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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 F I C T I O N OF KURT VONNEGUT, J r .  by  KENNETH J . ROBSON B.A., S i m o n F r a s e r U n i v e r s i t y , 1 9 6 8  A THESIS SUBMITTED I N P A R T I A L FULFILMENT  OF  THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OEcARTS '  in  t h e Department of English  We a c c e p t t h i s required  thesis  as c o n f o r m i n g  to the  standard  THE U N I V E R S I T Y OF B R I T I S H COLUMBIA J u n e , 1972  In  presenting: this' t h e s i s  an advanced degree the I  Library  further  for  agree  scholarly  by h i s of  shall  this  written  at  the  make  it  in  partial  University freely  that permission  thesis  for  It  financial  for  gain  Depa rtment  The U n i v e r s i t y  of  British  Canada  of  Columbia,  British  Columbia  for  extensive by  the  is understood  permission.  Vancouver 8,  of  available  purposes may be g r a n t e d  representatives.  fulfilment  shall  requirements  reference copying of  Head o f  that  not  the  I  agree  and this  be a l l o w e d  that  study. thesis  my Department  copying or  for  or  publication  w i t h o u t my  ABSTRACT ... -The- s i x h o v e l s o f K u r t Vonnegut', Jr.. demonstrate-..a c o n t i n u i n g . i n t e r e s t ..in'the d i l e m m a s ' c o n f r o n t i n g persons". . whose.dreams o f 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 a t odds w i t h .the demands, made o f them as p u b l i c persons.. .The.prot a g o n i s t s e x p e r i e n c e t h e f u l l , o p p o s i t i o n between t h e . w o r l d they. imagine  and t h e world, they i n h a b i t . . .They ;.ire f o r c e d  r e p e a t e d l y .to choose, "between t h e i r p r i v a t e l y c r e a t e d and.... p u b l i c l y imposed, r o l e s . . "They resemble  one another  in~their.  r e l u c t a n c e t o 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 w o r l d and .in. t h e i r , p r e f e ^ e n c e t h e i r own c r e a t i o n .  t o r e t r e a t i n t o f a n t a s y w o r l d s of.  A l t h o u g h each." o f t h e f a n t a s i e s , d i f f e r s  from. the", o t h e r s i n . many. r e s p e c t s , each I s an attempt t o p r o v i d e , what K i l g o r e T r o u t , one o f Vonnegut s . f i c t i o n a l . 1  c h a r a c t e r s , r e f e r s t o as " f a n t a s i e s o f an i m p o s s i b l y hospitable, world. "  .'.I  '...' .  The U t o p i a n f a n t a s i e s , i n c l u d e P a u l Proteus.' a e a i r e t o 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 , l o n g s i n c e r e p l a c e d by a . t e c h n o l o g i c a l s o c i e t y ; M a l a c h i C o n s t a n t ' s" dream, o f r e u n i o n w i t h h i s w i f e and." b e s t f r i e n d i n an i d e a l s t a t e , beyond t i m e ; Howard Campbell's r e f u g e i n a w o r l d o f a r t ; Jonah''s f a s c i n a t i o n w i t h Bokononism;. E l i o t Rosewater' s.. p l a n t o redeem mankind; and B i l l y P i l g r i m ' s b e l i e f t h a t it", i s p o s s i b l e foreman t o e x p e r i e n c e l i f e renders-pain., and death  i n a way t h a t  meaningless...  The. n o v e l s o f f e r an a p o c a l y p t i c view o f a w o r l d t h a t i s determined available-  t o d e s t r o y i t s e l f by tany and every means  I f . Vonnegut s p r o t a g o n i s t s seem t o o f f e r .ab-. .. 1  s u r d l y i d e a l remedies f o r t h i s s i t u a t i o n , t h e r e a l i t y t h a t Vonnegut d e s c r i b e s i s no l e s s absurd f o r b e i n g r e a l .  The  r e a l and i m a g i n a r y w o r l d s d e s c r i b e d by Vonnegut a r e p o l e s apart.  Both a r e e x t r e m i t i e s . , one t h e r e s u l t o f an i n s a n e  d e s t r u c t i v e i m p u l s e , the o t h e r o f an insane c r e a t i v e  impulse.  -Underlying  a l l o f "Vonnegut 's f i c t i o n s  i e n c e ,. t h e • f i r e - b o m b i n g  is.'a r e a l  o f . D r e s d e n by t h e . ' A l l i e s  I t i s t h i s t e r r i f y irigly r e a l experience  War..II.  moved; V o n n e g u t t o examine'.the i d e a l , in..'the. c o n t e x t - o f . t h e r e a l ,  exper-  in..World t h a t . h a s . . :...  o r what m i g h t - h a v e , b e e n ,  o r 'what i s ' . The p a r a d o x w h i c h  l i e s , a t t h e . c e n t e r o f B o k o n o n i s m i s the' p a r a d o x i n e a c h . o f Vonnegut.'.s ..novels: . "the; 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 about r e a l i t y  and t h e h e a r t b r e a k i n g  about i t . "  impossibility  "" ...'.' ' -'."  of lying  ..."..:'._,.'.•:.:..-. .'/  - . A - d i s c u s s i o n o f t h i s p a r a d o x i n v o l v e s an examination...of .' V o n n e g u t Is... a t t i t u d e . ,.with r e g a r d ' . t o h i s . p r o t a g o n i s t s . . V o n n e g u t i n v i t e s t h i s examination'.'by'.raising q u e s t i o n s ficulty  o f w r i t i n g f i c t i o n i n such, t i m e s  can see..in t h e c o u r s e  between the. w o r l d  w o r l d we i n h a b i t h a s ' s e r i o u s -The  novels  a s o u r s , . a n d one  a c l a r i f i c a t i o n , of. h i s . 1.  o f the. n o v e l s  p o s i t i o n . . ' . . The c o n f l i c t  we ".imagine '.and. t h e  i m p l i c a t i o n s .for".the w r i t e r .  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 s e q u e n c e ..  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 , w i t h h i s . .most"'recent,  about the . d i f -  Slaughterhouse-Five.  and  ending  This appears the  m o s t . p r a c t i c a l method o f t r a c i n g e m e r g i n g themes ..and., . . p a r t i c ularly, view.  of examining the e v o l u t i o n of the a u t h o r i a l p o i n t of  '  ' ".'!' ;  "'  ..  -  .. . V o n n e g u t ..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 he" e x a m i n e s i n " h i s  n o v e l s . ' .. A t t i m e s  _'.'..' "... ... problems  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 o u r c o l l e c t i v e / f a i l u r e . . . At o t h e r and  t i m e s , he . e x p r e s s e s  seek'.a c r e a t i v e c o u r s e  t h e ' h o p e . t h a t , m a n k i n d .will...change r a t h e r than  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 seeks...to/destroy  life  p a s s i v e l y ..a., r e a l i t y  that  i s t o d e m o n s t r a t e 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 from . r e a l i t y  a d e s t r u c t i v e one..  f a n t a s i e s which.are d i s t a n t  i s . - e x t r e m e l y d a n g e r o u s - . .Vonnegut . I n s i s t s . . u p o n  the c o n t i n u a l - v i g i l a n c e of the c r i t i c a l awareness o f our l i m i t a t i o n s  imagination.,....and  an  as w e l l as o u r p o s s i b i l i t i e s .  TABLE OP CONTENTS  CHAPTER  PAGE  Introduction  2  PLAYER PIANO  14  THE SIRENS OP TITAN  37  III  MOTHER NIGHT  59  IV  CAT'S CRADLE  80  I II  V VI  GOB BLESS YOU, MR. ROSEWATER  102  SLAUGHTERHOUSE - PIVE  121  Conclusion  142  Notes  154  Bibliography  164  i  One paradox, however, must be a c c e p t e d and t h i s i s t h a t i t i s n e c e s s a r y t o 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 E a s t Hermann Hesse  And we concern o u r s e l v e s w i t h t h e c o n f l i c t between 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 s u g g e s t s , and the freedom o f persons w i t h i n t h a t p l o t t o choose and so t o a l t e r the s t r u c t u r e , t h e r e l a t i o n s o f b e g i n n i n g , m i d d l e , and end. The Sense o f an E n d i n g Frank Kermode  C a n d i d e ' 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 r o v i n g t o him t h a t t h e r e i s l i t t l e v i r t u e and l i t t l e h a p p i n e s s i n the w o r l d , except perhaps i n E l d o r a d o , where no one c o u l d g o . Candide Voltaire  INTRODUCTION  With the p u b l i c a t i o n of Slaughterhouse-Five  in  Vonnegut has produced s i x novels and numerous short which were f i r s t and  r e i s s u e d i n Welcome to the Monkey House  In a d d i t i o n , a p l a y , Happy B i r t h d a y , Wanda June,  been staged r e c e n t l y i n New  York and  Vonnegut began w r i t i n g i n 1949, the war. and was  war  i s now  has  a motion p i c t u r e . *  s h o r t l y a f t e r he r e t u r n e d from  H i s f i r s t n o v e l , P l a y e r Piano, was  published i n  1952  s u c c e s s f u l enough to encourage Vonnegut to embark upon  a second one, 1959.  stories,  c o l l e c t e d i n Canary i n a Cathouse (1961),  l a t e r expanded and  (1968).  1969,  The  S i r e n s of T i t a n , which d i d not appear u n t i l  During the p e r i o d extending from h i s r e t u r n from the  to the p u b l i c a t i o n of h i s second n o v e l , he h e l d many jobs,  some of which he d e s c r i b e s i n the f i r s t Five.  chapter of  Slaughterhouse-  At the same time, he p u b l i s h e d s l i c k magazine s t o r i e s ,  intended to ''finance the w r i t i n g of the n o v e l s , " as he  says i n  the P r e f a c e to Welcome to the Monkey House. The n o v e l s , then,  comprise Vonnegut's major a r t i s t i c  achievement and warrant the c l o s e s t c r i t i c a l  study.  In r e c e n t  y e a r s he has p u b l i s h e d fewer short s t o r i e s , but he has one n o v e l n e a r l y every two y e a r s .  2  produced  Mother Night appeared i n  1961,  3 f o l l o w e d by Oat's C r a d l e i n 1963,  and God B l e s s You, Mr. Rose-  w a t e r i n 1965. I n each o f t h e s e n o v e l s , b e g i n n i n g w i t h P l a y e r P i a n o and c u l m i n a t i n g i n S l a u g h t e r h o u s e - P i v e ,  i t i s possible  to  I n each o f t h e  t r a c e t h e development o f a major concern.  n o v e l s 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 w h i c h seek t o make e x p l i c a b l e t h e o t h e r w i s e random and u n c e r t a i n movements o f human d e s t i n y . " E a r t h l i n g s a r e t h e g r e a t 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 o t h e r e v e n t s may be p  achieved or avoided."  T h i s v e r s i o n o f human b e h a v i o u r i s  o f f e r e d t o B i l l y P i l g r i m by a T r a l f a m a d o r i a n who, w i t h h i s a b i l i t y t o v i s i t any moment i n Time, p a s t , p r e s e n t , o r f u t u r e , cannot u n d e r s t a n d 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 p a r t o f some grand d e s i g n . is,  There  t h e T r a l f a m a d o r i a n a s s u r e s B i l l y , no coherent p a t t e r n  w h i c h can s a t i s f y t h e human d e s i r e t o p e r c e i v e b e g i n n i n g s , m i d d l e s , and ends. have devoted of patterns.  Nevertheless, the i n h a b i t a n t s of E a r t h  a great d e a l of t h e i r e x i s t e n c e t o the i n v e n t i o n Man i s , a c c o r d i n g t o 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 i n v e n t s e l a b o r a t e models w h i c h he b e l i e v e s e x p l a i n t h e random o c c u r r e n c e s i n h i s w o r l d .  He c a n never be  s a t i s f i e d w i t h events as they o c c u r ; he seeks t o i n t e r p r e t them always as a p a r t o f some l a r g e r p a t t e r n .  4  Near the b e g i n n i n g o f C a t s C r a d l e Jonah announces:  "I  1  mean t o examine a l l s t r o n g h i n t s as t o 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 t h a t we have  been i n v o l v e d i n i n v e n t i n g p a t t e r n s o f 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 n a t u r e .  These p a t t e r n s serve a number o f  purposes,  some o f w h i c h are h a r m f u l w h i l e o t h e r s are b e n e f i c i a l . P a t t e r n s w h i c h are h a r m f u l a r e those whose aims a r e the c o n t r o l o r d e s t r u c t i o n o f human l i f e .  P a t t e r n s w h i c h are b e n e f i c i a l  are those whose aims a r e the encouragement a c q u i s i t i o n o f knowledge w h i c h f u r t h e r s  o f l i f e and the  t h i s end.  l i k e the m e a n i n g l e s s i n s t i t u t i o n s , o r g r a n f a l o o n s ,  Others, to which  p e o p l e l i k e H a z e l Crosby s u b s c r i b e , a r e m e r e l y 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 p a t t e r n s and the c r e a t i o n o f f i c t i o n s . i s himself a pattern-builder. demonstrates,  As a w r i t e r , Vonnegut  As a n o v e l l i k e The S i r e n s o f T i t a n  he i s c a p a b l e o f c o n s t r u c t i n g e l a b o r a t e  designs.  He i s a l s o q u i t e d i s t r u s t f u l o f the a b i l i t y o f any p a t t e r n s a t i s f y our c u r i o s i t y about the n a t u r e o f our e x i s t e n c e .  to His  f i c t i o n s are o f v a l u e because they e x p l o r e 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 p a t t e r n s we c o n s t r u c t . these v a r i o u s patterns,  In evaluating  i n c l u d i n g h i s own f i c t i o n s ,  he  t o a r r i v e a t a p r o p e r e s t i m a t i o n o f t h e i r p l a c e i n our I n the i n t e r e s t  of remaining f a i t h f u l  does what many o f h i s c h a r a c t e r s  seeks lives.  t o r e a l i t y , Vonnegut  f a i l to do:  he measures  the  5  c r e a t e d f i c t i o n a g a i n s t the apparent f a c t s .  He  h i s c h a r a c t e r s amidst the c o n f u s i o n o f l i f e and, " i n the m i d d e s t " , he  stands  with  from h i s p l a c e  seeks t o u n d e r s t a n d what m o t i v a t e s men  to  c r e a t e p a t t e r n s 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 c o n s i d e r a b l e i m a g i n 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 m i d d l e . . . But they a l s o , when awake and sane, f e e l the need t o show a marked r e spect f o r t h i n g s as they a r e ; so t h a t t h e r e 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 d e s i g n s of people l i k e K r o n e r i n P l a y e r Piano Mr.  Rosewater  (1952) and  S e n a t o r Rosewater i n God  Bless  You,  (1965).  Since t h e r e i s no s i n g l e , u n d i s p u t e d  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 c o n t a i n s numerous competing p a t t e r n s . Vonnegut's p r o t a g o n i s t s e n t e r . own  I t i s i n t o such a s o c i e t y t h a t Through no c h o i c e of t h e i r  they become the i n h e r i t o r s of s o c i e t i e s w h i c h they d i d  not c r e a t e and w h i c h s a t i s f y none o f 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 t h a t he i s i n a w o r l d w h i c h , l i k e the "canvas" o f Rosewater County, a l r e a d y c o n t a i n s "some b o l d designs".''  P a u l P r o t e u s , M a l a c h i Constant,  Eliot  6  Eosewater, and the f i r s t in-law.  Billy Pilgrim l i t e r a l l y  inherit their positions,  three from t h e i r f a t h e r s , the f o u r t h from h i s f a t h e r Although the p a t e r n a l h e r i t a g e i s not as e x p l i c i t i n  the other two  novels,  there as w e l l .  the p r i n c i p l e of i n h e r i t a n c e a p p l i e s  In each case the inadequacy of the s o c i a l p a t t e r n  f o r c e s the i n d i v i d u a l to withdraw from c o - o p e r a t i v e in i t .  The p r o t a g o n i s t s c r e a t e imaginary  involvement  schemes which range  from the U t o p i a n f a n t a s i e s o f P a u l Proteus,  to M a l a c h i  Con-  s t a n t ' s dream of r e u n i o n w i t h h i s w i f e and h i s best f r i e n d , the romantic and  to  e x c l u s i v i s t f a n t a s y of Howard Qampbell, to  the s a v i n g l i e of Bokonon, to the i n c l u s i v e f a n t a s y of E l i o t Eosewater, to the f i n a l f a n t a s i e s of t r a n s p o r t through Time and  Space o f B i l l y P i l g r i m .  Each of these f a n t a s i e s , although  i n many ways d i f f e r e n t from one  another, share  the common  f e a t u r e of concern w i t h the c o n s t r u c t i o n of a h o s p i t a b l e world. The  f a i l u r e to achieve  a Utopian society i n r e a l i t y  fre-  quently f o r c e s the p r o t a g o n i s t s to share K i l g o r e  Trout's  " 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."  This tension  between involvement i n s o c i e t y and world  of the i m a g i n a t i o n  of each of the n o v e l s . one  r e a l i t y and  6  r e t r e a t i n t o the  or f a n t a s y i s the p r i n c i p a l concern Each of the s i x p r o t a g o n i s t s  aspect of t h i s dilemma and,  taken together,  represents  they are  the  e x p r e s s i o n of Vonnegut's d e s i r e 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  reality.  7 The power ous, the  i l l u s i o n s men c r e a t e  of  reality.  and Vonnegut center  explores of  of  As is  such, aware  provide  they of  are  this  Bokononist thought  i n each  l y i n g about  of  his  novels:  reality,  and the  a defence  "both n e c e s s a r y  problem.  is  against  the  "the  the  and  danger-  The p a r a d o x  one w h i c h  at  Vonnegut  heartbreaking  necessity  heartbreaking impossibility  7 of  l y i n g about  with in  i t . "  Paul Proteus  some w a y  to  Each of  the  major  and c o n c l u d i n g w i t h B i l l y  resolve  this  paradox,  success.  Reality  can,  indeed must,  however,  a danger  that  such  idual  from r e a l i t y .  strong,  is  a  to  The  the  with death,"  statement  Installment Plan death." Sense  ® of  nature  to  of  the is  about  i t .  and he  from C e l i n e ' s that  same  "The  problem  Ending:  is, indiv-  so  fictions,  F i c t i o n s i n t h e end f a i l u n d e r t h e p r e s s u r e o f what James i s s a i d , i n h i s l a s t words, t o have c a l l e d ' a t l a s t , the 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 makes 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 make o u r p r o p o r t i o n a l s convenient f o r our equations i n ir>  limited there  reality  lie  i n Slaughterhouse-Five, the  attempts  divorce  claims,  quotes  F r a n k Kennode addresses an  about;  apocalyptic  Vonnegut  w h i c h he  lied  totally  overwhelm a l l attempts  "duty-dance  agree w i t h the  is  Finally,  be  beginning  Pilgrim,  each w i t h only  may  1  threatens  the  lies  p a r t i c u l a r l y i n Vonnegut s  it  characters,  that Life  seems Death truth in  to on  8  e v e r y t h i n g ; our common sense makes us see t h a t w i t h o u t paradox and c o n t r a d i c t i o n our p a r a b l e s w i l l be too s i m p l e f o r a complex p o v e r t y , too c o n s o l a t o r y to c o n s o l e . Our s t u d y , l i k e R i c h a r d ' s , must have a c e r t a i n complexi t y and a sense o f f a i l u r e . ' ' I cannot do i t ; y e t I ' l l hammer i t o u t , ' he s a y s . 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 , the r e a d e r o f the a t t r a c t i v e n e s s v i s i o n s of  y e t Vonnegut c o n v i n c e s o f these h o p e l e s s l y i d e a l  existence.  W h i l e the a x n o v e l s d e v e l o p t h i s major  preoccupation  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 o f t h e w o r l d , they not s t a t i c . earliest  are  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 x p l o r a t i o n s o f P l a y e r P i a n o t o the c u l m i n a t i n g  ones o f S l a u g h t e r h o u s e - F i v e .  Each n o v e l d e v e l o p s i m p l i c a t i o n s  o f p r e v i o u s ones, and the e x a m i n 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 become more  penetrating.  The development w h i c h i s e v i d e n t i n V o n n e g u t ' s n o v e l s i s however, a p u r e l y l i n e a r one; t h a t i s , he does not  resolve  the paradox o f h a v i n g 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 m p o s s i b l e t o do s o .  not,  He i s , i n S l a u g h t e r h o u s e - F i v e ,  it  as  t r o u b l e d by the paradox as he i s i n any o t h e r n o v e l .  The  n o v e l s d e v e l o p i n the sense t h a t they a n a l y z e v a r i o u s  implic-  a t i o n s f o r those who seek t o r e s o l v e t h i s paradox f o r themselves.  Vonnegut a l s o d e v e l o p s 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 t h e r e i s e v i d e n t the mind b e h i n d the n o v e l s , the man who him^ self  c r e a t e s 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 "  10  about the v a l u e o f f i c t i o n s i n a w o r l d i n w h i c h he i s c o n f r o n t e d by the immediate p r e s s u r e o f r e a l i t y .  In Vonnegut s 1  n o v e l s r e a l i t y t a k e s the form o f massacres l i k e the bombing o f Dresden and the N a z i a t r o c i t i e s , s p i r i t u a l poverty,  s i c k n e s s , and j u s t  fire-  o f p h y s i c a l and  "plain old  death."  ' V o n n e g u t ' 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 o b s e s s i o n w i t h the imminent a n n i h i l a t i o n o f the s p e c i e s .  The t w i n s p e c t r e s o f f r e e z i n g and b u r n i n g p e r -  vade the l a s t t h r e e n o v e l s . landscape  Death i s a major f e a t u r e o f  o f 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  protagonists  f o r Vonnegut's  to a v o i d t h i s t h r e a t t o t h e i r e x i s t e n c e .  f e e l i n g o f urgency i s t r a n s m i t t e d  the  A  t h r o u g h the n o v e l s ,  partic-  u l a r l y t h r o u g h 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 o f the l a t e r  ones.  Time, w h i c h i s p r e s e n t 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 Each o f V o n n e g u t ' s p r o t a g o n i s t s situation;  i s l i m i t e d by h i s  temporal  t h a t i s , he i s f o r c e d t o v i e w l i f e always from h i s  p o s i t i o n " i n the m i d d e s t " . of his p o s i t i o n .  He cannot t r a n s c e n d  However, he can c o n s t r u c t  imagination which i s free world.  important.  He can p r o j e c t  the  limitations  a w o r l d i n the  from the e x i g e n c i e s o f the  material  a view o f the w o r l d i n w h i c h t h e r e  no need to s e a r c h the p a s t f o r e v i d e n c e o f a m e a n i n g f u l  is  10  beginning end  n o r probe the u n c e r t a i n f u t u r e f o r a s i g n i f i c a n t  to human endeavour.  The attempt to provide  an imaginary-  w o r l d i s a f e a t u r e o f the i l l u s i o n s shared by most o f Voonnegut's p r o t a g o n i s t s , but i t i s c a r r i e d t o i t s f u r t h e s t extreme i n the f i g u r e o f B i l l y P i l g r i m . expressed as a d e s i r e t o r e t u r n t o Eden.  Frequently,  i t is  Such an attempt i s  the r e s u l t o f a d e s i r e t o c r e a t e , i n R i c h a r d P o i r i e r ' s phrase,  12 "a world elsewhere",  where beginnings a r e consonant w i t h  ends, where human c o n t r a d i c t i o n s a r e r e s o l v e d , where love i s r e l i e v e d o f i t s need t o e x p l o i t another human being, where f r i e n d s h i p and brotherhood are r e a l i z a b l e and a t t a i n a b l e g o a l s , where men can survey "the f r o n t i e r s o f t h e i r Utopia"' -^ 1  r e a l i z e i n i t s conception programs.  a common agreement on aims and  T h i s wish t o d i s c o v e r an a l t e r n a t i v e t o the u n s a t i s -  f y i n g way i n which s o c i e t y o r g a n i z e s  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 w r i t e r s , can be seen as a f e a t u r e o f the n o v e l s well.  and  American  o f Vonnegut as  I t i s Vonnegut's r e s o l v e t o make o f h i s n o v e l s c r u c i b l e s  f o r the m i n g l i n g  o f i l l u s i o n and r e a l i t y t h a t marks him as a  w r i t e r committed t o the c r e a t i o n o f a p o s s i b l e world without l o s i n g s i g h t o f the r e a l one. Vonnegut i n v o l v e s h i m s e l f i n c r e a s i n g l y i n the dilemmas which h i s p r o t a g o n i s t s f a c e .  I n the e a r l i e r novels he remains  s a f e l y hidden behind the f i c t i o n s he c r e a t e s .  He stands apart  11 from h i s c r e a t i o n s , and o b s e r v e s from a f a i r l y detached p o i n t of v i e w .  Although  i t would be f o o l i s h t o c h a r t n o v e l by  t h e movement from j u g g l e r t o j u g g l e d , something of a can be seen. The  I n the f i r s t two n o v e l s , P l a y e r P i a n o  novel  progression (1952) and  S i r e n s 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 p a r o d y i n g  the f i c t i o n s of o t h e r s i s e v i d e n t .  Mother N i g h t (1961) he assumes the t a s k o f " e d i t i n g ' Confessions  o f Howard Campbell.  1  In  the  I n the n o v e l s w h i c h f o l l o w  Mother N i g h t 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 increases. Rosewater o f God  Both Jonah of Cat's C r a d l e and  B l e s s You, Mr.  Eliot  Rosewater are w r i t e r s .  Vonnegut's s e l 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 comes i n c r e a s i n g l y i m p o r t a n t  i n h i s novels.  He  seems t o  be-  be-  come g r a d u a l l y aware t h a t he shares w i t h h i s f i c t i o n a l c h a r a c t e r s the problems a t t e n d a n t upon the use of f i c t i o n s . Slaughterhouse-Five,  Vonnegut i d e n t i f i e s h i m s e l f as b o t h the  j u g g l e r and the j u g g l e d . v i o u s one,  Finally, in  I n t h i s n o v e l , more t h a n i n any  he a t t e m p t s t o s e p a r a t e as n e a r l y as he can  f i c t i o n from the f a c t .  pre-  the  He appears as a c h a r a c t e r 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 t h e t e l l e r o f the tale.  T h i s n o v e l r e p r e s e n t s Vonnegut's most s e r i o u s a t t e m p t  t o examine the p o s s i b i l i t i e s of f i c t i o n , t o demarcate i t s boundaries,  t o a s s e s i t s advantages, and t o c o n s i d e r i t s  disadvantages.  12  V o n n e g u t s awareness o f the numerous r e s o u r c e s  of  1  i s r e f l e c t e d i n h i s repeated  references  and a l l u s i o n s t o  l i t e r a r y f i c t i o n s b o t h a c t u a l and i n v e n t e d , and i n t o 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 c o r d s , magazines,  fiction other  references  manuscripts,  and so on, a g a i n , b o t h 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 w h i c h he employs, Vonnegut a p p e a r s , from the o u t s e t , to have been e s p e c i a l l y a t t r a c t e d o f Jonah and the Whale.  