not ment ion, but to which he may a l l u d e i n the reference to the C h i l d r e n ' s Crusade, i s Hermann Hesse ' s The Journey to the  Eas t (New Y or k , 1956), a n o v e l which i s s i m i l a r l y concerned w i t h the complex r e l a t i o n -ship between f a c t and f i c t i o n . Among the numerous s i m i l a r i t i e s between the - two nove l s i s the problem which Lukas , the author of a war n o v e l , and Vonnegut have i n t r a n s m i t t i n g t h e i r exper iences i n t o a w r i t t e n form. A t one po in t Lukas e x p l a i n s to the n a r r a t o r tha t I thought I had exper ienced them c l e a r l y and v i v i d l y , I was almost b u r s t i n g w i t h images of them; the r o l l of f i l m i n my head seemed m i l e s l o n g . But when I sat at my w r i t i n g desk, on a c h a i r , by a t a b l e , the razed v i l l a g e s and woods, the ea r th tremors caused by heavy bombardment, the conglomerat ion of f i l t h and grea tness , of fea r and hero ism, of mangled stomachs and heads, of fea r of death and grim humor, were a l l immeasurably remote, on ly a dream, were not r e l a t e d to any th ing and cou ld not r e a l l y be conce ived . (56) 4. The passage i s from C e l i n e ' s Death on the I n s t a l l m e n t P l a n and i s quoted by Vonnegut i n Slaughterhouse- . F i v e , p . 18. 5. B i l l y , who t r a v e l s " s p a s t i c a l l y " between s e v e r a l events from b i r t h to death, i s a t ime t r a v e l l e r i n another sense. He i s " a l l wandering mankind" ( C a t 1 s C r a d l e , p . 55) h i s t o r i c a l l y regarded. He j o i n s w i t h Vonnegut 's other p r o t a g o n i s t s 163 on t h e i r p i l g r image through the w o r l d . He j o i n s w i t h Bunyan's C h r i s t i a n i n bea r ing h i s burden through "wi lde rness of t h i s w o r l d . L i k e C h r i s t i a n , B i l l y i s " informed tha t t h i s our c i t y ' w i l l be burned w i t h f i r e from heaven, i n which f e a r f u l overthrow both myse l f , w i t h thee, my w i f e , and you, sweet babes, s h a l l m i se r ab ly come to r u i n ; except ( the which I see not ) some way of escape can be found, whereby we may be d e l i v e r e d " ( P i l g r i m ' s Progress (Toronto , 1964), p . 17 ) . B i l l y P i l g r i m wi tnesses one c o n f l a g r a t i o n i n Dresden and r e tu rns w i t h h i s message of hope f o r man. He seeks to avo id the f i n a l , a p o c a l y p t i c f i r e . 6. C e l i n e , Death on the In s t a l lmen t P l a n . Quoted by Vonnegut i n S laugh te rhouse -F ive , p . 18. Conc lus ion 1. Jack Richardson , "Easy W r i t e r , " The New York Review of Books, 2 J u l y 1970, p . 7 . 2 . K u r t Vonnegut, J r . , S laugh te rhouse -F ive , p . 3. 3. L e s l i e F i e d l e r , No I I n Thunder; Essays on Myth and L i t e r a t u r e (Boston, I960) , p . I4. 4 . I b i d . , p . 18. 5 . Ihab Hassan, R a d i c a l Innocence (New York , 1961), p . 329. 6. A l b e r t Camus, The F a l l (New York , 1956), p . 110 7 . I b i d . , p . 105. 8. K u r t Vonnegut, J r . , C a t ' s C r a d l e , p . 