to the  Each o f V o n n e g u t s p r o t a g o n i s t s  story is  1  e n l i s t e d i n the s e r v i c e o f some agent who r e q u i r e s t h a t he 14  d e l i v e r an u r g e n t message o f g r e a t i m p o r t a n c e . whose a i d i s s o l i c i t e d becomes, o f powers beyond h i s c o n t r o l .  The man  l i k e J o n a h , the h e l p l e s s Vonnegut's personal  victim  experience  as an i n f a n t r y scout i n the war may have i m p r e s s e d upon him how persistent  a r e p a t t e r n s t h a t are concerned w i t h the d e l i v e r y  o f i m p o r t a n t messages.  Some messages, however, are more  important than others.  Most o f V o n n e g u t ' s p r o t a g o n i s t s  s e a r c h i n g f o r the c o r r e c t message t o bear t o mankind. d e s p e r a t e s e a r c h f o r meaning and purpose,  are The  so f r e q u e n t l y a  theme i n V o n n e g u t ' s n o v e l s , l e a d s 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 , o f the s t o r y o f Job and, p a r t i c u l a r l y , M e l v i l l e ' s treatment of t h i s s t o r y i n Moby-Dick.  to  In Oat's  C r a d l e Vonnegut makes e x p l i c i t h i s c o n c e r n w i t h M e l v i l l e ' s theme. A l t h o u g h no o t h e r A m e r i c a n w r i t e r i s a l l u d e d t o  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 i n d e b t e d to o t h e r s as w e l l .  Mark T w a i n ' 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 w o r k s , appear t o 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 relevant  and the "dream o f d i s a s t e r " title,  Stranger  t a l e t o w h i c h Twain gave the w o r k i n g  "Which Was the Dream?"  imminent d i s a s t e r  are The M y s t e r i o u s  T w a i n ' s p r e o c c u p a t i o n w i t h the  t h a t c o u l d 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 c o n c e r n on the p a r t o f Vonnegut. There i s a t e m p t a t i o n to s a t i s f y c e i v e coherent  the human urge to  p a t t e r n s and to say t h a t  per-  Slaughterhouse-Five  i s the end o f experiments begun twenty y e a r s e a r l i e r w i t h Player Piano.  There i s some e v i d e n c e f o r such a v i e w .  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  The  first,  s i n c e i t i s the r e p o r t  o f h i s p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the w a r .  It  took him twenty y e a r s ,  however, d u r i n g w h i c h time he wrote  n o v e l s w h i c h p r e p a r e d him f o r the w r i t i n g o f t h i s one n o v e l . Also,  i n r e c e n t i n t e r v i e w s , Vonnegut has e x p r e s s e d  faction with writing. produce f i c t i o n , necessary  dissatis-  Whether o r n o t Vonnegut c o n t i n u e s  to  S l a u g h t e r h o u s e - F i v e i s as c o n v e n i e n t and as  a p l a c e to conclude a d i s c u s s i o n o f the s i x n o v e l s  as P l a y e r P i a n o i s t o b e g i n such a d i s c u s s i o n .  I t i s o n l y t h r o u g h the medium o f the i m a g i n a t i o n t h a t we can l e s s e n those i r o n f e t t e r s , w h i c h we c a l l t r u t h and r e a l i t y , and make o u r s e l v e s 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 o n l y the t r a i n but h i m s e l f , not o n l y h i s v i s i o n which had seen i t and h i s memory w h i c h remembered i t but h i s c l o t h e s t o o , as garments c a r r y back i n t o the c l e a n e d g e l e s s b l o w i n g o f a i r the l i n g e r i n g e f f l u v i u m o f a s i c k - r o o m o r 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 b e f o r e the a c t u a l axe the shadow and p o r t e n t o f the new m i l l not even f i n i s h e d y e t and the r a i l s and t i e s w h i c h were not even l a i d ; and he knew now what he had known as soon as he saw H o k e ' s t h i s morning but had not y e t thought i n t o w o r d s : why M a j o r de S p a i n had not come back, and t h a t a f t e r h i s time he h i m s e l f , who had t o see i t one time o t h e r , would r e t u r n no more. The Bear William Faulkner  CHAPTER  I  PLAYER PIANO Vonnegut's f i r s t n o v e l , P l a y e r P i a n o  (1952), i s s e t i n  the f u t u r e and d e s c r i b e s a t o t a l l y automated s o c i e t y , t h e symbol o f w h i c h i s a p l a y e r p i a n o .  This device f o r producing  music a u t o m a t i c a l l y and w i t h o u t human i n t e r v e n t i o n i s an a p p r o p r i a t e symbol f o r a n o v e l whose c e n t r a l concern i s t h e desire to create e f f i c i e n t patterns. one  I l i u m i s the r e s u l t of  such attempt t o c r e a t e an o r g a n i z e d 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 o f machines w h i c h i n t h e same manner as a p l a y e r p i a n o .  operate  Neatly subdivided  into  t h r e e s e c t i o n s , I l i u m resembles a smoothly o p e r a t i n g machine. T h i s s o c i e t y , w h i c h i s t h e r e s u l t o f 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 one:  except  t h e r e i s no p l a c e i n such a system f o r human b e i n g s .  I r o n i c a l l y , t h e men who have c r e a t e d such a dehumanized s o c i e t y become t h e v i c t i m s o f 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 o f I l i u m have brought about t h e i r enslavement and have condemned themselves t o h o p e l e s s l y u n e v e n t f u l and mediocre e x i s t e n c e s .  live  Frustration  l e a d s t h e s e p e o p l e t o c o n s t r u c t f a n t a s i e s f o r themselves w h i c h a l l o w them some measure o f escape from r e a l i t y .  In this  r e s p e c t the Homesteaders a n t i c i p a t e c h a r a c t e 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 h a p l e s s San L o r e n z a n s 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 t o the Homesteaders alone.  The managers and e n g i n e e r s 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 o p p o s i n g 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 .  is  The p r o t a g o n i s t , P a u l P r o t e u s ,  i n v o l v e d i n n e a r l y a l l of these f i c t i o n s .  As the manager o f  the I l i u m Works, P r o t e u s p a r t i c i p a t e s i n the games a t Meadows.  the  A s a s y m p a t h i z e r 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 o f the Ghost Shirt Society.  As an i n d i v i d u a l , he s h a r e s many o f the  per-  s o n a l f a n t a s i e s o f the Homesteaders. As h i s name s u g g e s t s , p o t e n t i a l f o r change.  P a u l P r o t e u s r e p r e s e n t s the  L i k e h i s namesake, he a l s o has the  a b i l i t y t o a l t e r h i s shape e a s i l y , but t h i s p r o v e s t o be b o t h a s t r e n g t h and a weakness. *  A l t h o u g h he r e c o g n i z e s  the need f o r change, he has no coherent p r o p o s a l s f o r the  16 future.  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  " t h a t the "big 2  trouble,  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 v a g u e l y formed dreams o f a U t o p i a b u t , 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 m a n i p u l a t e d by  others.  P r o t e u s i s caught i n a p a t t e r n w h i c h i s not o f h i s m a k i n g . 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 o f c o n t i n u e d advancement  i n a s o c i e t y t h a t seems t o w i l l h i s success  h i s personal reluctance  t o advance h i m s e l f .  despite  As the son o f  founder o f the c o r p o r a t i o n w h i c h governs I l i u m , P r o t e u s expected to c o n t i n u e the work o f h i s f a t h e r .  Proteus'  s a t i s f a c t i o n i n the f i r s t p a r t o f the n o v e l , h i s t o h e a r t i l y endorse the c o r p o r a t e  the  is dis-  reluctance  dream o f a u t o p i a ,  initiates  the t e n s i o n upon w h i c h 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 predicament  Proteus'  — he i s c o n f i n e d by the I l i u m Works and  the  massive c o r p o r a t i o n o f w h i c h i t i s a p a r t — and t h a t o f c a t who i n a d v e r t e n t l y n o v e l ' s e a r l y scenes.  the  s t r a y s i n t o the Works i n one o f the The c a t responds t o 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 o f an a n i m a l r e c o i l i n g i n defense against  the e n g u l f i n g power o f the m a c h i n e r y .  r e b e l l i o n and the f u t i l i t y  The c a t ' s  o f h i s a t t e m p t s to stand and f i g h t  t h e machine or t o f l e e from i t p r e f i g u r e P r o t e u s '  later  17 rebellion.  The c a t f l e e s from the Works b u t ,  t o escape,  i s electrocuted.  i n the attempt  "She dropped t o the a s p h a l t —  dead and smoking, but o u t s i d e ' ' (21).  While Proteus  t h r o u g h the t h i n l y v e i l e d power s t r u c t u r e  sees  o f the Works and  the network o f people who p e r p e t u a t e i t s dominance, and w h i l e he r e c o g n i z e s the need t o be f r e e i s j u s t t h a t o f the c a t :  o f i t s c o n t r o l , h i s problem  how t o f i n d o n e ' s way o u t s i d e  w i t h o u t e n d i n g up "dead and s m o k i n g " . P r o t e u s ' movements are c o n f i n e d s y m b o l i c a l l y by the t e c t i v e fence w h i c h e n c l o s e s the Works.  I n the f i n a l  pro-  scenes  o f the n o v e l , he i s l i t e r a l l y c o n f i n e d by the w a l l o f g o v e r n ment t r o o p s w h i c h surrounds I l i u m . another respect;  Proteus i s also i n s i d e i n  he responds t o the system from w i t h i n as  Shah o f B r a t p u h r responds from w i t h o u t .  The j u x t a p o s i t i o n o f  the s t o r i e s o f these two men forms one o f the t e c h n i c a l d e v i c e s o f the n o v e l . n e v e r meet,  the  principal  A l t h o u g h P r o t e u s and the Shah  t h e i r s i t u a t i o n s complement one a n o t h e r .  Just  as P r o t e u s s t a n d s between the o p p o s i n g f i g u r e s o f K r o n e r and Pinnerty,  so the Shah s t a n d s between two  interpreters,  H a l y a r d and h i s nephew, Miasma K h a s h d r a h r .  The s t r u c t u r a l  device of o f f e r i n g several versions of 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 t h e r n o v e l s , p o i n t s to V o n n e g u t ' s c o n c e r n w i t h the c o m p e t i t i o n between systems.  Proteus  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 f i n d i n g a system o r p a t t e r n w h i c h can a s s i s t d e s i r e t o b r i n g about t h i s  interested  them i n t h e i r  change.  P r o t e u s sees c l e a r l y what h i s f e l l o w w o r k e r s , w i t h e x c e p t i o n o f a few d i s s i d e n t s ,  the  e i t h e r do not see o r are not  w i l l i n g t o see u n t i l i t i s too l a t e t o save t h e m s e l v e s . c o r p o r a t e dream o f t o t a l e f f i c i e n c y  The  ( w h i c h by a p e c u l i a r l o g i c  somehow l e a d s t o t o t a l h a p p i n e s s ) means a l s o t o t a l a u t o m a t i o n . The r a p i d i t y w i t h w h i c h t h i s enslavement has o c c u r r e d i s suggested by the a n t i q u a t e d s e c t i o n o f one b u i l d i n g w h i c h was, i n the not too d i s t a n t p a s t , Thomas E d i s o n ' s workshop.  Proteus'  s p e c u l a t i o n concerning E d i s o n s p o s s i b l e r e a c t i o n to h i s 1  c o n v e r t e d workshop l e a d s him t o the c o n c l u s i o n t h a 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 o f w h i c h e x i s t e d , a l t h o u g h i n more r u d i m e n t a r y 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 w h i c h P r o t e u s a r r i v e s a t i s an i m p o r t a n t one because i t p o i n t s t o 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 end o f the n o v e l .  The machines are not o f themselves  the  evil;  i t i s the purpose f o r w h i c h the machines are used w h i c h i s undesirable.  Not the m a t e r i a l s , but the p a t t e r n ,  The major f e a t u r e o f l i f e  is  inadequate.  i n the Homestead (and,  indeed,  on the s i d e o f the r i v e r i n h a b i t e d by the managers and engineers)  is control.  I n ways b o t h d i r e c t and c u n n i n g l y  i n d i r e c t the h a p l e s s v i c t i m s are m a n i p u l a t e d .  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, o r the Army.  There i s no c h o i c e , i n e f f e c t ,  ' ' 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 o b s o l e t e  since  drill,  the no  more n o r l e s s r i d i c u l o u s t h a n the r o a d c o n s t r u c t i o n work u n d e r t a k e n by the Reeks and W r e c k s .  The s o l d i e r s need no r e a l guns  s i n c e the p r e s e n t o r g a n i z a t i o n o f s o c i e t y has rendered war an anachronism.  These m e a n i n g l e s s  e x e r c i s e s p r o v i d e examples o f  the n a t u r e o f l i f e i n the Homestead.  This l i f e  forms t h a t have no m e a n i n g f u l s u b s t a n c e .  i s based upon  W h i l e the modes o f  escape a r e s e e m i n g l y v a r i o u s , they a l l p o i n t t o one end, is,  the attempt to f l e e from the r e m o r s e l e s s  futility  and l a c k o f p u r p o s e .  fantasies;  others,  pressure of  Some escape t h r o u g h barroom  l i k e the young man who i n t e r p r e t s  by s i g h t o n l y , d i s t i n g u i s h themselves achievement  music  through a s i n g u l a r  ( a l t h o u g h the s k i l l s are themselves v e r y m i n o r ) .  S t i l l o t h e r s feed t h e i r i m a g i n a t i o n s w i t h dreams o f what w i l l do when t h e i r y e a r s o f s e r v i c e are o v e r . man who s p i t s i n H a l y a r d ' s f a c e , s i g n i f i c a n t acts of  Some, l i k e  they the  s a t i s f y themselves w i t h i n -  defiance.  One o f the Homesteaders, for  that  Edgar R. B . Hagstrohm compensates  h i s u n e v e n t f u l and s u p e r f i c i a l l y happy e x i s t e n c e by engag-  ing his imagination with fantasies  w h i c h 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 i c e B u r r o u g h s .  His i n a b i l i t y  20  t o 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 e a d s him t o e n t e r t a i n g r e a t e r and g r e a t e r f a n t a s i e s t o some p r i m i t i v e way o f l i f e , reject  o f escape  but when he does attempt t o  c i v i l i z a t i o n and take h i s ''mate" away t o the " j u n g l e "  t h e 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 h e r o , T a r z a n .  R e j e c t e d , he r u n s mad  and naked i n t o the " w i l d e r n e s s " w h i c h 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 s a n c t u a r y t o the r e a r o f the h o u s i n g development. Hagstrohm's dilemma i s shared by s e v e r a l o t h e r o f Vonnegut's characters,  including Paul Proteus.  The c o n f l i c t  between h i s l o y a l t y t o h i s w i f e and h i s a t t r a c t i o n t o the widow has l e s s t o do w i t h a d e s i r e f o r a new l o v e r t h a n w i t h a d e s i r e f o r a new l i f e .  He r e p r e s e n t s an a c u t e s p l i t between the w o r l d  o f i l l u s i o n and the w o r l d o f r e a l i t y .  I n such an example,  Vonnegut p o i n t s t o the o b v i o u s r i s k s i n c u r r e d when i l l u s i o n substituted for r e a l i t y .  is  One o b v i o u s problem f a c i n g Hagstrohm  i s t h a 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 ical.  There i s a c e r t a i n s i m i l a r i t y between H a g s t r o h m ' s  a b o r t e d e f f o r t t o escape t o 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 t o c o n v i n c e h i s w i f e t o r e j e c t t h e i r  artifi-  c i a l s o c i a l p o s i t i o n and move t o the farmhouse on the Homes t e a d s i d e 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 P r o t e u s 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 r o t e u s '  dream o f a p o s s i b l e w o r l d  21  o f i d y l l i c h a p p i n e s s 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 t o j o i n h i m , and l a t e r by the r e a l i z a t i o n t h a t the a l t e r n a t i v e t o p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n s o c i e t y existed only i n h i s imagination. Proteus, l i k e generations  o f A m e r i c a n s before h i m , dreams  o f " a w o r l d elsewhere" i n which a l l the c o n t i n g e n c i e s o f modern l i f e  a r e r e p l a c e d by the n a t u r a l rhythm o f the  and the s i m p l i c i t y o f n a t u r e .  seasons  He i m a g i n e s how p e a c e f u l  would be "To l i v e i n a house by the s i d e o f a r o a d . . . "  it (114).  L a t e r , when he f o r m u l a t e s h i s dream more c l e a r l y , h i s t h o u g h t s move e f f o r t l e s s l y " i n t o the f a n t a s y o f the new, good life  ahead o f h i m .  Somewhere, o u t s i d e o f s o c i e t y , t h e r e was  a p l a c e f o r a man — a man and w i f e — 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 " ( 1 4 3 ) . thereafter,  Shortly  the i d e a o f moving t o such a p l a c e becomes even  more a t t r a c t i v e ,  e s p e c i a l l y s i n c e the a l t e r n a t i v e i s the  annual  v i s i t t o the Meadows, the symbol o f an u n n a t u r a l h a b i t a t i o n . " I t was a c o m p l e t e l y i s o l a t e d b a c k w a t e r , cut o f f from  the  b o i l i n g r a p i d s o f h i s t o r y , s o c i e t y , and the economy.  Timeless"  The determined e f f o r t t o escape from the c u r r e n t s o f  (147).  history,  s o c i e t y and Time, w h i c h P r o t e u s shares w i t h numerous  other American f i c t i o n a l heroes,  i s one shared by V o n n e g u t ' s  4  other  protagonists. P o r P r o t e u s the dream o f removal from the power o f a l l  22 f o r c e s o f change succumbs t o the p r e s s u r e o f r e a l i t y .  When  he comes i n c o n t a c t w i t h the s o i l and the farm hand who i s t o a s s i s t h i m , P r o t e u s i s f o r c e d t o acknowledge the  difference  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 t a k e r and h i s p r e s e n t only r e a l i t y .  care-  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  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  o c c u r s when P r o t e u s compares h i s i m a g i n a t i v e w o r l d o f b o l d sea h e r o e s , n o b l e savages,  and i n t r e p i d p i o n e e r s w i t h h i s  struggle against society.  The f i c t i o n a l w o r l d w h i c h so a t t r a c t s  P r o t e u s a l l o w s i t s heroes f r e q u e n t meaningful,  futile  individual acts.  o p p o r t u n i t i e s t o engage i n  In contrast,  h i s r o l e as manager  o f the Works e n a b l e s him t o be m e r e l y a " c a p t a i n  11  at  the  Meadows and h i s a c t i o n s a r e a p a r t o f 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 t o do w i t h h i s f a n t a s i e s  o f courageous,  independent a c t i o n . P r o t e u s ' n o s t a l g i a f o r an i d y l l i c p a s t i s one shared by many A m e r i c a n s .  I n a c l e v e r l y p r e s e n t e d scene, the l o q u a c i o u s  b a r b e r , Homer B i g l e y ,  e x p l a i n s t o the Shah who cannot u n d e r -  s t a n d a word he i s s a y i n g : You know, used t o be you c o u l d be a p i o n e e r and go out and l e a d the people and make t r a i l s and chase away I n d i a n s and a l l t h a t . Or y o u c o u l d be a cowboy, o r a l l k i n d s o f dangerous t h i n g s 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 a b l e t o u n d e r s t a n d  the b a r b e r , he would l e a r n more o f the i n d i g e n o u s n a t u r e o f the A m e r i c a n c h a r a c t e r and i t s d e s i r e s than H a l y a r d has  told  him.  the  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 t o  advent o f the automated s o c i e t y , a man c o u l d perform d i s t i n g u i s h i n g a c t s even though h i s e d u c a t i o n and c a p a c i t y f o r u n d e r s t a n d i n g were l i m i t e d ,  but i n the p r e s e n t c i r c u m s t a n c e the  o n l y t r u e measure o f a man's w o r t h i s h i s i n t e l l e c t . Those who owe t h e i r p r e s e n t p o s i t i o n s t o the b a t t e r y o f i n t e l l i g e n c e t e s t s they have succeeded i n p a s s i n g have, H a l y a r d , a g r e a t need t o support the system w h i c h i s justification for their position,  the  but t h e r e i s c o n s i d e r a b l e  danger i n l i v i n g on such an a b s t r a c t discovers.  like  level,  as H a l y a r d  He too e a s i l y becomes a v i c t i m o f the system he  s u p p o r t s w h o l e h e a r t e d l y and proves t h a 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 t h a n the numbers i t  is  designed to serve. The attempt t o p o s s e s s A m e r i c a t h r o u g h the  fictional  r e c r e a t i o n o f i t s h i s t o r i c h e r o e s i s not l i m i t e d t o a few individuals.  The upper s t r a t a o f 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 t h e s e h i s t o r i c a l m a t e r i a l s . I n a comic scene Vonnegut d e s c r i b e s the managers and e n g i n e e r s who r e t i r e t o the Meadows f o r the enactment o f t h e i r a n n u a l  24 i n i t i a t i o n i n t o the " S p i r i t o f 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 s e p a r a t e from t h e i r w i v e s t o engage i n t h i s m a s c u l i n e 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 w h i c h a l l the " b r a v e s " ,  under  the w a t c h f u l eyes o f the " c h i e f s " , pledge a l l e g i a n c e t o Spirit.  the  The man charged w i t h the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y o f c o n d u c t i n g  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 p a i n t e d bronze f o r the o c c a s i o n .  He speaks w i t h o u t remorse o f h i s  p a s t and the d i s p l a c e m e n t  o f h i s people by the w h i t e man who  d i s p a t c h e d them e x p e d i t i o u s l y b u t , t o the Happy H u n t i n g Ground.  apparently,  conveniently  The " I n d i a n " c a r e f u l l y a v o i d s  any mention o f a s t r u g g l e between the competing r a c e s , sight:;.thatis  an o v e r -  i m p o r t a n t i n r e l a t i o n t o the s t r u g g l e w h i c h ensues  l a t e r between the " w h i t e man" and the members o f the Shirt Society, i t s e l f Significantly,  Ghost  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 .  the a c t o r i s an a g i n g f i g u r e h i m s e l f and  p r o o f o f the n e c e s s i t y f o r d i s g u i s e and p r e t e n s e a t Meadows, t h a t " v i t a l symbol" o f the o r g a n i z a t i o n .  the Vonnegut  seems to suggest t h r o u g h the example o f the bronze a c t o r A m e r i c a n h i s t o r y i s a p r o c e s s o f conquest and d e f e a t .  that  The  w h i t e man was a b l e to c o n t r o l the I n d i a n and, by so d o i n g , d e p r i v e him o f h i s p a t r i m o n y . has l e d t o a f u r t h e r  conquest  T h i s v i c t o r y by the w h i t e man and d e f e a t — o n l y t h i s  time  25 t h e v i c t i m i s the w h i t e man and the v i c t o r i s the machine. The problem, as f a r as the w h i t e man's c i v i l i z a t i o n  is  c o n c e r n e d , a r i s e s from the u n w i l l i n g n e s s o f men l i k e K r o n e r and Gelhorne (whose vague presence appropriate  symbol o f a u t h o r i t y )  i n the n o v e l makes him an  t o accept a n y t h i n g t h a t  c o n t r a d i c t s t h e i r ' b e l i e f t h a t they are c r e a t i n g the possible future  for their society.  best  Their 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 o f t h e i r w o r l d t h r o u g h the improvement o f 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 o f the  real  w o r l d , but t h e i r a b i l i t y to m a n i p u l a t e c e r t a i n p a t t e r n s and f i c t i o n s to s u i t t h e i r own ends ensures t h a t t h e i r v i e w w i l l predominate.  T h i s i s an i d e a to w h i c h Vonnegut r e t u r n s i n  o t h e r n o v e l s i n w h i c h he e x p l o r e s the d i v e r s e methods  that  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 e x p e r i e n c e . As the scene i n the Meadows u n f o l d s , the g r e a t chasm w h i c h s e p a r a t e s the r i t u a l from the a c t u a l i t y o f the ment w i d e n s .  re-enact-  V o n n e g u t ' s use o f i r o n i c j u x t a p o s i t i o n r e n d e r s  the e n t i r e a f f a i r l u d i c r o u s .  The " b r a v e s " pledge a l l e g i a n c e  t o 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 g u i d e d by the v o i c e o f the l o u d s p e a k e r ,  are  that " 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 r o b o t s to e l e c t r i c a l i m p u l s e s : "But the s p i r i t o f my p e o p l e l i v e s on, the S p i r i t o f the Meadows. I t i s e v e r y where: i n the wind t h r o u g h the p i n e s , i n the l a p p i n g o f the g r e a t b l u e w a t e r , i n  26 the w h i r o f an e a g l e w i n g , i n the g r o w l o f summer t h u n d e r . 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 h e r e , who does not h a r k e n t o the S p i r i t , who does not take the Oath o f the S p i r i t . ' There was the c l a t t e r i n g o f the s w i t c h i n the l o u d s p e a k e r a g a i n . "Young b r a v e s a t the Meadows f o r the f i r s t time step forward," s a i d a p o n t i f i c a l v o i c e , not t h a t o f the u s u a l d r o v e r . (213) 1  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  e x p r e s s i o n and  t h e c o n t r i v e d , m e c h a n i c a l e x p r e s s i o n o c c u r s a l s o i n the image o f the e a g l e which i s g r o t e s q u e l y metamorphosed by t e c h n o l o g y : "By the l a p p i n g o f the g r e a t b l u e w a t e r , by the w h i r o f the e a g l e w i n g — " The O l d M a n ' s p l a n e had s k a t e d a c r o s s the w a t e r t o the shore on the o t h e r s i d e 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 i n c h e d up a ramp onto l a n d . "By t h e g r o w l o f the summer t h u n d e r , " s a i d the I n d i a n . (214) The new e a g l e o f the Meadows i s the a i r p l a n e w h i c h Gelhorne.  carries  I n i t s sound and i m p o s i n g presence the machine  commands a t t e n t i o n and o b e d i e n c e . The neophytes i n t h i s scene are e x h o r t e d t o 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 " ( 2 1 4 ) , e x a c t l y as they had been encouraged t o do by means o f the d i d a c t i c p a s s i o n p l a y they viewed e a r l i e r .  The e n t i r e l i f e  a t 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 , cosm o f the w o r l d o u t s i d e .  i s also a micro-  Throughout the day the l i v e s o f  t h e s e 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 t a c k e d up i n c o n s p i c u o u s p l a c e s ; games, l e c t u r e s and p l a y s are a l l exempla d e s i g n e d  and  for  edification. P r o t e u s has l e a r n e d t o see t h r o u g h the s e l f - d e l u s i o n and h y p o c r i s y o f "the men a t the head o f the p r o c e s s i o n o f ation,  civiliz-  the openers o f doors t o undreamed-of new w o r l d s " ( 2 1 2 ) .  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 o f a u t o p i a w i t h o u t b e i n g a b l e t o c o n c e i v e o f an a l t e r n a t i v e , Proteus to consider s u i c i d e .  He has reached an impasse;  dream o f r u s t i c s i m p l i c i t y has v a n i s h e d , and he i s l e f t  leads the  with  the t a r n i s h e d dream o f p r o g r e s s as i t i s mapped out by G e l h o r n e . Proteus  1  contemplation of s u i c i d e prefigures  similar  pre-  o c c u p a t i o n s o f Howard C a m p b e l l , J o n a h , E l i o t Rosewater,  and  B i l l y P i l g r i m , a l l o f whom a t one time or a n o t h e r weary o f the "duty-dance w i t h death" and seek to have done.  Proteus  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 o f 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 t o meet — i n the c e n t e r o f the b r i d g e  separating  the p a r t s o f I l i u m . A l t h o u g h he i s a man w i t h o u t a cause o f h i s own, he f i n d s that h i s assistance  i s s o l i c i t e d by the two o p p o s i n g 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 L a s h e r and F i n n e r t y .  Gelhorne o f f e r s P r o t e u s the same  28 r o l e w h i c h Rumfiord o f f e r s t o 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 C a m p b e l 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 o f t r e a s o n by b o t h 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 o p e r a t e s , P r o t e u s i s s h a m e f u l l y e x p e l l e d from the Meadows.  A v o i d e d and r e v i l e d , he makes h i s way from the  Meadows, by way o f the women's camp where h i s w i f e him, he,  to h i s home i n I l i u m . o f h i s own f r e e w i l l ,  Proteus'  rejects  small consolation i s that  q u i t , but the a b i l i t y o f the company  t o c r e a t e and d e s t r o y i s g r e a t e r t h a n any r e s o l v e P r o t e u s make.  can  P r o t e u s i s f o r c e d to a c c e p t a r o l e i n a drama w h i c h ,  like  the p l a y performed a t the Meadows, i s p a r t o f a l a r g e r d e s i g n . T h i s p a r t i c u l a r theme i s one t o w h i c h Vonnegut r e t u r n s i n The S i r e n s  o f T i t a n and Mother N i g h t .  On the o t h e r s i d e , P r o t e u s ' revolutionaries. action against  a i d i s sought by the  F i n n e r t y ' s program seems to o f f e r  positive  the w o r l d b u i l t and supported by the Works.  A l t h o u g h P r o t e u s i n s t i n c t i v e l y f e e l s more s y m p a t h e t i c  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 e n l i s t m e n t t h e i r ranks i s not a m a t t e r o f f r e e and k i d n a p p e d .  choice.  He i s drugged  R a t h e r t h a n t r e a t him as an i n d i v i d u a l ,  l e a d e r s o f the Ghost S h i r t S o c i e t y p r e f e r t o u t i l i z e i n f l u e n c e as a symbol o f power and a u t h o r i t y .  in  the  his  Like Malachi  29  Constant a f t e r h i m , P r o t e u s i s m a n i p u l a t e d ; a r o l e i s a s s i g n e d him  and, l i k e C o n s t a n t , he has no c o n t r o l o v e r what he says o r  does.  As i t i s o r d a i n e d t h a t Constant w i l l i t e r a t e  certain  p r o p h e t i c words s u p p l i e d to him by some m y s t e r i o u s s o u r c e , it  i s o r d a i n e d by the l e a d e r s o f the r e v o l u t i o n t h a t  so  Proteus  w i l l i s s u e the p r o c l a m a t i o n w h i c h they w r i t e f o r h i m . A l t h o u g h the p a r a l l e l i s n e v e r made e x p l i c i t i n the n o v e l , it  i s clear that Proteus,  l i k e h i s counterparts  n o v e l s , resembles the B i b l i c a l c h a r a c t e r ,  i n the  Jonah.  later  Proteus  and Jonah are b o t h f o r c e d by a s u p e r i o r power t o d e l i v e r a message o f c o n s i d e r a b l e i m p o r t a n c e .  The d i f f e r e n c e  between  P r o t e u s and Jonah i s t h a t the l a t t e r has o n l y one message  to  d e l i v e r , w h i l e P r o t e u s i s i n v o l v e d i n a c o m p e t i t i o n between two  powers.  plan,  I n Y o r m e g u t ' s v e r s i o n t h e r e i s no s i n g l e  j u s t as t h e r e i s not one message,  conflicting instructions.  authentic  but many, each w i t h  There i s no d i v i n e s a n c t i o n f o r  the p a t t e r n s o f e i t h e r o f the o p p o s i n g groups, a l t h o u g h each a c t s as i f t h e r e were some s p e c i a l o r d i n a n c e or  precedent  e s t a b l i s h i n g the a u t h o r i t y o f i t s p o s i t i o n . Proteus,  the v i c t i m o f these c o n f l i c t i n g schemes,  t o e s t a b l i s h an independent  seeks  course o f a c t i o n f o r h i m s e l f .  As the events b e g i n n i n g 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 o f l i t t l e  independent  30 action.  D u r i n g the t r i a l he d i s c o v e r s t h a t , b e s i d e s h a v i n g  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 p e r s o n a l m o t i v a t i o n s b e h i n d h i s  actions:  H i s own m o t i v a t i o n was o b s c u r e , the c a s t was u n w i e l d y , and, P a u l r e a l i z e d , the denouement was s t i l l t o come. Through a l l h i s a d v e n t u r e s , he had been a d e r e l i c t , t o s s e d t h i s way, t h e n t h a t . He had y e t t o l a y a f i r m hand on the t i l l e r . (298) P r o t e u s i s a b s o l v e d from judgement by the outbreak  o f 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 for h i s r e b e l l i o n originate with a personal hatred of h i s father people.  o r w i t h a d e s i r e f o r i m p r o v i n g the c o n d i t i o n s o f the L i k e Constant and Campbell a f t e r  him, Proteus  is  accused o f c r i m e s f o r w h i c h he i s n e v e r c o m p l e t e l y p u n i s h e d . Proteus'  m o t i v a t i o n s are obscured by y e t a n o t h e r  w i t h i n him w h i c h he shares w i t h a number o f o t h e r i n Vonnegut's f i c t i o n .  protagonists  I n h i s s e l f l e s s d e d i c a t i o n to  cause o f the common c i t i z e n P r o t e u s i s v e r y n e a r l y a and the t e m p t a t i o n t o 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 times quite s t r o n g .  impulse  the saint, at  T h i s i m p u l s e i s d e s c r i b e d i n a scene i n  which a speech, the nugget o f the whole e v e n i n g ' s nebulous i m p r e s s i o n s , composed i t s e l f i n P a u l ' s m i n d , 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 c o n s c i o u s e f f o r t on h i s p a r t . He had o n l y t o d e l i v e r i t t o make h i m s e l f the new M e s s i a h 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 t o p i a n i d e a l s , P r o t e u s r u n s the r i s k o f c o n f u s i n g h i s human r o l e w i t h t h a t o f the s a i n t .  This  theme r e c e i v e s much f u l l e r t r e a t m e n t i n a n o v e l about a man d e d i c a t e d to the e s t a b l i s h m e n t  of a paradise  on e a r t h —  God B l e s s Y o u , 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 f i c a t i o n on the p a r t o f P r o t e u s as a symbol o f s a l v a t i o n . r e l i g i o u s spectacles  such an i d e n t i -  s i n c e they p l a n t o use him  L a s h e r , whose penchant f o r s y m b o l i c  prefigures  a s i m i l a r c o n c e r n by Rumfoord  i n The S i r e n s o f T i t a n , p l a n s to use P r o t e u s i n much the same way t h a t Rumfoord uses  Constant:  " A l l r i g h t , " said Lasher, h i s voice low. " I n the p a s t , i n a s i t u a t i o n l i k e t h i s , i f M e s s i a h s showed up w i t h c r e d i b l e , d r a m a t i c messages o f hope, they o f t e n s e t o f f p o w e r f u l 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 o f t e r r i f i c odds. I f a M e s s i a h 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 o f the hands o f 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 t o t&ke the w o r l d away from the machines, D o c t o r , and g i v e i t back t o the p e o p l e . " (275) The s h a l l o w n e s s o f t h i s v i e w i s exposed by Vonnegut the v e r y language w h i c h L a s h e r employs.  through  L i k e those i n c o n t r o l  32  o f the government, L a s h e r i s i n t e r e s t e d performances  i n d r a m a t i c or staged  and, f o r a m i n i s t e r , h i s r e f e r e n c e s  to a Messiah  who "shows up" seem to have more t o do w i t h the form w i t h the c o n t e n t o f the message.  L a s h e r sees the  than  necessity  f o r redeeming a w o r l d which has f a l l e n i n t o , the s i n o f c a r e l e s s d i s r e g a r d f o r human l i f e .  In d e a l i n g w i t h t h i s problem  he r e c r e a t e s an h i s t o r i c a l f i c t i o n  i n order that t h i s  redemp-  t i o n might be a c h i e v e d . The r e v o l u t i o n a r y program which appeals to so many as fiction,  f a i l s when put t o 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 t o r e p l a c e 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 o f  every v e s t i g e o f automation i s , u l t i m a t e l y , because,  the  in their frantic effort  insurgents destroy everything.  self-destructive  to f r e e t h e m s e l v e s ,  the  I n the l a t e s t a g e s o f the  r e v o l u t i o n vonNeumann p o i n t s out t h a 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 o f a l y n c h i n g , but on a s c a l e  that  makes i t appear more l i k e g e n o c i d e . Amidst the g r e a t c o n f u s i o n , the remains o f 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 S o c i e t y are a l o n g w i t h the machines.  destroyed  Vonnegut's i n s t i n c t i v e d i s t r u s t  groups which i n v i t e the support o f f r u s t r a t e d  of  individuals is  e v i d e n t i n h i s d e s c r i p t i o n o f the p r o g r e s s o f the r e v o l u t i o n in Ilium.  In n e a r l y every n o v e l he s a t i r i z e s the  joiners  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 spectators role  of  o f t h e movement a r e r e d u c e d t o i n c a p a c i t a t e d and P r o t e u s i s h i m s e l f  t o assume t h e  observer.  Proteus'  o p t i m i s m , b o r n o f t h e dream o f c r e a t i n g a  happier existence despite  forced  f o rhimself  and o t h e r s ,  t h e many s e t b a c k s i t r e c e i v e s .  i s long i n dying  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 s o m e t h i n g c a n be s a l v a g e d , These modern-day defeat  Trojans,  that  however, a r e d e s t i n e d  a t t h e hands o f t h e s u r r o u n d i n g  ment a n d , l i k e men o f t h e p a s t , from t h e i r experience. t o work w i t h  not  learned.  to suffer  forces of the govern-  are destined  Proteus suggests that  t h e p r i m i t i v e m a t e r i a l a t hand.  t h a t by w o r k i n g w i t h ing,  some l e s s o n c a n be  that  to learn  nothing  everyone He  begin  believes  t h e i r h a n d s i n t h e s o i l a n d by s u c c e e d -  the r e v o l u t i o n a r i e s can prove that t h e i r r e b e l l i o n i s i n vain. 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 , h o w e v e r , 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 f a r m h o u s e , t h e product of h i s imagination. sought d e s p e r a t e l y  The t r u t h i s t h a t t h e men who  t o f r e e t h e m s e l v e s f r o m t h e bondage o f t h e  machines, p r e f e r t o t i n k e r with  t h e Orange-0 machine r a t h e r  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  employ t h e 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  busily original  than  34 enslavement.  The f u t i l i t y  i s c l e a r l y demonstrated  i n the scene i n w h i c h the  u s e s h i s t a l e n t s to a s s i s t r e b u i l d i n g o f the machine. Calhoun p e r f e c t s he,  o f any program f o r s o c i a l  change  laborer  the i n v e n t i v e Bud Calhoun i n the The p a t t e r n r e p e a t s i t s e l f :  the machine w h i c h r e p l a c e s the l a b o r e r and  i n t u r n , i s r e p l a c e d 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 effort  the l o g i c a l q u e s t i o n : Shirts?  a t c l a r i f i c a t i o n P r o t e u s t h i n k s t o ask What became o f the o r i g i n a l Ghost  H i s t o r y c o n t a i n s the answer and r e p e a t s i t i n the  modern v e r s i o n o f the o r i g i n a l m a s s a c r e .  Further  questioning  by P r o t e u s r e v e a l s t h a t the m o t i v a t i o n s o f the l e a d e r s as v a r i e d as the l e a d e r s t h e m s e l v e s .  are  The r e v o l u t i o n p r o v i d e s  F i n n e r t y w i t h "a chance to g i v e a savage blow to a c l o s e little  s o c i e t y t h a t made no c o m f o r t a b l e p l a c e f o r him'* ( 3 2 0 ) .  Von Nermann d e r i v e s s a t i s f a c t i o n from the e x p e r i e n c e ,  a  s a t i s f a c t i o n w h i c h i s based upon the s c i e n t i s t ' s  dispassionate  c o n c e r n f o r s e e i n g the r e s u l t s  lasher,  o f an e x p e r i m e n t .  seems s a t i s f i e d w i t h the r e s u l t s :  too,  "A l i f e l o n g t r a f f i c k e r i n  symbols, he had c r e a t e d the r e v o l u t i o n as a symbol, and was now welcoming the o p p o r t u n i t y t o d i e as one" ( 3 2 0 ) . P r o t e u s b e l i e v e s t h a t these r e a s o n s e x p l a i n why the l e a d e r s are so w i l l i n g t o s u r r e n d e r  At least three  themselves i n the end,  but  j u s t as he can n e v e r be c e r t a i n o f h i s own m o t i v a t i o n s , he can o n l y guess a t the m o t i v a t i o n s o f these men.  35 Even though he knows t h a t h i s e f f o r t s a r e d e s t i n e d t o f a i l , P r o t e u s would s t i l l l i k e t o t o a s t "To a b e t t e r  world,"  but he cannot w h i l e he i s f o r c e d t o acknowledge t h e r e a l i t y o f people " a l r e a d y eager t o r e c r e a t e the same o l d n i g h t m a r e " (320).  He i s caught between h i s d e s i r e t o c r e a t e a b e t t e r  p o s s i b l e w o r l d and h i s knowledge t h a t t h e l i k e l i h o o d o f such an o c c u r r e n c e i s q u i t e remote. out o f t h i s dilemma.  Por Proteus  t h e r e i s no way  He l o n g s f o r h i s i l l u s i o n ("To a b e t t e r  w o r l d " ) w h i l e he i s f o r c e d t o a c c e p t t h e h a r s h r e a l i t y ("To t h e r e c o r d , " a t once t h e h e a v e n l y r e c o r d but a l s o t h e r e c o r d o f human f u t i l i t y ) . Proteus'  f i n a l g e s t u r e i s one o f s u r r e n d e r  beyond h i s c o n t r o l .  Symbolically, f o r Proteus,  to forces the conclusion  i s s u i c i d a l , t h e r e s u l t o f h i s r e c o g n i z i n g t h e d i s p a r i t y between 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 t h e tawdry and  shameful a s p e c t s  of r e a l i t y .  Proteus'  surrender  i s his  a d m i s s i o n t h a t t h e r e i s no p o s s i b i l i t y o f r e c o n c i l i n g t h e 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 s m a l l group o f b u r e a u c r a t s p l a y e r piano w h i c h i s s y m b o l i c a l s o , symbolic  who r u l e a b s o l u t e l y ,  The  o f t h e automated s o c i e t y i s  o f the l a c k o f 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  society.  Regardless  o f what k e y s are s t r u c k on the p i a n o , the same tune comes f o r t h . P l a y e r P i a n o r a i s e s i m p o r t a n t q u e s t i o n s about human ' d e s t i n y , about hope and d e s p a i r i n a w o r l d i n w h i c h the e x e r c i s e o f c o n t r o l l i e s beyond the grasp o f the i n d i v i d u a l and i n w h i c h exercise of free w i l l i s l i m i t e d .  I t d e a l s w i t h the  reactions  t o 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 . Phoenix-like,  c i v i l i z a t i o n r i s e s from the ashes o f i t s  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 a g a i n s t  the  But, former  f u t i l i t y and the  awareness o f h i s own u s e l e s s n e s s i n a w o r l d t h a t runs more e f f i c i e n t l y w i t h o u t h i m , l e a d s f i n a l l y to h i s P l a y e r Piano, then,  defeat.  examines the v a r i o u s programs men  c r e a t e to c o n f r o n t the r e a l i t y o f l i v i n g i n a w o r l d t h a t them few c o n s o l a t i o n s and l i t t l e sense o f p u r p o s e .  offers  The two  c h o i c e s w h i c h are a v a i l a b l e t o P a u l P r o t e u s are w i t h d r a w a l into fantasies  w h i c h support the i n d i v i d u a l i n a b a r r e n w o r l d  o 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 o f a b e t t e r As the s t r u g g l e m a n i f e s t s  itself  society.  i n the f i g u r e o f P r o t e u s ,  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 o f 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 o f human a f f a i r s .  I n The S i r e n s o f  T i t a n Vonnegut t a k e s up the theme o f the c o n f l i c t 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 and s o l v e the problem w h i c h f i n a l l y Proteus.  between to  clarify  causes the d e f e a t o f P a u l  A l t e r n a t i v e l y he l i k e d t o imagine cycles within cycles, either 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 , as i t were, i n w h i c h Makers 'swam' and c r e a t e d 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 o f many, Who i n t u r n et c e t e r a . 1  '•Night-Sea Journey" J ohn B a r t h  The d i s c o v e r y o f 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 t o mankind i n e f f e c t : 'What makes you t h i n k y o u ' r e g o i n g anywhere?' The S i r e n s 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 e n s o f T i t a n (1959), Vonnegut s second, n o v e l , bears 1  numerous a f f i n i t i e s to P l a y e r P i a n o and demonstrates  the  c o n t i n u a t i o n o f a concern w i t h the c u r i o u s ways i n w h i c h men o r g a n i z e t h e i r l i v e s and the r e s u l t individuals.  o f such o r g a n i z a t i o n upon  The two n o v e l s s a t i r i z e the f r e q u e n t l y  absurd  p a t t e r n s w h i c h human b e i n g s i n v e n t i n o r d e r t o g i v e 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 P i a n o examines s o c i a l and  p o l i t i c a l p a t t e r n s i n the c o n t e x t o f an automated  society of  the f u t u r e w h i l e The S i r e n s o f T i t a n , by means o f the fantasy  elaborate  o f p a n - g a l a c t i c t r a v e l , examines man's urge to  c e i v e meaning and o r d e r i n the  per-  universe.  I n the e a r l y p a r t o f the n o v e l Vonnegut i n f o r m s r e a d e r t h a t "What mankind hoped to l e a r n from i t s  the  outward  push was who was a c t u a l l y i n charge o f a l l c r e a t i o n , and what all  c r e a t i o n was a l l a b o u t . "  The r e s u l t o f man's e x p l o r a -  1  t i o n s i s the d i s c o v e r y t h a t "The b o u n t i e s o f space, infinite  outwardness,  and p o i n t l e s s d e a t h "  were t h r e e : (8).  of  empty h e r o i c s , low comedy,  Man seems i n c a p a b l e o f l i v i n g  37  38 w i t h o u t the a s s u r a n c e t h a 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 m y s t e r i o u s but p u r p o s e f u l end.  The r e s u l t  is  t h a t he throws h i m s e l f i n t o "a nightmare o f m e a n i n g l e s s n e s s w i t h o u t end * ( 8 ) a n d , where t h e r e i s n o t h i n g but 1  3  randomness,  he draws upon the U n i v e r s a l W i l l t o Become w h i c h "makes u n i v e r s e s out o f n o t h i n g n e s s — t h a t makes n o t h i n g n e s s i n s i s t upon becoming somethingness" ( 1 3 8 ) .  S a l o ' s UWTB i s the m a g i c a l  f o r c e w h i c h makes a k i n d o f r e a l i t y out o f l o n g i n g s o r imaginings.  Rumfoord a v a i l s h i m s e l f o f t h i s p r e c i o u s c r e a t i v e  source t o a s s i s t him i n h i s crusade t o make E a r t h a h a p p i e r place. A l t h o u g h the two n o v e l s d e v e l o p a s i m i l a r theme, are a number o f d i f f e r e n c e s between them. frequently,  d e s p i t e i t s humor, a r a t h e r  there  P l a y e r Piano i s  somber book c o n t a i n i n g  ominous w a r n i n g s o f a p r e d i c t a b l e f u t u r e d i s a s t e r .  Vonnegut's  "Foreword" t o P l a y e r P i a n o s e t s the tone f o r the n o v e l : " T h i s i s not a book about what i s , but a book about what could b e . . . . and  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  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 e n g i n e e r s ,  and I hope t h a t God w i l l  them t o h e l p us a l l s t a y a l i v e and f r e e . "  help  The m o r a l c o n c e r n  w h i c h Vonnegut e x p r e s s e s 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 t r e a t m e n t o f the  protagonist,  39 Paul Proteus, freedom.  a manager who i s s e r i o u s l y committed t o l i f e  and  On the o t h e r hand, i n The S i r e n s o f T i t a n Vonnegut  employs comic e x a g g e r a t i o n i n o r d e r t o 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 t o c r e a t e p a t t e r n s and to impose them on o t h e r human beings.  I n t h i s second n o v e l Vonnegut abandons a more r e a l i s t i c  a p p r o a c h , what one might c a l l almost an O r w e l l i a n c o n c e r n w i t h b u r e a u c r a c y and mechanism, i n f a v o r o f the r e s o u r c e s  of  fantasy. I n a d d i t i o n t o the f u l l e r r e a l i z a t i o n o f the  satiric  f o r c e o f comedy, Vonnegut b r i n g s t o 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 c h a r a c t e r s and t h e i r dilemmas.  Characters  and events from the f i r s t n o v e l r e c u r i n r e c o g n i z a b l e i n the second.  The use o f the Shah o f B r a t p u h r ,  a naive,  a l i e n o b s e r v e r who p o i n t s up the many c o n t r a d i c t i o n s absurdities  i n America, prefigures  forms  and  one o f the u s e s o f S a l o ,  the c u r i o u s o b s e r v e r o f E a r t h l i n g c i v i l i z a t i o n .  Similarly,  L a s h e r , i n h i s d e d i c a t i o n t o the t a s k o f 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 c o u n t e r p a r t  i n Winston N i l e s  Rumfoord, the i n s t i g a t o r o f a complete r e l i g i o u s 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  P r o t e u s b e a r s a marked resemblance  to Malachi Constant;  the h e i r t o a p o s i t i o n ofpprominence, effort  reformation  is  and w i t h o u t any g r e a t  succeeds a d m i r a b l y i n m a t t e r s o f 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 w e a l t h and the s e c u r i t y i t p r o v i d e s . A consequence o f t h e i r l o s s o f w e a l t h i s the m a n i p u l a t i o n o f P r o t e u s and Constant by a p e r s o n who w i s h e s t o o r g a n i z e beings i n t o a r b i t r a r y groups.  I n The S i r e n s o f T i t a n  the  c o n t r o l w h i c h i s e x e r c i s e d over Constant i s l e s s e v i d e n t t o him t h a n i t i s t o P r o t e u s i n P l a y e r P i a n o ; hence, difficulties  Constant's  i n u n d e r s t a n d i n g the n a t u r e o f h i s dilemma are  c o n s i d e r a b l y more c o m p l i c a t e d t h a n P r o t e u s ' .  Constant i s  m a n i p u l a t e d more r u t h l e s s l y t h a n i s P r o t e u s and f o r f a r s i g n i f i c a n t a reason.  less  The p e r s o n a l i d e n t i t y o f each man i s  s a c r i f i c e d to a l l o w f o r the a d o p t i o n o f a p u b l i c r o l e . J u s t as P r o t e u s , throughout the r e v o l u t i o n , seeks f o r some means o f escape from the competing systems, C o n s t a n t , out h i s l o n g , some r e l e a s e .  through-  c i r c u i t o u s j o u r n e y t h r o u g h Space, l o n g s f o r P r o t e u s and Constant share the d e s i r e  for  escape i n t o an i d e a l i z e d s t a t e f a r removed from the h a r s h r e a l i t y of t h e i r present  existence.  Constant d i f f e r s from P r o t e u s i n one i m p o r t a n t  respect.  A l t h o u g h he p o s s e s s e s enormous w e a 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 t o those l e s s f o r t u n a t e who shares none o f P r o t e u s '  than h i m s e l f .  Constant,  altruism, is totally self-  absorbed and determined t o p l e a s e no one but h i m s e l f .  His  outrageous b e h a v i o r i s f a r more c o m i c a l and i s , i n the end, f a r more human t h a n t h a t o f P r o t e u s .  41  P r i o r t o h i s l o s s o f w e a l t h Constant p o s s e s s e s a s e c r e t system, a l e g a c y from h i s f a t h e r , enormous f i n a n c i a l s u c c e s s .  w h i c h p r o v i d e s him w i t h  The system w h i c h N o e l Constant  bequeaths t o 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 o f chance i n the l i v e s o f men l i k e and P r o t e u s .  