177. BIBLIOGRAPHY Abbo t t , S. J . , Wal te r M . , et a l . The B i b l e Reader. New Y o r k ! The Bruce P u b l i s h i n g C o . , 1969. Bunyan, John . The P i l g r i m ' s P r o g r e s s . Toronto: The New American L i b r a r y , 1964. Camus, A l b e r t . The P a l l . New Y o r k : Vin tage Books, 1956. Gapek, K a r e l . War Wi th The Newts. New Y o r k : B e r k l e y P u b l i s h i n g C o r p o r a t i o n , 1967. C e l i n e , l o u i s - P e r d i n a n d . Death on the I n s t a l lmen t P l a n . New Y o r k : New American L i b r a r y , 1966. Journey to the End of the N i g h t . New Y o r k : New D i r e c t i o n s , I960. F i e d l e r , L e s l i e . Nol In Thunder: Essays on Myth and L i t e r a t u r e . Bos ton : Beacon P r e s s , I960. Hassan, Ihab. R a d i c a l Innoncence: S tud ies i n the Contemp-ora ry American N o v e l . New Y o r k : Harper and Row, 1961. Hesse, Hermann. The Journey to the E a s t . New Y o r k : The Noonday P re s s , 1956. Kermode, Prank. The Sense of an End ing : S tud ies i n the Theory of F i c t i o n . London: Oxford U n i v e r s i t y P re s s , 1966. C o n t i n u i t i e s . London: Routledge and Kegan P a u l , 1968. 164 165 Lodge, D a v i d . "The N o v e l i s t a t the Cross roads . " The C r i t i c a l Q u a r t e r l y , 2, No. 2 (Summer 1969), 105 - 132. M e l v i l l e , Herman. Moby-Dick o r . The Whale. I n d i a n a p o l i s ; The B o b b s - M e r r i l l Company, I n c . , 1964. Nabakov, V l a d i m i r . L o l i t a . New Y o r k : B e r k l e y P u b l i s h i n g C o r p o r a t i o n , 1955. Palmer, Raymond C. "Vonnegut 1 s Major Concerns ." Iowa E n g l i s h Yearbook, ' No. 14 ( P a l l 1969), 3 - 10. P o i r i e r , R i c h a r d . A World Elsewhere : The P lace of S t y l e i n American L i t e r a t u r e . London: Oxford U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1966. R icha rdson , J a c k . "Easy W r i t e r . " The New York Review of Books, 2 J u l y 1970, pp. 7 - 8 . Scho les , Rober t . The F a b u l a t o r s . New Y o r k : Oxford U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1967. . Review of S laugh te rhouse -F ive , New York Times Book Review, 6 A p r i l 1969, p . 1* • Tanner, Tony. "The U n c e r t a i n Messenger: A Study of the Novels of K u r t Vonnegut, J r . " The C r i t i c a l Q u a r t e r l y , 2, No. 2 (Winter 1969), 297 - 315. Todd, R i c h a r d . " T h i s — ? i . . . — i s a Three-Act P l a y . " The M o n t r e a l S t a r , 30 January 1971. p . 15. 166 Twain, Mark. The Mys te r ious Stranger and Other S t o r i e s . New Y o r k : The New American l i b r a r y , 1962. Which Was the Dream? and Other Symbolic W r i t i n g s o f the l a t e r Y e a r s , ed. John S. Tuckey. B e r k l e y : U n i v e r s i t y of C a l i f o r n i a P r e s s , 1967. V o l t a i r e . Candide or Optimism. M i d d l e s e x : Penguin Books, 1970. Vonnegut, J r . , K u r t . P l a y e r P i a n o . New Y o r k : Avon Books, 1952. . The S i r ens o f T i t a n . New Y o r k : D e l l , 1959. Canary i n a Cathouse. Greenwich, Conn. : Fawcett P u b l i c a t i o n s , I n c . , 1961. Mother N i g h t : The Confess ions of Howard W. Campbel l , J r . New Y o r k : Avon Books, 1961. . C a t ' s C r a d l e . New Y o r k : D e l l , 1963. God B l e s s You, Mr . Rosewater or P e a r l s Before Swine. New Y o r k : D e l l , 1965. Welcome to the Monkey House. New Y o r k : D e l l , 1968. S laughterhouse-Five or the C h i l d r e n ' s Crusade. New Y o r k : D e l l , 1969. . Happy B i r t h d a y , Wanda June. New Y o r k : D e l l , 1970. 

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