Constant  N o e l Constant c a s u a l l y and p l a y f u l l y  i n s p e c u l a t i n g up on p o s s i b l e correspondences arrangements o f l e t t e r s  between  i n a Gideon B i b l e and the  o f c e r t a i n s t o c k market l i s t i n g s .  engages certain  abbreviations  I t i s s i g n i f i c a n t that i n  a n o v e l i n w h i c h many p a t t e r n s based upon r e l i g i o u s paradigms are e v i d e n t , M a l a c h i ' s f a t h e r from the B i b l e a l s o .  s h o u l d draw h i s i n s p i r a t i o n  The d e s c r i p t i o n o f N o e l  Constant's  e v o l v i n g p a t t e r n p r o v i d e s an i r o n i c statement about "interpretation"  o f the B i b l e .  the  Any s t a t e m e n t s w h i c h the  Bible  makes are o f much l e s s c o n c e r n t o t h i s i n g e n i o u s model-maker t h a n the game o f a c r o s t i c s t h a t he can make o f them. Noel Constant's l e t t e r ,  the t r u e l e g a c y o f f a t h e r  w h i c h i s t o be opened o n l y i n the event o f t o t a l disaster,  r e v e a l s the u n c e r t a i n t y o f the f a t h e r  own good f o r t u n e .  to son,  financial regarding h i s  A l t h o u g h the system upon w h i c h h i s  i s founded i s tenuous and i m p r o b a b l e , N o e l Constant  success  cannot  a l l a y the s u s p i c i o n t h a t someone has i n t e r c e d e d on h i s b e h a l f and has d e s i g n a t e d t h a t he s h o u l d r i s e t o a l e v e l o f prominenceJ  42  I t l o o k e d as though somebody o r something wanted me t o own the whole p l a n e t even though I was as good as dead. I kept my eyes open f o r some k i n d o f s i g n a l t h a t would t e l l me what i t was a l l about but t h e r e w a s n ' 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 richer. (91) The l e t t e r goes on t o e x p l a i n t h a t a man n e v e r seeks  justi-  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 times o f a d v e r s i t y . Unlike Proteus,  Constant does not q u e s t i o n the  of h i s f a t h e r ' s  system, but i s c o n t e n t to use i t w i t h  f u l l assurance  authenticity the  that i t w i l l provide continuing success.  One c h a r a c t e r i s t i c t h a t M a l a c h i Constant i n h e r i t s h i s father  from  i s the f e e l i n g t h a t events are governed by some  m y s t e r i o u s f o r c e and t h a t human a c t i o n s are a p a r t o f some grand d e s i g n .  P o s s e s s e d of t h i s i n t u i t i o n , Constant  approaches  W i n s t o n 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 e n s a t i o n 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 fifty-nine  days on E a r t h .  ' • f a i t h f u l messenger,"  C o n s t a n t , whose name means  entertains  thoughts o f b o a r d i n g a  space s h i p t o Mars a t Rumfoord's i n v i t a t i o n , but  refuses  when he l e a r n s t h a t he i s not t o be the b e a r e r o f an i m p o r t a n t message. tagonists,  L i k e P r o t e u s and so many o f V o n n e g u t ' s l a t e r  pro-  he d e s i r e s t o p l a y an i m p o r t a n t r o l e i n a l a r g e  and dominant p a t t e r n .  H a v i n g emerged from a l i f e  g u i d e d by  43 one system w h i c h has f a i l e d ,  Constant l o o k s about  for  another. H i s d e s i r e t o p a r t i c i p a t e i n some p u r p o s e f u l d e s i g n i s u n d e r l i n e d by h i s c h o i c e o f a s u i t a b l e pseudonym w i t h w h i c h t o c o n c e a 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 o f 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 o f a p r o t a g o n i s t V o n n e g u t ' s n o v e l s w i t h the B i b l i c a l v o y a g e r .  in  Although  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 o f the c h o i c e by h i s c h a u f f e u r .  U n l i k e the  later  f i g u r e o f Jonah i n C a t ' s C r a d l e , Constant seems o n l y p a r t i a l l y aware o f the s i g n i f i c a n c e o f h i s a s s o c i a t i o n w i t h the  Biblical  messenger. W i n s t o n N i l e s Rumfoord i s a n o t h e r r e l u c t a n t messenger who, l i k e C o n s t a n t , b e l i e v e s t h a t he p o s s e s s e s the power t o c o n t r o l h i s own d e s t i n y .  He h a s , by an a c c i d e n 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. C o n s e q u e n t l y , and i n c o n t r a s t  t o C o n s t a n t , he sees a l l  moments i n Time as though they were a p a r t o f a u n i v e r s a l drama whose s c r i p t a l r e a d y has been p r e p a r e d . upon the i n e v i t a b i l i t y o f a l l e v e n t s ,  He i n s i s t s  none o f w h i c h can be 2  p r e v e n t e d by f o r e w a r n i n g the v i c t i m s . C o n s t a n t ' s own m i s e r a b l e s t a t e p a r a l l e l s t h a t o f Job  44  who a l s o , f o r reasons unknown t o h i m , was b e s e t w i t h m i s f o r t u n e s o f every v a r i e t y .  Each man i s i n f o r m e d o f h i s  newly a c q u i r e d d i s t r e s s by h i s l a s t and most  faithful  s e r v a n t who pays o f f the r e m a i n i n g s e r v a n t s and sends them on t h e i r way.  I n each case the u n f o r t u n a t e man i s l e f t  suffer alone.  But Constant a l s o d i f f e r s from J o b , who i s  a r i g h t e o u s man not d i s p o s e d t o the h e d o n i s t i c o f a man l i k e C o n s t a n t .  to  practices  There i s no i n d i c a t i o n , however,  t h a t Constant i s b e i n g p u n i s h e d f o r any e v i l he has committed, but t h e r e i s e v i d e n c e t h a t , l i k e J o b , i s being tested.  Constant  On more than one o c c a s i o n Rumfoord o f f e r s  h i n t s and s u g g e s t i o n s and i n v i t e s those o v e r whom he has c o n t r o l t o 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 G o d ' s t e s t i n g o f J o b , Rumfoord i n f o r m s C o n s t a n t , t h r o u g h one o f h i s many messages,  that " I t ' s  an i n t e l l i g e n c e t e s t '.  11  (195).  I n s e e k i n g t o f i n d the answers t o t h i s i n t e l l i g e n c e t e s t , Constant poses q u e s t i o n s s i m i l a r t o those w h i c h Job a s k s about the s i g n i f i c a n c e o f 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 t o u n d e r s t a n d the w o r k i n g s o f d i v i n e j u s t i c e w h i c h , seen i n human terms,  seems so u n j u s t .  Through a l l h i s m i s e r y  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 b e f o r e h i m , Job r e p e n t s :  " I had heard o f  45  thee by the h e a r i n g o f the e a r , therefore  but now my eye sees t h e e ;  I do d e s p i s e m y s e l f , and r e p e n t i n dust and ashes"  (Job 4 2 : 5 - 6 ) .  The answers t o C o n s t a n t ' s q u e s t i o n s come, not  out o f God's w h i r l w i n d , but out o f the mouth o f Rumfoord.  In  the absence o f a concerned God, Rumfoord has t a k e n i t upon h i m s e l f t o d e l i v e r Constant from h i s s t a t e o f a m b i g u i t y and t o prove t o him t h a t j u s t i c e i s o p e r a t i v e i n the u n i v e r s e . Rumfoord s apparent 1  c o n t r o l over present  h i s a b i l i t y t o prophesy f u t u r e  events and  ones make him l o o k s u s p i c i o u s l y  l i k e God ( a l t h o u g h he d e n i e s t h a t he has any c o n t a c t w i t h God), whose o m n i s c i e n c e 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 t h a 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 a n o t h e r p e r s o n .  Y e t 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 o f h i s crusade t o redeem the f a l l e n w o r l d and r e e s t a b l i s h the o r i g i n a l P a r a d i s e f o r man. Gelhorne and h i s a s s o c i a t e s , dreamed-of new w o r l d s . "  Rumfoord,  like  i s "the opener o f doors t o u n -  He succeeds i n p e r s u a d i n g Constant t o  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 o f C o n s t a n t ' s i n s e c u r i t y , the r e s u l t o f h i s r e c e n t l o s s o f w e a l t h . Constant's transport  t h r o u g h 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 a s p e c t o f systems o f 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 t o the r e a d e r t h a t such e l a b o r a t e p l a n s and d e s i g n s as the book p r e s e n t s  s h o u l d a l l be f o r no purpose  save t o p l e a s e some demented o r g a n i z e r who d e l i g h t s i n complex plots.  46  Each undertake ficant  o f t h e space  journeys which  Constant  s u p p o s e d l y f u r t h e r s R u m f o o r d ' s p l a n i n some  way.  The j o u r n e y t o M a r s r e s u l t s  Chrono who i s t h e p r o d u c t o f t h e r a p e  o f B e a t r i c e by C o n s t a n t .  journey to Mercury  f o r two y e a r s a d d s t o t h e drama  the  Earthlings  The  j o u r n e y t o E a r t h and a l l t h e e v e n t s w h i c h  are  part  The  expulsion also  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  o f Rumfoord's promise fits  since Messiah.  are staged there  of the a r r i v a l of a  saviour.  t h e p a t t e r n and f u l f i l l s the prophecy  that  Constant and B e a t r i c e would d i s c o v e r l o v e  time  on T i t a n .  so much m i s e r y  signi-  i n the b i r t h o f  His  of  i s forced to  f o r the f i r s t  The c o n c l u s i o n l e a v e s t h e r e a d e r w o n d e r i n g i s n e c e s s a r y t o produce  why  such a s m a l l measure  happiness. What Rumfoord w i s h e s  peace  and h a p p i n e s s  strife  that  social  g o a l i s worth  to replace  the s a c r i f i c e  The M a r t i a n t a s k f o r c e  army.  People  accept  almost any o f f e r recruits  homeless. resemble  the bloodshed  i t h a s known t h r o u g h t h e a g e s .  population.  These  t o i n i t i a t e on E a r t h i s a n e p o c h o f and i n t e r n e c i n e P o r Rumfoord,  of a minority  of the E a r t h ' s  i s ironically, a volunteer  disenchanted with t h e i r t o go and s e e k  situation their  willingly  f o r t u n e s elsewhere.  a r e the v a g r a n t s of the world, nameless  In their Constant.  eagerness  this  and  t o embrace a new way o f l i f e  A l l a r e t r a n s p o r t e d t o M a r s where, a s a  they  47 p a r t o f the grand d e s i g n , they are l o b o t o m i z e d and the sentient  p o r t i o n o f t h e i r minds i s r e p l a c e d w i t h antennae.  L i k e C o n s t a n t , t h e s e s h a p e l e s s b e i n g s are g i v e n new identities.  C o n s t a n t ' s new n a m e — U n k — r e f l e c t s the p r i m i t i v e  c a l i b r e o f e x i s t e n c e on M a r s . The one endeavor w h i c h Constant n e v e r f o r s a k e s i s attempt t o pose c e r t a i n b a s i c q u e s t i o n s , w h i c h might l e a d t o the e s t a b l i s h m e n t  the answers  to  of h i s true i d e n t i t y  and h i s p r o p e r p l a c e i n the scheme o f t h i n g s .  Like Proteus,  Constant l o s e s an i d e n t i t y w h i c h i s o r i g i n a l l y tenuous it  o n l y r e l i e s upon s o c i a l p o s i t i o n .  Constant* s f a t h e r , questions.  since  Men l i k e Rumfoord and  i n h i b i t a t t e m p t s t o answer t h e s e v i t a l  The p a t t e r n s they b u i l d impose i d e n t i t i e s and  do not seek t o o f f e r a s s i s t a n c e authentic,  the  identities.  i n d i s c o v e r i n g other,  Rumfoord, l i k e L a s h e r before h i m ,  has a penchant f o r symbolism and p r e f e r s as symbols r a t h e r  more  than as p e r s o n s .  a l l h i s a f f a i r s on an a b s t r a c t  to t r e a t i n d i v i d u a l s  L i k e L a s h e r , he conducts  level.  He i s not o n l y one o f  the c r u e l e s t agents o f m i s f o r t u n e , but the r e c o r d e r o f 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 P o c k e t H i s t o r y o f M a r s : "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 t o shed o t h e r p e o p l e ' s b l o o d , and a p l a u s i b l e new r e l i g i o n t o i n t r o d u c e d u r i n g the b r i e f p e r i o d o f r e pentance and h o r r o r t h a t u s u a l l y f o l l o w s b l o o d s h e d . " (174)  48  J u s t as P r o t e u s i s f o r c e d to be the "fake M e s s i a h ' ' f o r L a s h e r and h i s c o - c o n s p i r a t o r s , r o l e i n w h i c h he, whim o f Rumfoord.  so Constant i s f o r c e d i n t o a s i m i l a r  c h a m e l e o n - l i k e , changes i d e n t i t i e s a t  the  Constant appears i n the n o v e l i n a more  s t u n n i n g a r r a y o f d i s g u i s e s than does P r o t e u s 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  t o a n o t h e r Constant r e t a i n s h i s d e s i r e to be f r e e the source o f w h i c h i s m y s t e r i o u s l y h i d d e n . "message"  planet  of c o n t r o l ,  As h i s p r i m i t i v e  t o h i m s e l f , w h i c h he h i d e s on M a r s , i n d i c a t e s ,  one has c o n t r o l over h i s b e h a v i o u r and can h u r t him a t  somewill.  However, Constant b e a r s i n h i s mind wherever he t r a v e l s a vague r e m i n i s c e n c e o f a p a r a d i s e  c o n j u r e d up by the memory o f  the t h r e e s i r e n s o f T i t a n he had once seen i n a p h o t o g r a p h . The t h r e e e n c h a n t r e s s e s r e p r e s e n t f o r Constant escape from i n v o l v e m e n t 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 p e a c e f u l w o r l d o f beauty and harmony.  The w o r l d Constant imagines has  t o do w i t h the p e r f e c t w o r l d Rumfoord w i s h e s to c r e a t e  less than  w i t h the vague d e s i r e s P r o t e u s has to escape from the i n e x o r a b l e movements o f s o c i e t y and h i s t o r y .  As Constant l o o k s down  the o i l y b a r r e l o f h i s r i f l e he sees the p a r a d i s e he l o n g s f o r , but w h i c h i s u n a t t a i n a b l e ing h i s part i n a larger Constant's  because o f the n e c e s s i t y o f p e r f o r m drama.  second d e s t i n a t i o n , M e r c u r y , appears t o  offer  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 M e r c u r y he i s t r e a t e d t o "a c r u e l and l o v e l y  illusion."  M e r c u r y , w h i c h i s i m m e d i a t e l y a t t r a c t i v e t o the b e h o l d e r but fatally  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 l a n e 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 o f d a y - w i t h o u t end and the c o l d hemisphere o f n i g h t - w i t h o u t - e n d t h a t makes Mercury s i n g " ( 1 8 4 ) . beautiful,  The o n l y i n h a b i t a n t s o f M e r c u r y are  t r a n s l u c e n t Harmoniums who l i v e an i d e a l  the  existence  n u r t u r i n g themselves £ > l e l y on the music t h e i r p l a n e t p r o v i d e s i n abundance.  These d e l i g h t f u l  c r e a t u r e s are p e r f e c t l y  adapted t o t h e i r s t r a n g e e n v i r o n m e n t .  However, when Unk and  h i s companion Boaz s t e p o u t s i d e the s h i p the h o s t i l e atmosphere b u r s t s t h e i r b l o o d v e s s e l s . U n k ' s f i r s t r e a c t i o n t o the c o l o r f u l landscape i s one o f 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 . t h a 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 l a c e where hopes c o u l d f l o u r i s h l i k e — . "  He b e l i e v e s "nameless  Unk cannot complete h i s  state-  ment because t h r o u g h h i s e x p e r i e n c e on Mars he has l o s t  the  a b i l i t y t o produce images o f beauty but he does r e t a i n a d e s i r e t o produce such images.  Unk's i n i t i a l  joy at  on Mercury v e r y q u i c k l y d i s s i p a t e s and j o y soon t u r n s  arriving to  anger. Boaz' b e h a v i o u r i s i n e v e r y we/a c o n t r a s t to U n k ' s .  50  B o a z , an o u t c a s t  on E a r t h , f i n d s acceptance among the Harmon-  iums who need h i s c a r e ,  o r so he b e l i e v e s .  He warns Unk, who  f r e q u e n t l y a t t e m p t s t o t e l l him the t r u t h about t h e i r t i o n , not t o " t r u t h me."  condi-  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 t o impinge upon h i s newly c r e a t e d w o r l d . L a t e r Unk succumbs t o 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 t h a t r e a l x t y i s overwhelming. U n k ' s r e t u r n t o E a r t h i s but another o f the many " c r u e l and l o v e l y i l l u s i o n s " t o w h i c h he i s s u b j e c t e d .  In h i s i g -  norance Unk b e l i e v e s t h a t he i s about t o be rewarded f o r h a v i n g s u f f e r e d so g r e a t l y .  H i s e v a l u a t i o n o f the  situation  p o i n t s up the a b s u r d i t y o f Rumfoord's massive campaign t o i n i t i a t e h a p p i n e s s through g u i l t .  Unk's naive b e l i e f  is  t h a t " W i t h 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 o n l y a good l i f e but a p e r f e c t Earth" (247). him t h a t l i f e  life  c o u l d be l i v e d on  But U n k ' s e x p e r i e n c e s on E a r t h q u i c k l y c o n v i n c e i s a t l e a s t as a b s u r d 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 .  I n 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 t o i n f o r m o f the n e c e s s i t y o f repentance,  the a d h e r e n t s o f Rumfoord's decree d r e s s  them-  s e l v e s i n r i d i c u l o u s costumes and encumber themselves w i t h bags o f l e a d shot and s l a b s o f i r o n .  In t h e i r passion for  f o r g i v e n e s 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 t h a t they a l l l i v e i n peace and The  happiness.  p a r a l l e l between Rumfoord's p l a n and  J o n a h i s an apt one,  way  the i n e f f a b l e Presence  E a r t h l i n g s cannot a c c e p t t h a t "Things f l y t h i s  and t h a t ... w i t h o r w i t h o u t messages.  no m i s t a k e ,  the Book of  f o r i t s e r v e s as an i r o n i c statement  about s u b m i s s i o n t o the w i l l of God, i n the V o i d .  f o r the U n i v e r s e  I t ' s chaos,  i s j u s t being born.  m o t i o n , and bangs you from h i t h e r t o yon" f o r symmetry and  (39).  the  Their love  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 p a t t e r n s no m a t t e r how might be.  S a l o , the p e r c e p t i v e o b s e r v e r  behaviour,  remarks t h a t "The  of E a r t h l i n g  i n the s k y — a s though t h a t b i g  eye were ravenous f o r e n t e r t a i n m e n t . g l u t t o n f o r great theater.  outrageous these  E a r t h l i n g s behaved a t a l l times  as though t h e r e were a b i g eye  The  The  b i g eye was  b i g eye was  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 .  a  i n d i f f e r e n t as t o  whether the E a r t h l i n g shows were comedy, t r a g e d y ,  farce,  I t s demand, w h i c h E a r t h l i n g s  found as i r r e s i s t i b l e as g r a v i t y , was  shows be g r e a t "  and  I t ' s the  g r e a t becoming t h a t makes the l i g h t and the heat and  apparently  can  that  the  (276).  E a r t h l i n g s , l o n g i n g t o h e a r a sound or see a s i g n somewhere i n the V o i d , s e i z e upon Rumfoord's message and  repent.  52 I n the Book o f Jonah the assumption i s t h a t God does e x i s t and t h a t Jonah i s c o n v e y i n g a message o f importance.  considerable  In Vonnegut's v e r s i o n i t i s apparent that  m e s s i a n i c r o l e o f Rumfoord i s o n l y a p a r o d y .  the  The c r e a t i o n  of a new w o r l d , a t l a s t p e a c e f u l and f i l l e d w i t h good w i l l , is  rendered r i d i c u l o u s . M a l a c h i C o n s t a n t ' s m i s s i o n to E a r t h i s f u r t h e r  by another B i b l i c a l p a r a l l e l . Jonah,  clarified  J u s t as Constant i s a modern  j o u r n e y i n g somewhat r e l u c t a n t l y t o 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 o f the t w e l v e m i n o r p r o p h e t s  o f 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 b o t h i r o n i c and r e v e a l i n g . the I s r a e l i t e s  M a l a c h i ' s m i s s i o n to  c o n t a i n e d i n the Book o f M a l a c h i was f o r  purpose o f r e - k i n d l i n g i n them a d e s i r e t o p r a c t i c e  the  their  faith. The community's c o n d i t i o n was g e n e r a l l y wretched. The hopes a r o u s e d i n the people by the m e s s i a n i c - t y p e promises connected w i t h the r e - e s t a b l i s h m e n t o f the s a n c t u a r y 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 c a r e l e s s . M a l a c h i t r i e d t o arouse the people to r e - d e d i c a t e themselves to their religion. A d v o c a t i n g the r e s t o r a t i o n o f Temple r i t u a l , he emphasized t h a t i n n e r commitment must accompany religious rites. L i k e the o t h e r p r o p h e t s , M a l a c h i a s s e r t s the b e l i e f t h a t t h e r e w i l l be a "day o f the L o r d ' ' when I s r a e l w i l l be p u r i f i e d by G o d ' s judgment and a s a v i n g remnant w i l l s u r v i v e to w i t n e s s the m e s s i a n i c era. 4  53  M a l a c h i s i n s i s t e n c e upon the n e c e s s i t y o f " i n n e r commitment" 1  accompanying r e l i g i o u s r i t e s c o n t r a s t s w i t h Rumfoord s emphasis 1  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 o f the r a c e and i s o n l y too w i l l i n g t o s a c r i f i c e a g r e a t number of people so t h a t the " s a v i n g remnant" may survive.  Rumfoord's grand d e s i g n , the Church o f God the U t t e r l y  Indifferent,  r i v a l s and the most e l a b o r a t e d e s i g n s produced by  the human i m a g i n a t i o n .  As a d e v i c e f o r l e a r n i n g something about  human n a t u r e i t i s v a l u a b l e , and i t i s i n t h i s way t h a 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 t o govern human e x i s t e n c e i t i s t y r a n n i c a l . I n the course o f h i s b r i e f appearance  on E a r t h M a l a c h i  C o n s t a n t ' s a c t i o n s p a r a l l e l numerous e p i s o d e s r e c o u n t e d i n the Book of M a l a c h i . the d o u b t i n g m i n d .  I n the B i b l e M a l a c h i a d d r e s s e s h i m s e l f  to  Men ask how i t i s t h a t the good s u f f e r  w h i l e the e v i l p r o s p e r : ^ " y o u r words have been s t o u t a g a i n s t me, says the LORD. Y e t you say, 'How have we spoken a g a i n s t t h e e ? ' You have s a i d , • I t i s v a i n t o serve God. What i s the good o f our k e e p i n g h i s charge or o f w a l k i n g as i n mourning b e f o r e the LORD o f h o s t s ? H e n c e f o r t h we deem the a r r o g a n t b l e s s e d ; e v i l d o e r s not o n l y p r o s p e r but when they put God t o the t e s t t h e y escape 1" Malachi 2 : 1 3  54 M a l a c h i C o n s t a n t ' s e x p e r i e n c e a t the hands o f Rumfoord i s p r o o f t h a t e v i l d o e r s do not escape punishment. of fortunes, novel,  I n a sudden r e v e r s a l  w h i c h i s so c h a r a c t e r i s t i c o f events i n t h i s  Constant i s t r a n s f o r m e d from s a v i o u r t o s i n n e r , and  h i s banishment i s f i n a l p r o o f o f the j u s t i c e o f Rumfoord's religion. The B i b l i c a l p r o p h e t ' s messages p a r a l l e l C o n s t a n t ' s messages to the mobs who g a t h e r t o see h i m . p e o p l e to be f a i t h f u l  He e x h o r t s a l l  t o God and t o one a n o t h e r .  The message  t o the I s r a e l i t e s mentions m a r r i a g e s p e c i f i c a l l y and warns a g a i n s t the p r e v a l e n t h a b i t o f i n c o n s t a n c y among the people.  chosen  "So take heed t o 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 t o the w i f e o f 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 " ( M a l a c h i 2:15). Vonnegut seems t o suggest  t h r o u g h the use o f the  p a r a l l e l w i t h the B i b l i c a l prophet t h a t M a l a c h i  Constant's  quest f o r the meaning o f "what a l l c r e a t i o n was a l l about" i n e x t r i c a b l y connected w i t h the f a t e  is  of h i s w i f e and c h i l d .  Constant i s g u i l t y o f i n c o n s t a n c y , 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 t r e a t m e n t o f B e a t r i c e aboard the c r a f t on i t s way t o M a r s .  space  Throughout the n o v e l Constant l o n g s  t o 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 t h a t he can take them away t o a p l a c e where they can l i v e i n peace.  55  A number o f impediments p r e v e n t Constant from s e c u r i n g B e a t r i c e f o r s e v e r a l y e a r s and, when he f i n a l l y does he must w a i t u n t i l one y e a r p r i o r t o t h e i r deaths before they l e a r n t o l o v e one a n o t h e r .  I t i s c l e a r from t h e i r b e h a v i o u r on  Tralfamadore t h a t they must f i r s t l e a r n t o r e s p e c t another's  one  s e p a r a t e n e s s , and dreams of the w o r l d , b e f o r e  can accept one a n o t h e r . l o n g and d i f f i c u l t  they  The p a t h to r e c o n c i l i a t i o n i s a  one because each o f the p a r t n e r s  i s forced  t o p l a y a r o l e i n a drama w h i c h overshadows h i s p e r s o n a l n e e d s . They have each been e n l i s t e d i n the s e r v i c e o f humanity and must p l a y t h e i r e x p i a t o r y p a r t s i n the drama w h i c h i s d e s i g n e d t o fuse a l l human b e i n g s i n t o one homogeneous  group.  On T r a l f a m a d o r e , where the major p a r t i c i p a n t s i n the p a t t e r n s are brought t o g e t h e r f o r the l a s t t i m e , i t i s  finally  r e v e a l e d t h a t Rumfoord, the m a n i p u l a t o r o f so many, i s h i m s e l f the v i c t i m o f m a n i p u l a t i o n by a f o r c e beyond h i s c o n t r o l . attempt t o 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  His  every  major event i n w o r l d h i s t o r y , a s m a l l p a r t o f a l a r g e p l a n t o a s s i s t i n the d e l i v e r y o f a m i n o r replacement p a r t f o r T r a l f a m a d o r i a n space c r a f t .  the  The s e r i o u s n e s s w i t h w h i c h human  b e i n g s undertake the c o n s t r u c t i o n o f e l a b o r a t e models and systems i s r e v e a l e d as a p a r t o f a cosmic j o k e .  Robert Scholes  p o i n t s out t h a t " T h i s n o v e l s u g g e s t s t h a t the joke i s on us  56 e v e r y time we a t t r i b u t e  purpose or meaning t h a t s u i t s us t o  t h i n g s w h i c h are e i t h e r a c c i d e n t a l , o r possessed o f purpose and meaning q u i t e d i f f e r e n t from those we would s u p p l y . it  d o e s n ' t m a t t e r w h i c h o f t h e s e m i s t a k e s we make."  And Salo,  n o t C o n s t a n t , 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 o f d e l i v e r i n g h i s message,  a  secret  correspondence between Tralfamadore and whoever S a l o might encounter a t the f a r reaches  o f the U n i v e r s e .  Salo's mission  i s t o t r a v e l from "one r i m o f the U n i v e r s e t o the  other"  b e a r i n g a message whose c o n t e n t i s a s i n g l e d o t , the T r a l f a m a 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 o f the  triviality  o f t h i s message comes as a s u r p r i s e even t o S a l o who i s f a c e d w i t h a dilemma.  H a v i n g i n v e s t e d so much time and e f f o r t  the d e l i v e r y o f t h i s message, mission.  in  he i s r e l u c t a n t t o g i v e up h i s  Vonnegut seems t o suggest t h a t the d e s i r e t o  f o r the answers t o i n s o l u b l e q u e s t i o n s p e r s i s t s ,  search  even though  the s e a r c h i s doomed. C o n s t a n t ' s f i n a l w i s h i s t o be r e t u r n e d 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 C o n s t a n t ' s d e c i s i o n t o  r e t u r n t o the p l a c e w h i c h has been the source of so many o f h i s misfortunes,  and who knows a l l too w e l l t h a t more t h a n  h a r s h weather i s i n h o s p i t a b l e t o the aged and h e l p l e s s , t o induce i n Constant an i l l u s i o n .  the  decides  The v i s i o n w h i c h Constant  57  i s g r a n t e d a t the end o f 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 r o v i d e s him w i t h the s a t i s f a c t i o n t h a t he has spent major p a r t o f h i s l i f e  seeking.  Constant's desire for  u n i o n w i t h h i s w i f e and h i s b e s t f r i e n d ,  re-  Stony S t e v e n s o n , and  h i s d e s i r e t o d e p a r t t o a c o u n t r y i n w h i c h they can l i v e out i n t e r f e r e n c e from anyone, i s g r a n t e d i r o n i c a l l y , the moment o f d e a t h .  with-  only  at  C o n s t a n t , a man who has been used r u t h -  l e s s l y and whose p e r s o n a l needs have been r e p e a t e d l y f i c e d t o l a r g e r needs, has a f i n a l  sacri-  j o k e p l a y e d upon h i m .  f i n a l v i s i o n i s m e r e l y an i l l u s i o n , harshness  the  The  but i n the f a c e o f the  o f r e a l i t y , t h e r e i s no a l t e r n a t i v e f o r a man who  seeks t o have done w i t h the m i s e r y o f l i v i n g . emphasizes t h i s p o i n t when, i n the f i n a l  Vonnegut  scene o f the n o v e l ,  C o n s t a n t ' s q u i e t r e v e r i e i s c o u n t e r p o i n t e d by the sounds coming from the nearby t r o u b l e d s l e e p e r . s l e e p o f the man i n the b u i l d i n g ,  I n c o n t r a s t t o the  restless  Constant's reverie i s 8  peaceful.  He i s a l l o w e d t o ''Dream o t h e r dreams, and b e t t e r . "  The c o n f l i c t between the w o r l d o f p p r i v a t e dreams and a m b i t i o n s and the w o r l d o f p u b l i c o b l i g a t i o n s w h i c h Vonnegut first  began to d e v e l o p i n P l a y e r P i a n o i s , t h e n , developed  f u r t h e r i n The S i r e n s o f T i t a n .  N e i t h e r P r o t e u s n o r Constant  i s a b l e t o 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 . who s a c r i f i c e s h i m s e l f t o a p u b l i c cause,  Proteus,  i s f o r c e d i n the  end to s u r r e n d e r h i m s e l f c o m p l e t e l y t o p u b l i c  pressure.  58  C o n s t a n t , whose l i f e  i s spent as a p u b l i c f i g u r e ,  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 clusions i s particularly  happiness.  satisfying.  Neither  a  life.  con-  I n the n o v e l w h i c h  f o l l o w s — Mother N i g h t — Vonnegut examines the o f l i v i n g too p r i v a t e  surrenders  implications  P e o p l e who are r e c e p t i v e t o the i n f l u e n c e o f a r t cannot set too h i g h a v a l u e on i t as a source o f p l e a s u r e and c o n s o l a t i o n in life. N e v e r t h e l e s s the m i l d n a r c o s i s i n d u c e d i n us by a r t can do no more t h a n b r i n g about a t r a n s i e n t w i t h d r a w a l from the p r e s s u r e o f v i t a l needs, and i t i s n o t s t r o n g enough t o make us f o r g e t r e a l misery. O i v i l i z a t i o n and i t s D i s c o n t e n t s Sigmund F r e u d  ( K r a f t - Potapov) o f f e r s the o p i n i o n t h a t I was an a r d e n t N a z i , but t h a 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 i n c e 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 c o u l d not d i s t i n g u i s h between r e a l i t y and dreams. Mother N i g h t K u r t Vonnegut, J r .  CHAPTER  III  MOTHER NIGHT I n Mother N i g h t o r The C o n f e s s i o n s o f Howard W. Campbell, Jr.  (1961), Vonnegut a g a i n examines the  difficulties  encountered by a p e r s o n whose p u b l i c and p r i v a t e  identities  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 p e r s o n a l convictions. abhors e v i l ,  C a m p b e l l , a man who p r i v a t e l y admires good and i s a l s o a w e l l known N a z i p r o p a g a n d i s t whose  b e h a v i o u r i s so outrageous because i t i s so " o b s c e n e l y public." *  L i k e P r o t e u s and Constant before h i m , 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  social  i n v o l v e m e n t and h i s p u b l i c o b l i g a t i o n s as a member o f 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 p o s s e s s i o n o f c o n s i d e r a b l e w e a l t h and i n f l u e n c e . resembles the f i r s t two p r o t a g o n i s t s  He  i n h i s b e l i e f t h a t he  can c o n t r o l h i s own d e s t i n y and t h a t he can make d e c i s i o n s with predictable results.  L i k e P r o t e u s and C o n s t a n t ,  e v e n t u a l l y d i s c o v e r s t h a t he not o n l y has v e r y l i t t l e over h i s f a t e ,  he control  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 b e i n g m a n i p u l a t e d .  59  60 Campbell i s a man w i t h no p o l i t i c a l o r s o c i a l c o n v i c tions.  He i s , l i k e a l l o f V o n n e g u t ' 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 s e n s e . n o v e l ' s epigraph,  t a k e n from S i r W a l t e r S c o t t ,  i s an  express-  i o n o f 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 " n a t i v e "Prom wandering on a f o r e i g n s t r a n d . "  In contrast,  (44)  can  i n A m e r i c a , h i s b i r t h p l a c e , nor i n  Germany, h i s adopted homeland. l o c a t i o n resembles  land"  Campbell  who i s , by h i s own a d m i s s i o n , "a s t a t e l e s s p e r s o n , " f e e l a t home n e i t h e r  The  Campbell's f e e l i n g of d i s -  s i m i l a r f e e l i n g s o f P r o t e u s and  Constant.  I n P l a y e r P i a n o P r o t e u s i s used l i k e a p i n g pong b a l l i n a game p l a y e d by the two o p p o s i n g p o l i t i c a l f a c t i o n s .  In  The S i r e n s o f T i t a n Vonnegut employs the metaphor o f space t r a v e l to suggest the e x t e n t to w h i c h Constant i s moved about i n the b i z a r r e p l a n s o f Rumfoord and S a l o . V o n n e g u t ' s a d o p t i o n o f the t e c h n i q u e o f " e d i t i n g "  the  C o n f e s s i o n s o f Howard Campbell i s evidence o f h i s g r o w i n g awareness o f the problems encountered  by a w r i t e r who w i s h e s 2  t o convey e x p e r i e n c e s  t h r o u g h the medium o f  V o n n e g u t s wry E d i t o r ' s Note makes r e f e r e n c e 1  a b l e " l i e s " t h a t a r e a d e r w i l l encounter The l i e s are the r e s u l t artist,  fiction. t o the  i n the  excus-  Confessions.  o f t h e i r h a v i n g been w r i t t e n by an  one d i s p o s e d to communicating t r u t h by means o f  61  seeming u n t r u t h s .  I n the f i r s t two n o v e l s Vonnegut h i m s e l f  l i e s q u i t e c o n s c i o u s l y i n an e f f o r t truths.  to transmit  certain  I n Mother N i g h t he q u i t e f a c e t i o u s l y p a r o d i e s  the  r o l e o f 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 " d u t i e s as an e d i t o r are i n no sense p o l e m i c .  They a r e  t o pass on, i n the most s a t i s f a c t o r y s t y l e , the o f Campbell"  (ix-x).  simply  confessions  5  V o n n e g u t ' 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 from h i s p r o t a g o n i s t t o m a i n t a i n a c r i t i c a l vantage  distance point,  w h i l e a t the same time i t a l l o w s him t o i d e n t i f y w i t h Campbell.  Campbell i s the f i r s t o f V o n n e g u t ' s  protagonists  who i s a w r i t e r and Mother N i g h t i s the f i r s t n o v e l w h i c h i n t r o d u c e s the t a s k o f w r i t i n g as a major theme. n o v e l s which f o l l o w d e a l w i t h some a s p e c t  A l l o f the  o f w r i t i n g and a l l  the r e m a i n i n g p r o t a g o n i s t s , w i t h the e x c e p t i o n o f 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 p a t t e r n s w h i c h he o n l y p a r t i a l l y understands  and e n c o u n t e r s numerous d i f f i c u l t i e s  the f a c t s from the apparent  f a c t s or f i c t i o n s .  in  separating  Vonnegut s 1  n o v e l s are l i k e C a m p b e l l ' s C o n f e s s i o n s , a t t e m p t s t o " s e p a r a t e the r e a l from the f a k e " ( 5 3 ) .  There are many people i n the  n o v e l who c l a i m t o be i n p o s s e s s i o n o f the t r u t h and who a c t upon t h e i r assumptions when, i n r e a l i t y , most people m e r e l y  62  i n v e n t 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 Vonnegut  actions.  shares w i t h Campbell a d i s t r u s t of such models.  In  Mother N i g h t , as i n The S i r e n s of T i t a n , t h e r e 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 a l o n g to the Germans and to the A l l i e s are as c o n f u s i n g as the numerous c o n f l i c t i n g messages which are d e l i v e r e d to him from such e c c e n t r i c s as the Reverend Jones and Bernard V. O'Hare.  A f t e r a l l the messages have  been d e l i v e r e d and a l l the designs completed, man left  is still  to f a c e the fundamental problem of e x i s t i n g i n a world  i n which unhappiness, p a i n , and death are the norms. As a w r i t e r , Campbell has no i n t e r e s t i n p o l i t i c s or war.  H i s p l a y s , which are a l l m e d i e v a l romances,  p o l i t i c a l as " c h o c o l a t e e c l a i r s "  (37).  are as  The world which he  c r e a t e s through a r t i s "a world elsewhere," and t h i s w o r l d i s complicated by none of the contemporary problems of Europe or America.  s o c i a l or p o l i t i c a l  L i k e the r e s t of h i s works,  h i s d i a r y , Memoirs of a Polygamous Casanova,  c o n t a i n s "not  one word i n i t to i n d i c a t e even the century or the c o n t i n e n t of i t s o r i g i n "  (99).  The a l t e r n a t e world which  c r e a t e s f o r h i m s e l f and h i s w i f e i s r o m a n t i c a l l y  Campbell beautiful  and, seemingly, i n c a p a b l e of b e i n g a f f e c t e d by e x t e r n a l  63 reality. rustic three  I t resembles  r e t r e a t , of Constant's paradise s i r e n s of T i t a n , of the cavern  retreat  plots  zoo w h i c h B i l l y  of K i l g o r e Trout's  plays provide plays,  morals:  Pilgrim visits.  novels,  world."  e v i l . . . . a n d t h a t you  i n romance" ( 4 1 ) . Campbell i s a playwright  and t h e a r t w h i c h g i v e s no p l a c e  anyone b u t t h e m s e l v e s .  belief  expression  i n their  I t was g o i n g gone mad  could  and h i s w i f e i s  i s i n h i s w i f e and to t h e i r  perfect  s e l f - c r e a t e d world f o r  His fourth play,  Two", was " t o be a b o u t t h e l o v e my w i f e  world  hospitable  The p l a y s r e v e a l " T h a t y o u a d m i r e p u r e h e a r t s and  They a l l o w  other.  Like the  a s George K r a f t p o i n t s o u t , a r e n o t w i t h o u t  a n a c t r e s s and C a m p b e l l ' s o n l y  love.  and o f t h e  the p l o t s o f Campbell's  " f a n t a s i e s o f an impossibly  Significantly,  himself  i n h a b i t e d by t h e  i n w h i c h J o n a h and Mona  h e r o e s . . . . T h a t y o u l o v e good and h a t e believe  of Proteus*  from the d e s t r u c t i o n of a crazed world,  Tralfamadorian  His  the s h e l t e r e d world  entitled  "Nation  and I h a d f o r e a c h  t o show how a p a i r o f l o v e r s i n a s u r v i v e by b e i n g  composed o f t h e m s e l v e s —  loyal  to a nation  a n a t i o n o f two" ( 3 7 ) .  C a m p b e l l b e l i e v e s t h a t he c a n s u c c e s s f u l l y s u p p o r t identities,  one p r i v a t e and one p u b l i c .  serving the Nazis  of  as a propagandist  He f e e l s  two  t h a t by  and b r o a d c a s t e r  he  64  fulfills  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 l a y s he proves to h i m s e l f t h a t h i s p r i v a t e w o r l d i n t a c t and s e c u r e .  is  S i n c e Campbell has no attachment to any  i d e o l o g y or s o c i a l system, he m e r e l y i n v e n t s m a t e r i a l w h i c h p l e a s e s h i s s u p e r i o r s and a l l o w s him to e x i s t s a f e l y . v i e w s a l l h i s a c t i v i t i e s as a p r o p a g a n d i s t force.  He  as a t o u r de  When f i r s t approached by W i r t a n e n , Campbell  m i s t a k e n l y b e l i e v e s t h a 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 p a r t i n a p l a y : As a spy o f the s o r t he d e s c r i b e d , I would have an o p p o r t u n i t y 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 o f a N a z i , i n s i d e and o u t . And I d i d f o o l e v e r y b o d y . 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 a d m i r a b l y 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 o u t " ,  and i n submerging h i s own p e r s o n a l i t y ,  t h a t he becomes h i s p e r s o n a .  He does not r e c o g n i z e u n t i l  i s too l a t e t h a t "We are what we p r e t e n d to be, be c a r e f u l about what we p r e t e n d to be"  it  so we must  (v).  Because Campbell has no i d e o l o g y o f 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 s e 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 r e v i o u s n o v e l s , p a r t i c u l a r l y The S i r e n s o f T i t a n ,  65 Campbell i s e n l i s t e d as a double agent and i s f o r c e d t o p l a y a p a r t i n a h i g h l y s e c r e t drama.  Campbell i s asked t o d e l i v e r  v i t a l i n f o r m a t i o n t o t h e A l l i e s t h r o u g h a s e r i e s o f pauses and stutters.  L i k e C o n s t a n t , he i s t h e b e a r e r o f a message whose  c o n t e n t s a r e unknown t o him. The messages w h i c h Campbell d e l i v e r s a r e i m p o r t a n t t o t h e A l l i e s , b u t they a r e e q u a l l y i m p o r t a n t t o t h e Germans.  The r e s u l t i s t h a t 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 t h e A l l i e s ' need f o r secret  information.  Campbell d i s c o v e r s t h a t one cannot be c e r t a i n t h a t one i s u n d e r s t o o d i n t h e manner one i n t e n d s .  He cannot u n d e r s t a n d  why so many people were so w i l l i n g t o b e l i e v e what he had t o say: I had hoped as a b r o a d c a s t e r , t o be merely l u d i c r o u s , but t h i s i s a hard w o r l d t o be l u d i c r o u s i n , w i t h so many human b e i n g s so r e l u c t a n t t o l a u g h , so i n c a p a b l e o f thought, so eager t o b e l i e v e and s n a r l and h a t e . So many people wanted t o 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 t o every b r o a d c a s t f o r any h i n t t h a t h i s s o n - i n - l a w i s an agent f o r t h e A l l i e s . a f t e r l i s t e n i n g t o numerous b r o a d c a s t s ,  H i s conclusion  most o f w h i c h convey  66 s e c r e t i n f o r m a t i o n to the A l l i e s ,  i s t h a t no amount of damage  c o u l d he done by Campbell to o f f s e t the good he has done f o r the N a z i cause.  On the other hand, F r a n k l i n Roosevelt,  Campbell's most f r e q u e n t t a r g e t f o r c r i t i c i s m , devoted l i s t e n e r . v i r u l e n t propaganda  i s h i s most  He undoubtedly b e l i e v e s that  whatever  Campbell i s s u e s cannot o f f s e t the b e n e f i t s  of h i s r e p o r t s . The r e s u l t of such p r e s s u r e 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 a d i v i s i o n of the s e l f i n t o opposing s i d e s .  schizpphrenia,  Campbell's  s c h i z o p h r e n i a , which m a n i f e s t s i t s e l f i n a s e p a r a t i o n of p u b l i c and p r i v a t e s e l v e s , resembles the c o n d i t i o n of E l i o t Rosewater.  He f e e l s s t r o n g l y t h a t h i s i d e n t i t y r e s i d e s i n  his private self.  He and h i s w i f e are capable even of speak-  i n g i n p u b l i c i n v o i c e s never used or evaluated i n t h e i r private  lives: 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 s o v e r e i g n t e r r i t o r y of our n a t i o n of two, we t a l k e d l i k e the p a t r i o t i c l u n a t i c s a l l around us. (44)  The s p l i t w i t h i n Campbell i s symptomatic  of an  illness  w i t h i n h i s s o c i e t y , as Campbell suggests i n h i s d e c i s i o n to r e - d e d i c a t e h i s book:  67  I would p r e f e r t o d e d i c a t e i t to one f a m i l i a r p e r s o n , male o r female, w i d e l y known to have done e v i l w h i l e s a y i n g to h i m s e l f , "A v e r y good me, the r e a l me, a me made i n heaven, i s h i d d e n deep i n s i d e . " ( x i i ) The p e r s o n he d e c i d e s to r e - d e d i c a t e a man c o n v i n c e d t h a t h i s a r t ion,  the book to i s h i m s e l f ,  served good, and t h a t , by  extens-  the r e a l Campbell s e r v e d good, w h i l e as a p u b l i c f i g u r e  he s e r v e d e v i l .  The book c o u l d e a s i l y have been d e d i c a t e d  to  a number o f o t h e r p e o p l e , a l l s i m i l a r l y c o n v i n c e d t h a t they are s e r v i n g good.  N e a r l y every p e r s o n i n the n o v e l i s  of a d u a l p e r s o n a l i t y .  too  possessed  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 r e f e r e n c e  t o the s i d e he i s o n .  Campbell  i s the o n l y one who does not have such a c o n v i c t i o n . c o n s i d e r s h i s r o l e as a p r o p a g a n d i s t he r e f l e c t s : h a r d l y deny t h a t I s a i d them.  When he  " I can  A l l I can say i s t h a t I d i d n ' t  b e l i e v e them, t h a t I knew f u l l w e l l what i g n o r a n t ,  destructive,  o b s c e n e l y j o c u l a r t h i n g s I was s a y i n g " ( 1 3 3 ) . 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 t h e y are d o i n g i n the w a r .  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 o v e r l o o k s i m p l e , b a s i c  truths  and so s u f f e r no g u i l t as a r e s u l t o f 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 d o .  Such an  68 a b i l i t y t o o v e r l o o k 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 J o n e s , F a t h e r K e e l e y ,  Vice-  Bundesfueher K r a p p t a u e r and the B l a c k F u e h r e r t o e x i s t together  i n the same h o u s e h o l d .  cannot o v e r l o o k any p e r t i n e n t  C a m p b e l l , on the o t h e r hand,  facts:  ...I have n e v e r tampered w i t h a s i n g l e t o o t h 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 b o r n w i t h o u t , t e e t h t h a t w i l l n e v e r grow. And o t h e r t e e t h 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 n e v e r have I w i l f u l l y d e s t r o y e d a t o o t h on a gear o f my t h i n k i n g machine. Never have I s a i d t o m y s e l f , " T h i s f a c t I can do w i t h o u t . " (163) C a m p b e l l ' s awareness  o f the i m p l i c a t i o n s o f h i s a c t i o n s  g i v e s him a f e e l i n g o f u n c e r t a i n t y and l a c k o f purpose w h i c h i s shared by none o f the people who serve the numerous each o f w h i c h c l a i m s t o be the a u t h e n t i c one.  causes,  Vonnegut's  c r i t i c i s m o f 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 t o speak by t u r n s i n t o n e s w h i c h suggest  s e l f - p i t y , i r o n y and u n d i s g u i s e d c a n d o r .  pretended t o be a N a z i agent, and he was one.  Campbell  The  consequences o f h i s i n v o l v e m e n t i n the N a z i cause make him c u l p a b l e f o r the c r i m e s w h i c h , as a p r o p a g a n d i s t , aged.  he e n c o u r -  On the o t h e r hand, Vonnegut i s aware o f the f a c t  that  69 c e r t a i n a c c i d e n t s o f b i r t h can b r i n g about g r e a t changes i n human d e s t i n y .  H i s own f e e l i n g i s t h a t " I f I ' d been born i n  Germany, I suppose I would have been a N a z i , bopping Jews and g y p s i e s and P o l e s around, l e a v i n g b o o t s s t i c k i n g out o f snowbanks, warming m y s e 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 "  (viii).  There i s no s o l u t i o n t o t h i s problem except i n the hope t h a t p e o p l e w i l l l e a r n t o p e n e t r a t e the l e v e l s o f d e c e p t i o n w h i c h p r e v e n t them from s e e i n g t h e i r t r u e m o t i v e s .  You are what  you say you a r e , Vonnegut c l a i m s , and i t i s e x c e e d i n g l y dangerous t o 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 .  This  p o i n t i s made q u i t e c l e a r by the example o f Arpad K o v a c s , one o f C a m p b e l l ' s a s s i g n e d guards i n the I s r a e l i p r i s o n . D u r i n g the war Kovacs masqueraded as an S . S . o f f i c e r i n r e a l i t y , he was a Jew.  while,  Kovacs p e r c e i v e s 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 t a k e s p r i d e i n h i s t o 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 .  ability  A similar  escape i s not open t o Campbell because h i s a c t i o n s as a N a z i p r o p a g a n d i s t were so " o b s c e n e l y p u b l i c " and because he can f i n d no a u t h e n t i c  cause w i t h w h i c h t o i d e n t i f y .  He i s  German n o r A m e r i c a n , so those who have a d e s i r e t o  neither  project  t h e i r own h a t r e d o r g r a t i t u d e upon some o b j e c t can e a s i l y use Campbell.  He may be i m p r i s o n e d d e s e r v e d l y because o f h i s  c r i m e s a g a i n s t humanity, but the s e l f - r i g h t e o u s n e s s  of  those  70  who seek t o p u n i s h 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 c r i m e s t h a n i n K o v a c s , who, by a c u r i o u s t u r n o f i s the j a i l e r and not the  fate,  prisoner.  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 o f the s o c i e t y i n w h i c h he l i v e s .  In t h i s respect  resembles n e a r l y a l l o f V o n n e g u t ' s p r o t a g o n i s t s , Malachi Constant.  but  chiefly  He s t a n d s as a p u b l i c image o f h i s  c i t i z e n s and as an i n d i c t m e n t o f t h e i r way o f l i f e .  he  fellow He l i v e s  i n a world i n which deception r a t h e r than honesty p r e v a i l s and i n w h i c h i t i s i m p o s s i b l e t o a s c e r t a i n w i t h any degree of a c c u r a c y whether a p e r s o n ' 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 t o h i s p e r s o n a l c o n v i c t i o n s . of Vonnegut's p r o t a g o n i s t s ,  L i k e so many  Campbell l i v e s i n a w o r l d i n  w h i c h 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 d i s g u i s e what they b e l i e v e t o be t h e i r r e a l s e l v e s .  to  Such  a defence a g a i n s t the f e a r o f b e i n g d i s c o v e r e d p e r m i t s  the  numerous double agents i n the n o v e l t o adopt r o l e s w h i c h 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 p r e t e n d s  t o be  always o t h e r t h a n they c l a i m i t becomes i m p o s s i b l e t o  trust  anyone o r t o 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 r e a t e s a f e e l i n g o f p a r a n o i a s i n c e no one i s sure who anyone e l s e i s .  I n such a s o c i e t y n o t h i n g i s  e v e r y t h i n g i s c a p a b l e o f d i s t o r t i o n and  substantial;  re-interpretation.  71 Messages  appear  meanings  and  an example as  that  he  wife's  inferences.  of  a double  i n abundance  such a  agent,  delivers.  situation.  is  unaware  At  one  death without  capable  of  plays,  poems  under  another  provide  even  with  the  were  collapses like  former  as  anyone  he  his  of  an  that  that  his  works  the  messages  news o f  his  statements  seizes  Campbell's  and p u b l i s h e s  translation is  to  most  operating  private  a nation  overwhelming  his  of  soldier  fantasies  from interference  finds  most  the  he,  are  i t .  translates of  even  transmits of  of  statements  contents  aware  The p u r p o s e  belief  times  A Russian  emotional  secure  he  a multiplicity  public  the  even  a n d he  responsibilities  Campbell's ideals  name.  of  being  that  and d i a r y ,  At  point,  distortion.  vicarious  carry  Campbell's  Campbell discovers are  but  by  the  are  to  burdened  external  private  them  reality.  thoughts  outside  capable  of  and  world distortion  else'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 got turned i n t o an expert 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 as the w o r l d has r a r e l y seen before.  (150)  He l e a r n s  that  just  as  Hitler  Gettysburg  Address,  so  the  distorting  them as  they  do  can respond  Russians so.  emotionally  can respond  to  his  to  the  works,  72  Campbell c o n t i n u e s to be the o b j e c t over w h i c h competing f a c t i o n s s t r u g g l e even a f t e r further  the w a r .  His private l i f e  is  exposed and used by h i s f r i e n d George K r a f t and h i s  wife's sister,  Resi Noth.  K r a f t , who i s the o r g a n i z e r o f a  R u s s i a n spy r i n g , masquerades as the widower and r e c l u s e New Y o r k e i t y . her s i s t e r ' s  in  R e s i , who i s a l s o a R u s s i a n a g e n t , assumes  i d e n t i t y i n an attempt t o f i n d a p l a c e f o r  s e l f i n Campbell's l i f e ,  l i k e everyone e l s e ,  her-  she i s an  agent o f d e c e p t i o n and h e r m i s s i o n i s not t o p a r t i c i p a t e any r e j u v e n a t i o n o f C a m p b e l l ' s l i f e but t o a s s i s t transportation  in  i n his  t o the S o v i e t U n i o n where he can be used  as  a p u b l i c example o f t h a t c o m p l i c i t y between the Germans and the Americans i n the w a r . The r e l a t i o n s h i p t h a t Campbell has w i t h George K r a f t and R e s i Noth p r o v i d e s 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 t e o f a f f a i r s v e r y s i m i l a r to t h a t enjoyed by Campbell p r i o r to the w a r .  C a m p b e l l ' s slow u n f o l d i n g reaches  the p o i n t a t v / h i c h he e n t e r t a i n s the p o s s i b i l i t y o f resuming h i s w r i t i n g once a g a i n .  He i s i n the f o r t u n a t e  p o s i t i o n of  b e i n g a b l e to r e - c a p t u r e  the e x p e r i e n c e o f an e a r l i e r  idyllic  r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h h i s w i f e and h i s b e s t f r i e n d H e i n z S c h i l d k n e c h t by drawing c l o s e to R e s i Noth and George Kraft.  W i t h the r e t u r n o f s t a b i l i t y to h i s l i f e Campbell  b e g i n s to t h i n k once more o f the r e - e s t a b l i s h m e n t  of h i s world.  73 He i s o f f e r e d the chance t o escape from the o b l i g a t i o n s o f l i v i n g i n a h i g h l y organized s o c i e t y . f i n a l l y agreed upon i s a f l i g h t  The p l a n which i s  t o some e x o t i c c l i m a t e ,  '•one of the warm p l a c e s p u r p o r t e d t o be Edens" ( 1 1 9 ) . T h i s dream o f escape t o some s i m p l e , p a s t o r a l s e t t i n g l o o k s back t o s i m i l a r  dreams by P r o t e u s 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  protagonists.  C a m p b e l l ' s dream v a n i s h e s under the p r e s s u r e  of r e a l i t y .  There can be no escape,  f o r t h e r e i s no one w i t h whom t o  share the dream.  simply plans to t r a n s p o r t  Kraft  to i n h o s p i t a b l e Russian c o u r t s . sacrifice his friend  Kraft  to an u n j u s t  Campbell  can m e r c i l e s s l y  t r i a l because he,  everyone e l s e i n the n o v e l , has developed a defense compassion and h o n e s t y .  like against  K r a f t i s not the widower and r e c l u s e  he c l a i m s t o be; n o r i s he the o r g a n i z e r o f a R u s s i a n espionage u n i t i n the U n i t e d S t a t e s 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 t h a t he i s no more i n c o n t r o l o f h i s t h a n anyone e l s e i s .  fate  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 A m e r i c a n a g e n t s ,  and so h i s t r i u m p h a l r e t u r n  t o R u s s i a w i l l b r i n g not a c c o l a d e s , but d e a t h .  Kraft  should  be h u m i l i a t e d and^crushed by h i s exposure t o r i d i c u l e and  O failure,  but he has developed a means o f escape by assuming  a r o l e w h i c h i s c o n c e a l e d by h i s p u b l i c a c t i v i t i e s as an espionage a g e n t :  74  K r a f t thought the s i t u a t i o n o v e r , and s c h i z o p h r e n i a r e s c u e d him n e a t l y . "None o f t h i s r e a l l y concerns me," he s a i d and his urbanity returned. "Why n o t , " s a i d the b o s s . "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 t h a 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  o f madness r e s u l t i n g from h i s extreme r e m o v a l 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 t h a t h i s r e t r e a t i n t o  world of a r t i s i n s u f f i c i e n t . his wife's l i f e , two".  the  Such a r e t r e a t c o u l d n o t  save  nor could i t preserve i n t a c t h i s " n a t i o n of  As a defence a g a i n s t  submersion i n a mad and c h a o t i c  w o r l d such a r e t r e a t has d i s a d v a n t a g e s as w e l l as A f t e r the w a r , t h i n k i n g o f y e t a n o t h e r escape,  advantages.  t h i s time  t h r o u g h morphine, Campbell r e f l e c t s : But t h e n I u n d e r s t o o d t h a t I was a l r e a d y 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 t o l e t my emotions be s t i r r e d by o n l y one t h i n g — my l o v e f o r H e l g a . This concentration o f my emotions on so s m a l l an a r e a 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 d e v i c e t o keep me from g o i n g i n s a n e d u r i n g the war, and had f i n a l l y become the permanent a x i s about w h i c h my thoughts r e v o l v e d . (47)  By s a v i n g h i m s e l f from madness,  Campbell has condemned h i m -  75  s e l f to s u f f e r from h i s f e e l i n g s o f g u i l t .  A l t h o u g h Campbell  l o n g s f o r some escape from the p r e s s u r e o f i n v o l v e m e n t i n s o c i e t y he d i s c o v e r s t h a t t h e r e can be no s u c c e s s f u l from h i s p u b l i c o b l i g a t i o n s . at possible paradises  He can o n l y l o o k from a  distance  such as the " l i t t l e Eden" (30) w h i c h  h i s New Y o r k apartment o v e r l o o k s . l e s s of the p a i n and m i s e r y o f l i f e  C h i l d r e n play there heedi n h i s purgatory.  s e v e r a l other of Vonnegut's p r o t a g o n i s t s , an i d y l l i c  escape  Like  Campbell l o n g s f o r  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 .  Instead  o f b e i n g o f f e r e d an o p p o r t u n i t y to remove h i m s e l f  t o an i d e a l s t a t e , Campbell i s condemned to l i v e i n a p u r g a t o r i a l s t a t e i n w h i c h no judgment i s passed upon h i m .  He i s  f o r c e d to b e a r h i s g u i l t and i s g i v e n no o p p o r t u n i t y to be t r i e d for h i s crimes.  W i t h the c o l l a p s e o f h i s " n a t i o n o f  two" Campbell i s d e p r i v e d o f a l l a t t a c h m e n t s .  As a " s t a t e -  l e s s p e r s o n " he has made no p r o v i s i o n s to e n t e r the w o r l d . By a c r u e l t u r n o f f a t e he i s f r e e d and a l l o w e d t o i n the w o r l d w i t h o u t b e i n g a p a r t o f i t .  live  He i s s i m p l y  i g n o r e d t o the p o i n t where i t i s safe and to resume the o f h i s own name.  use  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 t h a n a f i c t i o n , i n one o f the l a r g e s t  Campbell becomes a r e c l u s e  c i t i e s o f 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 c r i m e s are so " o b s c e n e l y p u b l i c . "  Campbell's g u i l t i s ,  however, no g r e a t e r than t h a t o f any o f the o t h e r i n the n o v e l .  characters  He has the s p e c i a l m i s f o r t u n e ' o f h a v i n g  r e c o r d e d h i s c r i m e s on tape and i n p r i n t .  The messages  w h i c h he d e l i v e r e d , however, were the messages o f o t h e r s . t h i s respect benefitted  In  C a m p b e l l ' s g u i l t i s shared by every p e r s o n who  i n some way from h i s b r o a d c a s t s .  Such persons  i n c l u d e not o n l y minor f u n c t i o n a r i e s l i k e Werner N o t h , crazed p a t r i o t s  l i k e the Reverend J o n e s , 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 e e d t h r o u g h the s e c r e t  intercession  o f W i r t a n e n and r e t u r n e d t o the "mainstream o f l i f e " he i s i n c a p a b l e o f movement.  (167)  He r e a l i z e s t h a t freedom  to  go anywhere means t h a t he has no freedom a t a l l s i n c e t h e r e i s nowhere f o r him to g o .  What had g o t t e n him t h r o u g h so  many y e a r s was a c u r i o u s ambivalence towards h i s f e l l o w ures,  but now even h i s c u r i o s i t y has l e f t h i m .  creat-  Without h i s  own c u r i o s i t y and a sense o f d i r e c t i o n p r o v i d e d . b y someone o t h e r than h i m s e l f , Campbell i s p a r a l y z e d . .  S t a n d i n g 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 l o n g by a p o l i c e m a n . I n c a p a b l e o f making p e r s o n a l d e c i s i o n s , he i s once a g a i n m a n i p u l a t e d by e x t e r n a l  forces.  C a m p b e l l ' s d e c i s i o n to s u r r e n d e r  to I s r a e l i  courts  77 r e s u l t s from h i s r e a l i z a t i o n t h a t complete freedom such as he has been g r a n t e d i s i n t o l e r a b l e . severe and d e c i s i v e punishment.  The Jews promise him  H i s i n i t i a l fear of being  judged becomes a f e a r o f not b e i n g j u d g e d . the g r a t i t u d e  He cannot  o f b i g o t s l i k e O'Hare o r l u n a t i c s l i k e  accept Jones  and h i s c o l l e a g u e s , and he can no l o n g e r l i v e w i t h the of the Jews p u r s u i n g h i m , so he s u r r e n d e r s  to the  hatred  Israeli  courts. Kraft's affadavit,  sent i n defence  l i k e C a m p b e l l ' s own s u b m i s s i o n s , f u r t h e r guilt.  of Campbell, i s , evidence o f h i s  "He o f f e r s the o p i n i o n t h a t I was an a r d e n t N a z i ,  but t h a 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 ,  since  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 c o u l d not d i s t i n g u i s h between r e a l i t y and dreams"  (189).  Wirtanen's l e t t e r  contains  the n e c e s s a r y i n f o r m a t i o n to b r i n g about C a m p b e l l ' s freedom. I f Campbell a c c e p t e d  w  irtanen's  o f f e r of a s s i s t a n c e  once more be r e t u r n e d to the "mainstream o f l i f e . "  he would He  would be a s s u r e d o f the p r a i s e o f those who had f o r m e r l y condemned h i m . their praise,  However, Campbell n e i t h e r deserves nor  desires  and he cannot bear the k i n d o f freedom such an  escape would p r o v i d e h i m .  He i s a " s t a t e l e s s p e r s o n " and  no c o u r t d e c i s i o n can ever a l t e r t h a t f a c t .  F i n a l l y , Campbell  e l e c t s t o be h i s own t r i b u n a l and i n the l a s t moments o f 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 o f the reasons f o r c o n t i n u i n g to  live.  C a m p b e l l ' s g e s t u r e i s one of r e n u n c i a t i o n .  He  refuses  to a c c e p t s o c i e t y ' s judgment because i t i s not a f a i r 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 w h i c h he n e v e r  actually participated.  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 d i s a p p e a r a n c e a b s o l u t e l y n o t h i n g to l i v e f o r . lessness,  one.  o f t h a t , he has  H i s g e s t u r e i s one o f hope-  f o r he cannot p a r t i c i p a t e  i n a w o r l d the m a j o r i t y  of whose members are s a t i s f i e d to "hate w i t h o u t  reservation"  (181) and t o i d e n t i f y themselves w i t h causes w h i c h p e r m i t them to exercise t h e i r capacity f o r c r e a t i n g misery.  On the  other  hand, he cannot l i v e s e c u r e l y i n a p r i v a t e w o r l d w h i c h attempt t o i g n o r e the r e a l i t i e s o f the e x t e r n a l w o r l d . too e x c l u s i v e l y upon the r e s o u r c e s  Campbell r e l i e  o f h i s " n a t i o n o f 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 R o s e w a t e r — r e l i e s upon h i s i n v o l v e m e n t w i t h s o c i e t y to the e x c l u s i o n o f h i s n a t i o n o f two C a m p b e 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 R o s e w a t e r s 1  too i n c l u s i v e .  Both men are d e f e a t e d  is  by t h e i r a t t e m p t s t o  l i v e v / i t h i n the b o u n d a r i e s o f the w o r l d s they  build.  Howard Campbell t a k e s h i s p l a c e as the t h i r d o f Vonnegut's protagonists  t o be defeated  i n h i s a t t e m p t s to  mediate between p u b l i c o b l i g a t i o n s and p e r s o n a l needs.  The  79  a l t e r n a t i v e s w h i c h face him are "both u n a c c e p t a b l e .  He cannot  l i v e c o m f o r t a b l y i n a c o r r u p t s o c i e t y , n o r 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 r o m a n t i c w o r l d . f a c e s a s i m i l a r dilemma because, protagonists,  I n C a t ' s Cradle  l i k e the t h r e e p r e v i o u s  he i s a Utopian dreamer who hopes t h a t the w o r l d  can become a more h o s p i t a b l e p l a c e w i t h i n w h i c h t o l i v e . i s aware, t o o , o f the many f a c t o r s w h i c h m i t i g a t e such a v i e w .  Jonah  He  against  I n t h i s n o v e l Vonnegut i n v e n t s the r e l i g i o n o f  Bokonon t o a s s i s t him i n h i s e x p l a n a t i o n o f the way i n w h i c h 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 responsibilities.  I am h o r r o r - s t r u c k a t t h i s a n t e m o s a i c , unsourced e x i s t e n c e o f the unspeakable t e r r o r s o f the w h a l e , w h i c h , h a v i n g been b e f o r e a l l t i m e , must needs e x i s t a f t e r a l l humane ages are o v e r . Moby-Dick Herman M e l v i l l e  Have you e n t e r e d the s t o r e h o u s e s o f the snow, o r have you seen the s t o r e h o u s e s o f the h a i l , w h i c h I have r e s e r v e d f o r the time o f t r o u b l e , f o r the day o f b a t t l e and war? What i s the way t o the p l a c e where the l i g h t is distributed, o r where the e a s t w i n d i s s c a t t e r e d upon the e a r t h ? Has the r a i n a f a t h e r , o r who has b e g o t t e n the drops o f dew? Prom whose womb d i d the drops o f i c e come f o r t h , and who has g i v e n b i r t h t o the h o a r f r o s t o f heaven? The w a t e r s become h a r d l i k e s t o n e , and the f a c e o f the deep i s f r o z e n . The Book o f Job  I mean t o examine a l l s t r o n g h i n t s as t o 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 . Oat's Cradle K u r t Vonnegut, J r .  CHAPTER IV CAT'S CRADLE The  absurd p a t t e r n s w h i c h men i n v e n t and then attempt  t o f o r c e o t h e r men t o 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 t h a n i n V o n n e g u t ' s f o u r t h n o v e l , C a t ' s C r a d l e (1963). The  i m a g i n a r y i s l a n d o f San L o r e n z o , a p o t e n t i a l e x o t i c  paradise,  p r o v i d e s the s e t t i n g f o r t h i s n o v e l .  The p e o p l e o f  San Lorenzo have no f i r m c o n v i c t i o n s o f t h e i r own, n o r do they have any defence a g a i n s t those who appear on the i s l a n d and try  t o 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 o f San  Lorenzo i s a h i s t o r y o f c o l o n i a l d o m i n a t i o n by the major m e r c a n t i l e powers of the w e s t e r n w o r l d .  Each o f t h e s e  countries  c l a i m e d the t i n y i s l a n d , but gave up a l l c l a i m s when c h a l l e n g e d by a n o t h e r n a t i o n .  The r e s i d u e 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 s y m b o l i z e the  two major p a t t e r n s o f w e s t e r n c i v i l i z a t i o n — r e l i g i o n and capitalism. The  San L o r e n z a n s are a p a t h e t i c  80  towards any f o r e i g n  81  domination of t h e i r i s l a n d . it  They a c c e p t each new system as  i s imposed upon them, a l t h o u g h they pay l i t t l e heed to  t h e o r i e s o f r e l i g i o n o r government.  T h e i r most p r e s s i n g c o n -  c e r n 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 a n y t h i n g t o s i g n i f i c a n t l y change the f a t e  o f the  San Lorenzans who seem t o be condemned f o r e v e r t o l i v e s o f p o v e r t y and  disease.  I t i s a g a i n s t t h i s p e c u l i a r backdrop t h a t Vonnegut has his characters,  most o f whom are A m e r i c a n s , p e r f o r m .  o f the c h a r a c t e r s  i n the n o v e l i s a t t r a c t e d  Each  t o San Lorenzo  f o r some r e a s o n and each b r i n g s w i t h him c e r t a i n p r e c o n c e p t i o n s o f how a s o c i e t y s h o u l d o p e r a t e .  San L o r e n z o i s  a p i e c e o f p u t t y out o f w h i c h those who have an  like  interest  can make whatever shape they w i s h . The shapes o r p a t t e r n s w h i c h people make are s y m b o l i z e d by the c a t ' s c r a d l e , a l a b y r i n t h o f s t r i n g w h i c h assumes a significant  shape i f i t i s p r o p e r l y m a n i p u l a t e d . . 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 r n t o t a n g l e s i f the makes a m i s t a k e .  person  The s t r i n g f i g u r e s a r e e x t r e m e l y f r a g i l e  and are e a s i l y d e s t r o y e d j u s t as those tenuous p a t t e r n s t h a t human b e i n g s c r e a t e are e a s i l y d e s t r o y e d . U s i n g the example o f t h i s c h i l d s game, Vonnegut examines 1  man's c u r i o s i t y about the presence o f a d e s i g n 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 H o e n i k k e r h o l d s t r i n g mazes up i n f r o n t o f t h e i r c h i l d r e n ' s f a c e s and i n v i t e them to see the d e s i g n i n the s t r i n g .  Some see the p a t t e r n w h i c h i s supposed to be  there; others,  l i k e l i t t l e Newt, b e l i e v e t h a t  c r a d l e i s n o t h i n g but a bunch o f X ' s between hands, X's...  n  A cat's  somebody's  and l i t t l e k i d s l o o k and l o o k and l o o k a t a l l those 0  ''And? ' 1  "No damn c a t ,  and no damn c r a d l e . "  may be no c a t and no c r a d l e , but most people are  There  1  intrigued  by the p o s s i b i l i t y t h a t w i t h i n the maze o f s t r i n g t h e r e 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  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 p a t t e r n s r e f l e c t s o f most people to p e r c e i v e meaning and o r d e r w i t h i n and w i t h i n the u n i v e r s e .  is  profusion the need society  Somewhere behind the forms o f  the  r e a l w o r l d t h e r e may l u r k the face o f God, and men o f a l l ages have been tempted to s e a r c h the l a b y r i n t h s o f the w o r l d f o r evidence t h a t He e x i s t s w i t h i n the p a t t e r n w h i c h seems to be i n e v i d e n c e . 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 involved 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 o f 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  o f the former n o v e 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 p r e s e n t mode o f e x i s t e n c e . life  His  i n New Y o r k 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 fashion:  83 "When I was a younger man—two w i v e s ago, 250,000 2 ago, 3,000 q u a r t s o f booze a g o . . . the p a t t e r n o f l i f e  1 1  (11).  cigarettes  Living within  i n A m e r i c a , Jonah f e e l s t h a t h i s  existence  i s p o i n t l e s s and, l i k e M a l a c h i C o n s t a n t , he seeks some meaningf u l course.  Jonah i s an i d e a l i s t who resembles P r o t e u s i n  h i s d e s i r e t o improve the l o t o f h i s f e l l o w man. wanderer who t r a v e l s , not t o the s t a r s , island.  He i s a  but t o a t i n y C a r r i b e a n  H i s s e l f - c o n s c i o u s a d o p t i o n o f the name J o n a h i n d i c -  a t e d h i s awareness o f h i s m y s t e r i o u s but i m p o r t a n t r o l e .  He  f e e l s t h a t "somebody o r something has compelled me to be c e r t a i n places at c e r t a i n times, without f a i l .  Conveyances  and m o t i v e s , both c o n v e n t i o n a l and b i z a r r e , have been p r o v i d e d " (11). Jonah 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 1  i n America i s  not w i t h o u t precedent  i n Vonnegut's other n o v e l s .  Jonah,  however, demonstrates  t h a t he i s aware o f a f u r t h e r  literary  precedent when, i m i t a t i o n of the c e l e b r a t e d opening o f M o b y - D i c k , he announces:  " C a l l me Jonah" ( 1 1 ) .  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 e x i s t e n c e 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 t h a t  h i s d e s t i n y w i l l somehow m a n i f e s t i t s e l f t r a v e l s proceed.  g r a d u a l l y as h i s  He overcomes the l a s t t r a c e s o f r e l u c t a n c e  84  when, upon s e e i n g h i s name on a v e r y o l d tombstone  in  M a r v i n B r e e d ' s shop, he c o n c l u d e s t h a t " P e c u l i a r t r a v e l s u g g e s t i o n s are d a n c i n g l e s s o n s from God" ( 5 0 ) . the n e c e s s i t y o f t r a v e l l i n g i n doubt,  He a c c e p t s  o f b e i n g always i n the  midst of confusion. S t a n d i n g " i n the m i d d e s t " , Jonah e l e c t s t o the course o f h i s k a r a s s ,  follow  a team w h i c h , Bokonon s a y s ,  does  G o d ' s w i l l w i t h o u 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 a t the b e g i n n i n g o f h i s book t h a t , w h i l e i t  is  not f o r b i d d e n t o t r y t o d i s c o v e r the l i m i t s o f a k a r a s s , one must be aware o f "the f o l l y o f p r e t e n d i n g to d i s c o v e r , to understand"  (13).  A t the same t i m e , he announces  that  " I i n t e n d i n t h i s book t o i n c l u d e as many members o f my k a r a s s as p o s s i b l e , and I mean t o examine a l l s t r o n g h i n t s as t o 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 "  (13).  J o n a h ' s d e c i s i o n t o f o l l o w the d i r e c t i o n set by h i s k a r a s s p a r a l l e l s I s h m a e l ' s d e c i s i o n t o s h i p aboard the Pequod: Though I cannot t e l l why i t was e x a c t l y t h a t those s t a g e managers, the P a t e s , put me down f o r t h i s shabby p a r t o f a w h a l i n g voyage, when o t h e r s were set down f o r m a g n i f i c e n t p a r t s i n h i g h t r a g e d i e s , and s h o r t and easy p a r t s i n g e n t e e l comedies, and j o l l y p a r t s i n f a r c e s — t h o u g h I cannot t e l l why t h i s was e x a c t l y ; y e t , now t h a t I r e c a l l a l l the c i r c u m s t a n c e s , I t h i n k I see a l i t t l e i n t o the s p r i n g s and m o t i v e s w h i c h b e i n g  85  c u n n i n g l y p r e s e n t e d t o me under v a r i o u s d i s g u i s e s , i n d u c e d me t o set about p e r f o r m i n g the p a r t I d i d , b e s i d e s c a j o l i n g me i n t o the d e l u s i o n t h a t i t was a c h o i c e r e s u l t i n g from my own u n b i a s e d f r e e 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 Ishmael's,  a t t e m p t s t o make sense o f  the p a r t s men p l a y i n the l i v e s o f o t h e r men and the men p l a y i n the cosmic drama.  parts  I n the sense t h a t Vonnegut  r e t u r n s t o t h i s theme i n each o f h i s n o v e l s , he s h a r e s J o n a h ' s c o n c e r n w i t h such i s s u e s . Not a l l people e l e c t t o f o l l o w the c o u r s e o f t h e i r karass.  There are i n the n o v e l two o t h e r groups o f  indivi-  d u a l s , those who b e l o n g t o a g r a n f a l o o n and those who b e l o n g to a duprass.  A g r a n f a l o o n i s an a r t i f i c i a l  group o f people  h e l d t o g e t h e r by no v e r y m e a n i n g f u l bond, and examples o f such groups abound i n the n o v e l .  H a z e l C r o s b y , the main e x -  ponent o f g r a n f a l o o n e r y , 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 k a r a s s who may b e l o n g t o d i f f e r e n t different nations.  social classes,  even t o  The n o v e l s & t i r i z e s those who, l i k e  C r o s b y s , 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 m i s t a k e o f m e a s u r i n g e v e r y t h i n g by i t s r e l a t i o n t o institution.  It i s possible, therefore,  the  the  f o r H . Lowe Crosby  86  t o d e l i g h t i n s e e i n g the e f f i g i e s o f ' ' n e a r l y every enemy freedom e v e r had" b e i n g r i d d l e d w i t h b u l l e t s . 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 , makes c l e a r i n Mother N i g h t .  The i d e n t i f i c as Vonnegut  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 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  effigies  organizations  a c c o u n t s i n p a r t f o r the success o f f a s c i s t i c groups i n A m e r i c a as w e l l as i n Germany. W h i l e the Crosbys are g r e g a r i o u s and e x t r o v e r t e d , Mintons, t h e i r fellow t r a v e l l e r s ,  the  are calm and i n t r o v e r t e d .  The M i n t o n s are as f a r removed from i n v o l v e m e n t w i t h  their  f e l l o w human b e i n g s a t the one extreme as the Crosbys are a t the o t h e r . a duprass,  Together,  the M i n t o n s form what Bokonon c a l l s  a "sweetly conceited establishment" which  "can't  be i n v a d e d , not even by c h i l d r e n born o f such a u n i o n " ( 6 4 ) . The M i n t o n s are d e s c r i b e d w i t h compassion, but t h e i r p l i g h t i s a pathetic  one.  M i n t o n e x p e r i e n c e s a severe  split  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 t h e r t h a n one, the f i r s t an o f f i c i a l  a m b a s s a d o r i a 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 significant  change i n the d e s t i n y o f human b e i n g s .  H o r l i c k and C l a i r e M i n t o n a r e ,  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 o f t w o . " The complete s e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y o f such u n i o n s appears to a t t r a c t Vonnegut, even though he r e c o g n i z e s the l i m i t a t i o n s o f such an arrangement. from p u b l i c a f f a i r s  A complete w i t h d r a w a l  can be d i s a s t r o u s ,  Campbell d e m o n s t r a t e s .  severe  as the case o f  The inadequacy o f the M i n t o n ' s  u n i o n i s shown when, s t a n d i n g on the w a v e r i n g p a r a p e t , they d e c l i n e to c r o s s over to s a f e t y .  They plunge to  deaths t o g e t h e r i n a d i g n i f i e d but u s e l e s s Jonah has  their  manner.  no s a t i s f a c t o r y p h i l o s o p h y o f l i f e .  He i s  as Mona d e s c r i b e s h i m , a " m a n - w i t h - n o - r e l i g i o n " ( 1 4 2 ) .  His  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 t h a 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 f u t u r e  o f man i m p r o v e .  H i s U t o p i a n dream and the o p p o r t u n i t y to implement resemble t h a t o f McCabe and J o h n s o n .  it  He r e c o g n i z e s as  d i d t h a t t h i s i m p o v e r i s h e d l i t t l e i s l a n d w i l l never  rise  above i t s own m i s e r y , and he i s f o r c e d t o i m i t a t e h i s decessors'  they  pre-  s e p a r a t i o n between the m a t e r i a l and s p i r i t u a l  provisions. Bokononism, the outlawed r e l i g i o n o f San L o r e n z o , p r o v i d e s the people w i t h much-needed i l l u s i o n s , w h i c h 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  playfully,"  88 but "when i t became e v i d e n t t h a t no governmental o r economic r e f o r m was g o i n g t o make the people much l e s s m i s e r a b l e , t h e r e l i g i o n became t h e one r e a l i n s t r u m e n t o f hope.  T r u t h was  the enemy of- t h e p e o p l e , because t h e t r u t h was so t e r r i b l e , so Bokonon made i t h i s b u s i n e s s t o p r o v i d e t h e people w i t h and b e t t e r  l i e s " (118).  better  Bokonon, a y o u t h f u l f o l l o w e r o f  G a n d h i , s e t about t o i n v e n t a r e l i g i o n t h a t had no substance in actuality.  H i s w a r n i n g , p l a c e d a t the v e r y b e g i n n i n g o f  The Books o f Bokonon, r e a d s : n o t h i n g but foma •' (17-7).  " D o n ' t be a f o o l 1 I t i s  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  w h i c h i s based e n t i r e l y on u n t r u t h s i s s t a t e d i n one o f h i s Calypsos: I wanted a l l t h i n g s To seem t o make some sense, So we a l l c o u l d be happy, y e s , Instead of tense. And I made up l i e s So t h a t they a l l f i t n i c e , And I made t h i s sad w o r l d 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 w i s h e d t o s a t i s f y one o f  the most r e c u r r e n t needs o f man—a d e s i r e t o know h i s p l a c e 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  a s p e c t o f l i f e and seeks t o p r o v i d e answers f o r man's q u e s t i o n s about t h e purpose o f h i s a c t i o n s . Bokonon a l l o w e d h i m s e l f t o be outlawed by McCabe b e 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 o f  90  treason"  (118) and t h a t ,  since neither  r e l i g i o n can p r o v i d e the n e c e s s a r y  the government  solace alone,  must c o - e x i s t i n a s t a t e o f "dynamic t e n s i o n "  nor  the two  (74).  As an  o u t l a w , Bokonon i s i n a p o s i t i o n t o o f f e r the people a possible alternative  to t h e i r p r e s e n t c o n d i t i o n w i t h o u t  h a v i n g t o produce p h y s i c a l p r o o f o f h i s s u c c e s s . and T r o u t , the  Bokonon  s c i e n c e f i c t i o n w r i t e r whom Vonnegut uses  so o f t e n to e x p r e s s h i s v i e w c o n c e r n i n g the c r e a t i o n o f a utopia,  o f f e r i m a g i n a r y w o r l d s i n w h i c h man's i m p u l s e s  .toward p e r f e c t i o n and h a p p i n e s s  are r e a l i z e d .  Bokonon s 1  l i e s " t h a t a l l f i t n i c e " resemble the l i e s o f the and are q u i t e s i m i l a r to the l i e s t h a t Vonnegut i n the c r e a t i o n o f h i s own a r t .  novelist, assembles  However, Vonnegut does  not a v o i d the t r u t h i n h i s n o v e l s , and i n t h i s r e s p e c t he differs novel,  from Bokonon.  Vonnegut*s n o v e l , w h i c h i s a l s o J o n a h ' s  encompasses a p l u r a l i t y o f v i e w s r a n g i n g from Boko-  nonism to f a c t u a l accounts o f the d i s c o v e r y o f i c e - n i n e . I n C a t ' s C r a d l e Vonnegut c r e a t e s a l l the l i e s t h a t " f i t n i c e " ; but he a l s o examines, w i t h i n the c o n t e x t o f the San l o r e n z a n p a r a d i s e ,  the l i m i t s o f such a w o r l d .  V o n n e g u t ' s means o f 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 ,  Jonah, believes  i n the p o s s i b i l i t y o f c r e a t i n g a u t o p i a i n San L o r e n z o . G i v e n the o p p o r t u n i t y t o implement h i s p l a n f o r  establishing  a u t o p i a , he i s f o r c e d to concede t h a t the l i k e l i h o o d o f  91 t h e r e e v e r b e i n g one i s remote. c o n s t r u c t i o n o f such a p e r f e c t created.  The f o r c e s t h a t oppose  the  s t a t e are b o t h n a t u r a l and  The San L o r e n z a n s can never p a r t i c i p a t e i n the  c r e a t i o n o f a u t o p i a i n a c t u a l i t y because, the c o n t r a r y , t h e i r l i v e s remain as mean as e v e r " ( 1 1 9 ) .  11  a l l efforts  s h o r t and b r u t i s h and  There i s , however, a f u r t h e r  t h a t they can never a c h i e v e a s t a t e o f h a p p i n e s s . those who seek, n o t t o a s s i s t  to  reason There are  the San L o r e n z a n s , but  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.  to  Such people b r i n g  t o the t i n y i s l a n d a new d i m e n s i o n i n t r u t h and a more f r i g h t e n i n g example o f the r e a l i t y the i s l a n d e r s have had t o encounter a l l a l o n g . The most i m p r e s s i v e 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 H o e n i k k e r , the son o f the n o b e l l a u r e a t e H o e n i k k e r , the " f a t h e r  o f the atom bomb."  physicist, Felix Franklin brings  w i t h him a t i n y p o r t i o n o f i c e - n i n e , a t i n y c h i p o f w h i c h has the p o t e n t i a l t o c r y s t a l l i z e a l l m o i s t u r e .  As i m p o r t -  ant as the c h i p o f i c e - n i n e i s the a t t i t u d e w h i c h F r a n k l i n b r i n g s w i t h him t o San L o r e n z o .  An o u t c a s t as a c h i l d ,  F r a n k l i n developed a s e c r e t l i f e f o r h i m s e l f , composed of intrigues,  p l a n s and schemes f o r c o n t r o l l i n g o t h e r p e o p l e .  F r a n k l i n b r i n g s the m e n t a l i t y o f a f r u s t r a t e d 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,  c h i l d to h i s the  Haitian  styled dictator." representations  F r a n k l i n i s accustomed t o s c a l e model  o f l i f e and he makes no c o n c e s s i o n s when he  becomes i n v o l v e d w i t h r e a l p e o p l e .  I n the basement  hobby shop he c o n s t r u c t s a " f a n t a s t i c  of a  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 K a n s a s " (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 o f the w o r l d  he b u i l d s and, l i k e God, he can r e p l a c e a mountain w i t h a lake at w i l l .  F r a n k l i n ' s other childhood experience w i t h  f o r c i n g bugs t o f i g h t i s r e l a t e d t o h i s m a n i p u l a t i o n o f the creatures  i n his world.  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 o f the bugs i n Mason j a r s " Franklin,  (59).  the son o f 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  m e r e l y a t e c h n o c r a 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 . advance h i s own c a r e e r .  He uses h i s f a t h e r ' s  i n v e n t i o n to  However, he shares w i t h h i s f a t h e r  c e r t a i n m e n t a l d i s p o s i t i o n ; the two men are d e d i c a t e d t o  a  truth.  To F r a n k l i n the p o s s e s s i o n o f t r u t h means i n c r e a s e d power and a greater father  e x t e n s i o n o f h i s w i l l over o t h e r s .  devoted h i s e n t i r e l i f e  Franklin's  to the p u r s u i t o f t r u t h w i t h -  out ever q u e s t i o n i n g the v a l u e o f amassing tremendous pendia of  com-  facts.  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 o f t r u t h , h i s c o l l e a g u e ,  93  D r . B r e e d , 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 .  A s a Breed i s c o n v i n c e d t h a t  n o t h i n g s h o r t o f the t r u t h can s a t i s f y the human i n s t i n c t t o d i s c o v e r the purpose o f 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 i m s t h a 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 t o work w i t h ,  the r i c h e r we  become" ( 3 6 ) . There i s , however, a g r e a t d i s p a r i t y between what the pure r e s e a r c h e r s  c o n s i d e r v a l u a b l e and what  average layman c o n s i d e r s i m p o r t a n t .  the  T h i s p o i n t i s c l e a r l y made  i n a scene i n w h i c h Jonah i n t e r v i e w s one o f D r . B r e e d ' s secretaries: " 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 . H o e n i k k e r was t r u t h . " "You d o n ' t seem t o a g r e e . " " 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 u n d e r s t a n d i n g how t r u t h , a l l by i t s e l f , c o u l d be enough for a person." (43) Jonah, too, f i n d s i t d i f f i c u l t itself,  is sufficient.  t o u n d e r s t a n d how t r u t h ,  The more he r e s e a r c h e s  a l l by  f o r h i s book  about the d e s t r u c t i o n o f H i r o s h i m a , the more he becomes s k e p t i c a l o f t r u t h and what i t means f o r man. Jonah i s f a c e d w i t h the same problem t h a t Howard Campbell f a c e d i n Mother N i g h t . the r e a l from the f a k e . "  The two w r i t e r s endeavor t o " s e p a r a t e The book w h i c h Jonah f i r s t proposed  t o w r i t e was e n t i t l e d , The Day the World Ended.  I t was t o be  a " f a c t u a l " account o f what prominent Americans had done on  94 the day the f i r s t atomic bomb was dropped on H i r o s h i m a . Jonah t i r e s o f c o m p i l i n g d a t a f o r h i s book as he d i s c o v e r s t h a t f a c t s a r e by themselves u n s a t i s f a c t o r y .  Gat's Cradle,  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 o f the m a t e r i a l w h i c h The Day the World Ended might have c o n t a i n e d . this,  C a t ' s C r a d l e i n c l u d e s i n f o r m a t i o n about the  Beyond  activities  o f c e r t a i n major personages • on a n o t h e r , d a y when the w o r l d a c t u a l l y does end. fantasies suspect  He l i v e s to see the most  outrageous  become r e a l i t y and from the o u t s e t he seems t o  t h a 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 , t h e n , v e r y e a r l y i n h i s t r a v e l s , Bokononism" ( 4 4 ) .  "ripe  for  Jonah s u b s c r i b e s v e r y e a s i l y t o Bokononism,  f o r i t appears to o f f e r him a view o f the w o r l d v e r y 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 i m p o r t a n t t o Jonah and t o the  rest  o f the people on San Lorenzo as the t h r e a t o f d e s t r u c t i o n by means o f i c e - n i n e becomes r e a l i t y .  Ice-nine supplants  and s i c k n e s s as the overwhelming r e a l i t y w h i c h the must c o n f r o n t and i c e - n i n e t h r e a t e n s to d e s t r o y instantly.  poverty  islanders  everything  The c o n f i d e n t f a i t h i n p r o g r e s s w h i c h i s made  p o s s i b l e t h r o u g h 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  truth  t u r n s i n t o a nightmare o f u n c e r t a i n t y and c o n f u s i o n .  The  95 C r o s b y s , who were c o n t e n t 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 , d e s t r u c t i v e tornadoes  ''American!." as though the  c a r e d about the n a t i o n a l i t y o f t h e i r  victims. I c e - n i n e r e p r e s e n t s a s e r i o u s t h r e a t t o the o f 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 .  A l t h o u g h many people s u r v i v e the ravages o f the w o r l d , few s u r v i v e i t s a f t e r m a t h .  foundations  storm-tossed  Confronted w i t h the t a s k o f  a t t e m p t i n g t o l i v e i n a w o r l d t h a t i s even more d e s o l a t e b e f o r e the i n t r u s i o n o f F r a n k l i n H o e n i k k e r , the demand t o be t o l d the meaning o f t h i s l a t e s t do what they never dared do b e f o r e :  than  islanders  outrage.  They  they c a p t u r e the h o l y man  and f o r c e him t o answer t h e i r q u e s t i o n s d i r e c t l y .  Bokonon*s  o n l y r e p l y t o t h e i r demands t h a t they be t o l d the purpose o f the d e s t r u c t i o n i s t h a t , a p p a r e n t l y , whoever e n g i n e e r e d c a t a s t r o p h e w i s h e d everyone t o d i e . no a l t e r n a t i v e ,  i t seems,  the  The i s l a n d e r s , f a c e d w i t h  choose t o f o l l o w the d i r e c t i o n s o f  the s p u r i o u s h o l y man and d i e . A l l o f the messages o f Bokonon w h i c h 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 o f 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 t o those w h i c h he gave t o 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  sufficiently  ideal-  96  istic  t o b e l i e v e t h a t where t h e r e  possibility  is life  of i m p r o v i n g upon the  can  when Mona a s k s h i m  to give her  defend w i t h one  any  o f San  A l t h o u g h he continues  w h i c h he  i s s u r r o u n d e d by  discovers  to defeat:  t o j o i n them.  an  and  in  death, Jonah  i m p o r t a n t message f o r him  e x p r e s s an o p t i m i s t i c v i e w .  d e s t r u c t i o n o f San  of feels  to d e l i v e r Everything  L o r e n z o seems t o  i s l a n d e r s c h o o s e d e a t h and  point  Mona e l e c t s  However, t h r o u g h o u t h i s j o u r n e y J o n a h  preserved a respect the  defeat  Somehow he  the  can  i s with his position  p r e s e n t course of e v e n t s . has  that  t h a n he  possibility  hopes w i l l  f o l l o w i n g the  not  retreating into a  i s the  that h i s karass  to  Lorenzo.  to b e l i e v e that there  a l t e r i n g the  to  tried  i s as u n s u c c e s s f u l  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 a s he as p r e s i d e n t  Therefore,  J o n a h has  c a n 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 He  course  reason f o r continuing  H o w e v e r , he  p a r t i c i p a t e i n a public world.  Jonah  a  conviction.  w i t h d r a w f r o m h i s p u b l i c o b l i g a t i o n s by  he  the  i t i s not  e x i s t , J o n a h i s ''slow t o a n s w e r " ( 1 8 2 ) .  c l o s e r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h Mona.  is  present conditions.  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 o f a c t i o n w h i c h he  there  for l i f e .  c o u r s e f o r him  when t h e  r u i n e d h i s a p a r t m e n t and  killed  He  learned  that n i h i l i s m  poet Krebbs his cat.  has was  senselessly  Prom t h a t  on J o n a h s t e e r s a c o u r s e b e t w e e n p e s s i m i s m and  point  optimism.  97 I n h i s c o n v e r s a t i o n 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 o f 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 offers  he  the o p i n i o n t h a t a w r i t e r ' s s t r i k e would produce  same e f f e c t firemen, novels,  senses,  as the " f i r e m e n w a l k i n g out" ( 1 5 6 ) .  the  The t a s k o f  as Vonnegut makes q u i t e c l e a r i n s e v e r a l o f h i s i s to m a i n t a i n a v i g i l w h i c h p r e v e n t s a g e n e r a l  conflagration.  By e x t e n s i o n , i t i s the w r i t e r ' s t a s k  to  keep a v i g i l i n o r d e r to p r e v e n t mankind from d e s t r o y i n g i t s e l f . Despite frequent  temptations  continues h i s v i g i l  to abandon h i s t a s k ,  Jonah  i n an a t t e m p t , not o n l y to p r e v e n t  ultimate destruction,  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  t h e r e might be i n the a c t i o n s o f those around h i m . Campbell's n a r r a t i v e ,  any  like  J o n a h ' s i s not o n l y an attempt t o  " s e p a r a t e the r e a l from the f a k e , " but i s a l s o an attempt t o examine numerous f a n t a s i e s  i n o r d e r to d i s c o v e r w h i c h are  b e n e f i c i a l and w h i c h are d e t r i m e n t a l t o the w e l f a r e o f man. Jonah b e n e f i t s by Bokonon b u t ,  enormously from the f a n t a s i e s  i n the face o f such a h a r s h r e a l i t y as i c e -  n i n e Bokononism can h a r d l y p r e v a i l . out o f h i s dilemma, Jonah r e v e r t s of i n d i v i d u a l a c t s . r e l i g i o n " and p r e f e r s have been, if  provided  S e a r c h i n g f o r some way  to h i s b e l i e f  i n the v a l u e  He denounces Bokononism as a  "depressing  to t a l k about U t o p i a s , " o f what might  o f what s h o u l d have been,  the w o r l d would thaw" ( 1 8 9 ) .  o f what y e t might be,  He r e f e r s  to Bokonon  as  98 "a j i g a b o o b a s t a r d "  (90) who u n d e r e s t i m a t e s  the  perseverance  of i n d i v i d u a l s . The l a s t few c h a p t e r s o f h i s n a r r a t i v e r e v e a l t h a t Jonah i s caught between h i s d e s i r e t o see the w o r l d thaw and come to l i f e a g a i n and the c y n i c i s m o f Bokonon who succumbs to the i n e v i t a b i l i t y o f 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 o f the s i t u a t i o n i s d e a d l y a c c u r a t e , h i s c o n c l u s i o n s are not ones w h i c h Jonah can a c c e p t J o n a h ' s f o c u s t u r n s more and more to the d i s t a n t peak w i t h i t s p e c u l i a r shape.  Outlined against  but  readily.  mountain the s k y ,  it  resembles n o t h i n g so much as a w h a l e : I t was i n the s u n r i s e t h a t the c e t a c e a n majesty of the h i g h e s t mountain on the i s l a n d , o f 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 l u e w h a l e , w i t h one stone p l u g on i t s back f o r a peak. In scale w i t h a whale, the p l u g might have been the stump o f a snapped harpoon, and i t s seemed so u n r e l a t e d t o the r e s t o f the mountain t h a 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 M o b y - D i c k , a symbol o f L e v i a t h a n . Jonah knows t h a t h i s d e s t i n y , w i t h the p u r s u i t and capture  l i k e t h a t of Ahab, i s  connected  o f L e v i a t h a n , proudest and most  i n d o m i t a b l e o f a l l the b e a s t s o f c r e a t i o n .  As God t e l l s  J o b , L e v i a t h a n cannot be overcome by mere m o r t a l man; i t 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 .  is  99 The snapped harpoon i n the hump o f Mount McCabe s y m b o l i z e s 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 l a s h e s out a t the w o r l d w h i c h d e s t r o y s men and then r e f u s e s  to y i e l d up any r e a s o n f o r the  destruction.  T h 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 C r a d l e where Mount McCabe comes to s y m b o l i z e the t e r r i f y i n g l y ambiguous  response  of n a t u r e to the d e s t i n y o f man.  the  Who w i l l anwer f o r  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 c r e a t e d  i t are i n c a p a b l e o f f e e l i n g any genuine remorse s i n c e  they  have d i s s o c i a t e d themselves from o t h e r human b e i n g s .  It  i s the muteness o f the n a t u r a l w o r l d t h a t Mount McCabe symbolizes.  I n the f i n a l c h a p t e r 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 o f the mountain and by b e i n g c a r r i e d to h i s death by the which refuses  to y i e l d i t s s e c r e t to the v e r y end.  proposed p o s t u r e i s one o f d e f i a n c e , w h i c h d i f f e r s from the rage o f Ahab.  force Bokonon's  but i t i s a d e f i a n c e The i r o n y o f Bokonon"s  f i n a l words are e v i d e n t when compared to I s h m a e l ' s of Ahab's p a s s i o n : He p i l e d upon the w h a l e ' s w h i t e hump the sum o f a l l the g e n e r a l rage and h a t e f e l t by h i s whole r a c e from Adam down; and t h e n , as i f h i s chest had been a m o r t a r , he b u r s t h i s hot h e a r t ' s s h e l l upon i t . 5  account  100  Bokonon's c h o i c e  i s t o c l i m b t h e m o u n t a i n and, l y i n g on h i s  b a c k , 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 , to  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 , (191).  my n o s e a t Y o u Know Who"  r e f u s e t o pursue the insane t h a t he f e e l s t h a t l i f e  6  God.' be  and thumbing  Bokonon s d e c i s i o n i s t o 1  course  any f u r t h e r .  i s a l l a joke played  A l l man c a n do u n d e r t h e c i r c u m s t a n c e s  He i n d i c a t e s  by a n i n e f f e c t u a l i s to refuse to  t h e p l a y t h i n g any l o n g e r . B o k o n o n i s , h o w e v e r , t o o o l d a man t o a t t e m p t t h e a s c e n t  up  the mountain.  most l i k e l y  He o f f e r s t h e t a s k t o a y o u n g e r man a n d t h e  candidate  f o r the climb i s Jonah.  cludes h i s novel before alternative  Vonnegut  J o n a h r e a c h e s any d e c i s i o n .  will  The  o f f e r e d by B o k o n o n p r o v i d e s J o n a h 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 to  con-  the destruction of a l l l i f e .  t h a t seems  I f Jonah were t o f o l l o w  B o k o n o n ' s a d v i c e , he w o u l d j o i n t h e l e g i o n s o f d e a d who h a v e already  taken h i s advice.  J o n a h ' 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 rebels against but  the a l t e r n a t i v e i s not very  shows no s i g n s o f t h a w i n g . the  s u c h a d e c i s i o n t o abandon  d i s a s t e r seems c o n t e n t  Hazel  life,  encouraging f o r the world  The t i n y  community w h i c h  t o perpetuate  survives  the o l d system.  C r o s b y i n d u s t r i o u s l y sews a n emblem o f one o f h e r  f a v o r i t e granfaloons  which she, i r o n i c a l l y , wishes Jonah t o  101  c a r r y t o the top o f Mount McCabe.  F r a n k l i n busies himself  w i t h experiments w i t h bugs, thus r e p e a t i n g an e a r l i e r I t may be t h a t J o n a h , i n a f u r t h e r  pattern.  i m i t a t i o n of Ishmael,  does s u r v i v e 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  it  i s p o s s i b l e t o a s c e r t a i n , J o n a h , l i k e I s h m a e l , "has escaped to t e l l thee."  He t r a v e l s t o the f a r t h e s t  rim of existence  and r e t u r n s t o d e l i v e r h i s i m p o r t a n t message:  unless  the  w o r l d does thaw, t h e r e can be no happy o r secure f u t u r e man.  W h i l e Jonah has no c e r t a i n b e l i e f t h a t t h i s  for  will  happen, he does w r i t e h i s "funny book" (185) i n an attempt 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 Y o u , M r . Rosewater, Vonnegut p r e s e n t s who attempts  to  another  protagonist  to create a u t o p i a i n a s o c i e t y t h a t i s , i n i t s  own way, r i g i d and f r o z e n .  A l o v e t h a t does not d i s c r i m i n a t e seems t o me to f o r f e i t a p a r t of i t s own v a l u e , by d o i n g an i n j u s t i c e t o i t s o b j e c t ; and s e c o n d l y , 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 s c o n t e n 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 a h o l d 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 l o v e what the R u s s i a n s d i d to the word democracy. I f E l i o t i s g o i n g t o l o v e everybody, no m a t t e r what they a r e , no m a t t e r what t h e y do, t h e n those o f us who l o v e 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 o u r s e l v e s a new w o r d . God B l e s s Y o u , M r . Rosewater K u r t Vonnegut, J r .  CHAPTER V GOD BLESS YOU, MR. ROSEWATER God B l e s s Y o u , M r . Rosewater (1965) shows a development o f V o n n e g u t ' s i n t e r e s t  further  i n a p r o t a g o n i s t who  a t t e m p t s t o s a t i s f y h i s p e r s o n a l needs f o r h a p p i n e s s and s e c u r i t y w i t h i n a very h i g h l y structured pattern. 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 , acknowledged t o be a l a n d o f u n l i m i t e d p r o m i s e . protagonist, tagonists,  The s e t -  generally The n o v e l ' s  E l i o t Rosewater, i s l i k e V o n n e g u t ' s o t h e r p r o -  an i d e a l i s t who d e s i r e s above a l l t o  people i n t h e i r d e s i r e t o l i v e a h a p p i e r l i f e . i s the h e i r t o a c o n s i d e r a b l e f o r t u n e ,  assist He, t o o ,  and he p o s s e s s e s  power and i n f l u e n c e ; and he i s the h e i r o f 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!  Like Malachi Constant,  Rosewater i n h e r i t s from h i s f a t h e r a s e c r e t system f o r maki n g l a r g e sums o f money and f o r s e c u r i n g m a t e r i a l h a p p i n e s s . The Rosewater. F o u n d a t i o n and The Rosewater C o r p o r a t i o n are c o n f u s i n g but i n g e n i o u s s t r u c t u r e s w h i c h the Rosewaters use f o r amassing more c a p i t a l .  To the common man these  102  elaborate  103 structures  are c o m p l e t e l y 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 on w h i c h o t h e r men—Rosewaters, some b o l d d e s i g n s . "  Eliot,  rectangle  m a i n l y — h a d a l r e a d y made  l i k e P a u l P r o t e u s before h i m ,  f e e l s t h a 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 o f the l e s s f o r t u n a t e ,  and so he seeks to r e s t o r e a b a l a n c e  by c a r i n g f o r those who have l e s s than he does. " U t o p i a n dreamer"  expense  He i s a  (14) whose i n i t i a l b e l i e f i s t h a t he can  c o n v e r t h i s e a r l y i d e a l i s m and h i s f o r t u n a t e program f o r h e l p i n g the u n f o r t u n a t e .  position into a  To t h i s end he  decorated  e x p e n s i v e o f f i c e s i n the F o u n d a t i o n and " p r o c l a i m e d them the h e a d q u a r t e r s f o r a l l the b e a u t i f u l ,  compassionate  s c i e n t i f i c t h i n g s he hoped to d o l " ( 1 7 ) .  and  He f a c e s the same  problems as the u t o p i a n p l a n n e r s i n C a t ' s C r a d l e who attempt t o c o n s t r u c 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 u n p r o d u c t i v e i s l a n d o f San L o r e n z o . 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 L o r e n z o , a s m a l l g h e t t o i n an  civilization.  affluent  I t i s a n e a r l y f o r g o t t e n reminder o f a  " U t o p i a gone b u s t "  (13).  According 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 o f A m e r i c a , the promise o f i n f i n i t e bounty and e q u a l o p p o r t u n i t y t h a t was o f f e r e d 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  its  expectations  104 as a p a r a d i s e f o r the s e t t l e r s , for  the re-enactment  America became the  setting  o f the s t o r y o f C a i n and A b e l .  Eliot's  s e l f - p r o c l a i m e d t a s k i s t o r e d r e s s the i n j u r y done t o who have been u n f o r t u n a t e  those  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 c o n v i n c e him t h a t he owes h i s w e a l t h and p o s i t i o n , not t o h i s r e l a t i v e s , but t o "the r i c k e t y sons and grandsons o f the p i o n e e r s " ( 3 3 ) .  H i s t r u e home l i e s i n "the  once green h i l l s o f K e n t u c k y , the promised l a n d o f D a n ' 1 Boone" ( 3 4 ) .  2  E l i o t Rosewater, l i k e so many o f V o n n e g u t ' s o t h e r p r o tagonists, and  f e e l s t h a t he has a c e r t a i n d e s t i n y to  that t h i s destiny i s unavoidable.  fulfill  As a member o f the  Rosewater f a m i l y he i s m a n i p u l a t e d by the s t r u c t u r e o f w h i c h 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 w h i c h w i l l l e a d him t o h i s p u r p o s e .  He i d e n t i f i e s h i m s e l f  a f i g u r e i n search of a purpose: Maybe I f l a t t e r m y s e l f when I t h i n k t h a t I have t h i n g s i n common w i t h Hamlet, t h a t I have an i m p o r t a n t m i s s i o n , t h a t I ' m t e m p o r a r i l y mixed up about how i t s h o u l d 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 t o do, w h i l e I ' m o p e r a t i n g w i t h o u t instructions. But from somewhere somet h i n g i s t r y i n g to t e l l me where to go, what t o do t h e r e , and why t o do i t . D o n ' t w o r r y , I d o n ' t h e a r v o i c e s . But t h e r e i s t h i s f e e l i n g t h a t I have a  with  105 d e s t i n y f a r away from the s h a l l o w and p r e p o s t e r o u s p o s i n g t h a t i s our l i f e i n New Y o r k . And I roam. And I roam. (51) 5  Eliot's letter  to h i s w i f e s t a t e s the i n t e n t i o n o f n e a r l y  everyone o f V o n n e g u t ' s p r o t a g o n i s t s , "operating without i n s t r u c t i o n s " .  each o f whom i s  He wanders i n s e a r c h o f  h i s t r u e home and h i s t r u e r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s .  He appears to be  aware o f a burden o f g u i l t w h i c h he, as the descendant Rosewaters,  bears f o r h i s a n c e s t o r ' s  o f the  "cupidity unlimited" (15).  He a l s o f e e l s a burden o f g u i l t f o r h a v i n g 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 r e m e n d u r i n g the w a r .  His resolve i s ,  like  t h a t o f C o n s t a n t who has k i l l e d h i s b e s t f r i e n d , to cause l e s s r a t h e r than more p a i n . E l i o t ' s i d e a l i s m resembles t h a t of P r o t e u s and C o n s t a n t , but i t i s a l s o a development of i d e a s h e l d by J o n a h , McCabe and Bokonon i n C a t ' s C r a d l e .  E l i o t never grows out o f 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. c l i n g s to h i s c h i l d h o o d dream o f b e i n g a mascot at the hall. fire  He fire-  E l i o t ' s t e r r i b l e f e a r o f the e a r t h b e i n g consumed by d e r i v e s from h i s e x p e r i e n c e i n the w a r .  It also looks  forward to the d e s c r i p t i o n o f the f i r e - b o m b i n g o f Dresden i n Slaughterhouse-Five, a novel i n which E l i o t  reappears.  L i k e Jonah before him he imagines the imminent  destruction  106 of the w o r l d . E l i o t a l s o shares J o n a h ' s c o n c e r n w i t h the of w r i t i n g .  difficulties  E l i o t i s a w r i t e r who i s contemptuous o f a r t  and i t s a b i l i t y t o s a t i s f y any o f the needs o f man. f o r m e r l y a g r e a t p a t r o n o f the a r t s , their a r t i f i c i a l  Eliot,  c r i t i c i z e s them f o r  s e p a r a t i o n from the common p e o p l e .  abandons h i s u n f i n i s h e d n o v e l and d e d i c a t e s h i m s e l f  He instead  t o the d e t a i l e d a c c o u n t s o f p e o p l e ' s l i v e s w h i c h he r e c o r d s i n h i s Doomsday Book.  I n s i d e i t s pages o n l y the  barest  f a c t s a r e r e c o r d e d , 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 c o m p l e t e l y f a c t u a l and objective.  I t l i s t s o n l y the most u r g e n t demands and  r e c o r d s o n l y the most a b b r e v i a t e d d e t a i l s about the o f those w i t h whom he comes i n c o n t a c t . is,  i n a sense,  lives  H i s Doomsday Book  an a l t e r n a t i v e t o c o m p a r a t i v e l y u s e l e s s  works o f f i c t i o n .  I t r e c o r d s o n l y 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 e s p e c t E l i o t ' s Doomsday Book resembles J o n a h ' s  proposed  book The Day the World Ended, but i t i s q u i t e  different  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 d e d i c a t e s h i m s e l f t o the c r e a t i o n o f a l i v i n g work o f art: E ' m g o i n g t o l o v e these d i s c a r d e d A m e r i c a n s , even though t h e y ' r e u s e l e s s and u n a t t r a c t i v e . That i s g o i n g t o be my work o f a r t . (361  107  U n l i k e Howard C a m p b e l l , who devotes h i m s e l f t o the o f l i t e r a r y works o f a r t , ones.  creation  E l i o t devotes h i m s e l f to human  C a m p b e l l , a t one extreme,  dissociates himself  from  p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the a f f a i r s o f o t h e r s 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-  w a t e r goes t o the o p p o s i t e extreme when he e l e c t s t o  devote  h i m s e l f s e l f l e s s l y to the improvement o f the l o t of  others.  The d e s i r e f o r change and improvement among human b e i n g s leads E l i o t to value u n s p h i s t i c a t e d a r t i s t i c more than the " c l a s s i c s ' ' o r p r e t e n t i o u s  expressions  ones.  poem i s a p i e c e o f g r a f i t t i whose theme i s the f o r c o n s i d e r a t i o n of the needs o f o t h e r s .  His favorite necessity  Eliot is  critical  of a s e r i o u s work l i k e A i d a where so much energy seems t o be wasted i n the e x p r e s s i o n o f so l i t t l e . of the s u f f o c a t i n g smoke d u r i n g a f i r e ,  Perhaps t h i n k i n g  E l i o t warns the  and h e r o i n e who are e n c l o s e d i n an a i r - t i g h t v a u l t not waste oxygen by s i n g i n g so s t r e n u o u s l y .  Eliot is  hero to  obsessed  w i t h the urgency o f communicating i m p o r t a n t i d e a s and i s e x t r e m e l y i m p a t i e n t w i t h those who go on a t g r e a t without saying anything important.  lengths  E l i o t ' s v i e w s cannot  be t a k e n e n t i r e l y s e r i o u s l y , and y e t , he does p o i n t out t h a t i t i s u r g e n t t h a 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  late.  E l i o t i s impressed by s c i e n c e 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 T r o u t because he a d d r e s s e s h i m s e l f t o t r u l y i m p o r t a n t themes, l i t e r a l l y cosmic themes. ^ tunately,  they " c a n ' t w r i t e f o r sour a p p l e s "  t h e i r range o f themes i s l i m i t e d . the importance of sex,  s t y l e , and economics,  w h i c h a n o t h e r w r i t e r whom E l i o t Ulm, t o t a l l y d e d i c a t e s  They f a i l  (18),  Unforand  to acknowledge subjects  to  s u b s i d i z e s , A r t h u r Garvey  himself.  Ulm's fantasy  is,  after  a l l the p e d a n t i c r e f e r e n c e s have been r e c o g n i z e d , a s i m p l e t a l e about the d e s i r e f o r s e l f - g r a t i f i c a t i o n . T r o u t ' s n o v e l s share the t e c h n i q u e  of fantasy  as a means o f s u g g e s t i n g a l t e r n a t i v e s The d i f f e r e n c e s level,  an i m p o r t a n t  E l i o t Rosewater.  Kilgore but employ i t  to the w o r l d as i t  between Ulm and Trout r e f l e c t , difference  is.  on one  between Howard Campbell and  Campbell's t o t a l preoccupation 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 , w h i c h he r e c o r d s i n h i s Memoirs  i  o f a Polygamous Casanova, c o n t r a s t s w i t h E l i o t ' s  preoccupa-  tion with society.  between  B o t h men s u f f e r from a s p l i t  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 evident  the works o f Ulm and T r o u t as w e l l . becomes e s t r a n g e d as a r e s u l t  E l i o t ' s wife  in  Sylvia  o f 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 o f Rosewater County. There i s r e a l l y no r o l e f o r h e r to p l a y , s i n c e i n h i s  devotion  t o the w e l f a r e o f 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).  I n h i s attempt t o s a t i s f y a l l t h e needs o f  the members o f h i s community he o v e r l o o k s t h e needs o f 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  t o a man whose g o a l s a r e l e s s p u b l i c t h a n h e r husband's. A n i t a P r o t e u s abandons h e r husband i n f a v o r o f the a t t r a c t i o n s of Shepherd, a man o f fewer t a l e n t s but more p e r s o n a l t h a n h e r husband.  ambition  When she s u f f e r s h e r f i r s t nervous c o l l a p s e ,  S y l v i a Rosewater seeks t h e company o f s o c i a l l y uncommitted people. tall, spy"  Her romantic  d e s i r e i s t o f a i n t " i n t h e arms o f a  dark s t r a n g e r , i n t o t h e arms, h o p e f u l l y , o f a double (44).  E l i o t ' s w i f e seems t h e more s e n s i t i v e o f t h e two  women because she a t t e m p t s a t l e a s t t o p a r t i c i p a t e i n h e r husband's U t o p i a n dreams.  She r e i g n s f o r a w h i l e a s t h e  queen o f Rosewater Mansion, but h e r c a p a c i t y f o r d i s p e n s i n g " u n c r i t i c a l l o v e " i s n o t n e a r l y as g r e a t as h e r husband's. The d i s e a s e w h i c h S y l v i a Rosewater s u f f e r s i s diagnosed as s a m a r a t r o p h i a ,  an " h y s t e r i c a l i n d i f f e r e n c e t o t h e t r o u b l e s  of those l e s s f o r t u n a t e than o n e s e l f " ( 4 1 ) .  The d i s e a s e i s  the r e s u l t o f 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, p e r s o n a l l o v e from h e r husband) and p u b l i c demands.  The d i s e a s e i s a c t u a l l y q u i t e r a r e because i t o n l y  p r o p e r l y " a t t a c k s those e x c e e d i n g l y  r a r e i n d i v i d u a l s who  r e a c h b i o l o g i c a l m a t u r i t y s t i l l l o v i n g and w a n t i n g t o h e l p  110 t h e i r f e l l o w man ' ( 4 2 ) .  W h i l e t h e r e may be no s p e c i f i c  cause f o r s a m a r a t r o p h i a ,  the d i s e a s e i s caused by the r e c o g -  1  n i t i o n by the senses t h a t s o c i a l i n v o l v e m e n t does not appease the c o n s c i e n c e , " t h a t i t (the c o n s c i e n c e ) c o n t i n u e s t o and they n o t e ,  t o o , t h a t the o u t s i d e w o r l d 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 has demanded" ( 4 2 ) . such a case as Por S y l v i a , insoluble.  shriek,  conscience  E n l i g h t e n e d S e l f - i n t e r e s t t a k e s over i n  Sylvia's. the dilemma f a c e d by h e r and E l i o t  is  A l t h o u g h she and h e r husband " l i s t e n e d t i r e l e s s l y  t o the misshapen f e a r s and dreams ofppeople who, by a l m o s t anyone's standards,  would have been b e t t e r o f f dead,  them l o v e and t r i f l i n g  gave  sums o f money" ( 4 0 ) , t h e r e i s no  a p p r e c i a b l e change i n t h e i r l i v e s .  P a r from r e s t o r i n g t o  the common man the d i g n i t y and p r i d e t h a t once was h i s ,  Eliot  c r e a t e s 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 o f r e l i g i o n ,  government and f a m i l y .  As Diana Moon G-lampers, one o f 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  time:  Y o u ' r e my church group 1 Y o u ' r e my e v e r y t h i n g ' . 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)  Ill E l i o t ' s f a n a t i c a l d e s i r e t o l o v e u n s e l f i s h l y every p e r s o n who needs i t p l a c e s him i n the r i d i c u l o u s p o s i t i o n o f b e i n g r e s p o n s i b l e f o r s a t i s f y i n g the demand o f t h i s s i x t y - e i g h t y e a r o l d v i r g i n who has never had anyone to l o v e h e r .  Eliot  offers  h e r l o v e but i s i n c a p a b l e o f g i v i n g her a n y t h i n g beyond a few c o n s o l i n g words.  The demands o f such people as Glampers upon  E l i o t are enormous and, o f c o u r s e , u l t i m a t l e l y i m p o s s i b l e t o satisfy.  H i s i d e a l i s t i c d e s i r e to h e l p the h e l p l e s s i s f i n e  i n t h e o r y , 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 g r e a t  d i s p a r i t y between E l i o t ' s i d e a l l o v e f o r a l l the  helpless  c r e a t u r e s who are the " c h i l d r e n " o f Rosewater County and the r e a l i t y o f a t t e m p t i n g to a p p l y t h a t i d e a l l o v e t o everyday experience. E l i o t f e e l s the burden o f h a v i n g t o s a t i s f y the o f so many p e o p l e .  demands  I n a t t e m p t i n g t o h e l p these u n d e r p r i v i -  l e g e d p e o p l e , he reduces h i m s e l f t o 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 t o him i f h h e attempted who need i t .  Buntline,  t o d i s t r i b u t e h i s w e a l t h amongst one o f E l i o t ' s f o i l s i n the  t a k e s 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  i d e a l i s t i s a l c o h o l i s m and boredom. a d v i c e from h i s f a t h e r ,  those  novel,  frustrated  E l i o t , who r e f u s e s  similar  becomes, l i k e those he seeks t o 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  deteriorates.  112 E l i o t ' s awareness o f the g r e a t 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 w i f e and f a t h e r .  i n conversations w i t h h i s  He a t t r i b u t e s h i s p h y s i c a l and e m o t i o n a l  e x h a u s t i o n to a "bad c o n n e c t i o n " ( 8 6 ) .  E l i o t ' s father  s t r o n g e s t c r i t i c o f h i s s o n ' s b e h a v i o r and c o n s t a n t l y the a b s u r d i t y of h i s s o n ' s p o s i t i o n .  He o b j e c t s  is  the  reveals  to S y l v i a ' s  use o f the word " l o v e " to d e s c r i b e a n y t h i n g 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 h o l d o f 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 l o v e what the R u s s i a n s d i d to the word democracy. If Eliot is g o i n g t o l o v e everybody, no m a t t e r what they a r e , no m a t t e r what they do, then those o f us who l o v e p a r t i c u l a r people f o r p a r t i c u l a r r e a s o n s had b e t t e r f i n d o u r s e l v e s a new w o r d . (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 d i s r e g a r d the demands o f the common p e o p l e , to a weakness i n E l i o t ' s p h i l o s o p h y . l o v e " o f the k i n d E l i o t p r o f e s s e s  except  to  but he does p o i n t  General, " u n c r i t i c a l  i s s i m p l y not  possible.  The a m b i g u i t y o f 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 h e l p everyone and a knowledge t h a t such a f e a t i s i m p o s s i b l e : Rosewater F o u n d a t i o n How Can We H e l p You? (49) Some o f E l i o t ' s c a l l e r s p o i n t to a s i m i l a r weakness i n h i s philosophy.  How can a man who l o v e s everybody l o v e anybody  113  particular?  Diana Moon Glampers wonders who would care i f  she d i e d : " T h i s would be a mighty sad town, d e a r , i f t h a t ever happened." "Who'd c a r e ? " " I ' d care." "You care about everybody. I mean who e l s e ? " "Many, many, many p e o p l e , d e a r . " (58) A l t h o u g h E l i o t i s unable to appease the woman, he  consoles  h e r t e m p o r a r i l y more by the sound o f h i s v o i c e than by what he  says. A l t h o u g h E l i o t never a l l o w s h i m s e l f to admit t h a 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 , r e c o g n i z e s h i s own f a i l u r e .  t h e r e are s i g n s t h a t he  Unable to l i v e c o m p l e t e l y i n  the r e a l i t y o f Rosewater County, he escapes more and more often into i n t o x i c a t i o n . defence a g a i n s t a t t a c k s t e l l s Sylvia, father's  However, he does, have a s t r o n g from o u t s i d e .  He h a s ,  the  a " m a s s i v e l y defended n e u r o s i s " ( 2 8 ) .  persistence  doctor His  and the i n c r e a s i n g evidence t h a t  Eliot'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 b e g i n to affect E l i o t .  Finally,  i t i s Senator Rosewater who b r e a k s  down h i s s o n ' s defence a g a i n s t contact.  i n t r u s i o n from p e r s o n a l  E l i o t i s f o r c e d to r e a l i z e t h a t , w h i l e i d e a l l y  man may l o v e 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  c a l l e r a t the F o u n d a t i o n .  l i k e any  A l t h o u g h S e n a t o r Rosewater bears  no l o v e f o r mankind g e n e r a l l y , he does p o i n t to the of i n d i v i d u a l l o v e .  other  necessity  H i s t i r a d e a g a i n s t E l i o t c e n t e r s on t h i s  subject; " 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 o v e d me, d i d n ' t you? Loved me so much you smashed up every hope o r i d e a l I ever h a d . And you c e r t a i n l y l o v e d S y l v i a , d i d n ' t you?" (160) The r e p e a t e d r e f e r e n c e s  to p e r s o n a 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 t h a t he has s a c r i f i c e d one type o f 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 e a r s , f i n i s h e d d r e s s i n g , as though n o t h i n g s p e c i a l had happened. He s a t down to t i e h i s shoelaces. When these were t i e d , he s t r a i g h t e n e d u p . And he f r o z e as s t i f f as any c o r p s e . The b l a c k t e l e p h o n e r a n g . 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 o f h a v i n g r e j e c t e d one way o f l i f e w i t h o u 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  it.  I n t h i s r e s p e c t he resembles Howard C a m p b e l l , whose p r i v a t e life  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  is inclusive.  B o t h men f r e e z e when f a c e d w i t h the d i s i n t e g r a t i o n o f w o r l d s and f o r c e d i n t o the o p p o s i t e s i t u a t i o n .  their  E l i o t i s no  115  more p r e p a r e d t o resume h i s r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s as a member o f the f o u r t e e n t h 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 S t a t e s t h a n Campbell i s t o p a r t i c i p a t e i n a w o r l d he has  rejected.  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 o v e r p o w e r i n g .  Each o f  the men s u f f e r s a nervous breakdown as a r e s u l t o f h i s i n a b i l i t y t o r e c o n c i l e two o p p o s i n g f o r c e s w i t h i n h i m s e l f . E l i o t ' s breakdown i s i m m e d i a t e l y 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 o f a bus.  I n c a p a b l e o f c o n t i n u i n g on h i s own, E l i o t i s t a k e n  t o an asylum where a t t e m p t s are made t o r e s t o r e him t o 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  are Senator Rosewater and K i l g o r e T r o u t .  therapy  After a f u l l year of  t r e a t m e n t , d u r i n g w h i c h time E l i o t a p p a r e n t l y showed occasional signs of recovery, h i s father  s t i l l continues to  o f f e r h i s son p r a g m a t i c a d v i c e and i s s t i l l a b l e to a s s e r t t h a t h i s s o n ' s p r i n c i p a l problem i s boozes "Keep away from booze, remember who you a r e , and behave a c c o r d i n g l y , " the S e n a t o r r o u n d l y d e c l a r e d . "And d o n ' t p l a y God t o p e o p l e , o r they w i l l s l o b b e r a l l over y o u , take you f o r e v e r y t h i n g they can g e t , break commandments j u s t f o r the f u n o f b e i n g f o r g i v e n — a n d r e v i l e you when you are g o n e . " ( 1 8 6 ) T r o u t , on the o t h e r hand, m a i n t a i n s t h a t E l i o t ' s  experiment  116 i n Rosewater County proves t h a t "people can use a l l the u n c r i t i c a l l o v e t h a t they can g e t "  (186).  Trout c l a i m s  5  t h a t E l i o t ' s experiment has been a s u c c e s s ,  t h a t i t may t e a c h  o t h e r s i t i s p o s s i b l e t o extend l o v e 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 i e w , and Senator Rosewater i s the spokesman f o r a c y n i c a l , view.  pessimistic  T r o u t ' s i d e a l i s m and Senator R o s e w a t e r ' 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 e r a s e d a good p o r t i o n o f h i s memory o f the p a s t y e a r s .  W i t h h i s mind v i r -  t u a l l y a b l a n k , E l i o t i s f o r c e d t o make a d e c i s i o n w h i c h w i l l a l t e r d e c i s i v e l y the f u t u r e  o f the Rosewater f o r t u n e and h i s  d e c i s i o n r e f l e c t s the h o p e l e s s paradox, w h i c h f a c e s h i m .  By  p r o v i n g h i s s a n i t y , E l i o t m e r e l y p e r p e t u a t e s a system which is his  s l o w l y 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  back on a l l those he sought to h e l p .  however, i s e q u a l l y h o p e l e s s .  turns  The a l t e r n a t i v e ,  By a d m i t t i n g p a t e r n i t y o f a l l  those c h i l d r e n r e p u t e d t o be h i s , he m a i n t a i n s h i s t i e s w i t h the mass o f u n l o v e d and unwanted people and r e v e r t s former h o p e l e s s 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  the balance between p r i v a t e and p u b l i c demands w i l l irreversibly  to h i s  be  upset.  I f he a c c e p t s h i s r o l e as f a t h e r and as husband o f  that  117 i  c o u n t l e s s women, he must r e j e c t  h i s r o l e as husband o f  Sylvia.  H i s f i n a l words, spoken i n the s p i r i t o f C h r i s t , e p i t o m i z e the i d e a l i s m and a b s u r d i t y o f h i s g e s t u r e .  "Be f r u i t f u l  and m u l t i -  p l y " ( 1 9 0 ) , E l i o t e n j o i n s 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 " ( 1 5 ) .  E l i o t ' s f i n a l words w i l l  provide  Norman M u s h a r i , the l a w y e r f o r F r e d Rosewater, w i t h the  nec-  e s s a r y p r o o f t h a t E l i o t does c o n s i d e r h i m s e l f t o be something of a Messiah. some p e o p l e ,  He i s asked to perform s p i r i t u a l s e r v i c e s including baptizing infants.  r o l e o f s a v i o r i s t h r u s t upon E l i o t , repudiating i t .  He r e j e c t s  G-od t o p e o p l e " and r e v e r t s  for  A t every t u r n  the  and he seems capable o f  his father's  w a r n i n g not to " p l a y  to h i s r o l e as M e s s i a h .  The c o n -  c l u s i o n o f the n o v e l r e f l e c t s the f a i l u r e o f Rosewater  to  r e c o n c i l e the demands o f h i s c o n s c i e n c e w i t h the demands o f 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 that of  Howard C a m p b e l l , one o f r e j e c t i o n s .  Both he and Campbell  r e j e c t w o r l d s i n w h i c h they can f i n d no c o m f o r t a b l e Campbell escapes from r e a l i t y by i g n o r i n g the and s o c i a l f o r c e s about h i m ,  He c o n c e n t r a t e s ,  place. political  instead,  upon  h i s s e l f - c r e a t e d w o r l d o f romance where t h e r e are h e r o e s who admire good and h a t e e v i l .  E l i o t i s e q u a l l y immersed i n a  f a n t a s y w o r l d i n which a l l men l i v e h a r m o n i o u s l y and h a p p i l y together.  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 w e a l t h and power, he a t t e m p t s to c r e a t e a  u t o p i a f o r a l l the members o f Rosewater County, but he i s  as  i n c a p a b l e o f l i v i n g w i t h i n the c o n f i n e s o f h i s c r e a t e d w o r l d as Howard Campbell i s i n c a p a b l e o f l i v i n g w i t h i n h i s . u t o p i a f a i l s because i t cannot overcome r e a l i t y .  Eliot's  He l e a r n s ,  l i k e P r o t e u s and J o n a h , t h a t t h e r e can be no u t o p i a , t h a 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. U t o p i a s are not p o s s i b l e because, the c o n t r a r y ,  E l i o t also learns  that  despite a l l h i s efforts  to  l i f e remains "as s h o r t and b r u t i s h and mean as  ever." I n the f i n a l a n a l y s i s , E l i o t may be s i m p l y "a d r u n k a r d , a U t o p i a n dreamer,  a tinhorn saint,  an a i m l e s s f o o l "  (14),  a man who seeks to appease a g u i l t y c o n s c i e n c e r e s u l t i n g from h i s war e x p e r i e n c e and h i s r e c o g n i t i o n t h a t he has no s p e c i a l r i g h t t o the f o r t u n a t e  p o s i t i o n he h o l d s i n s o c i e t y .  Un-  d o u b t e d l y , t h e r e i s something o f s i m p l e appeasement i n some of E l i o t ' s g e s t u r e s .  He f r e q u e n t l y  o f f e r s money i n  sums" as a s u b s t i t u t e  f o r genuine c o n c e r n .  "trifling  Nevertheless,  i s an embodiment o f the h o p e l e s s paradox w h i c h c o n f r o n t s of Vonnegut's  he each  protagonists.  A l t h o u g h E l i o t ' s a t t e m p t s to l i e about r e a l i t y o r to p r e t e n d t h a t s q u a l o r and m i s e r y can be r e p l a c e d by compassion  119 and h a p p i n e s s are doomed t o the same f a i l u r e t h a t  overtakes  the a t t e m p t s o f each of V o n n e g u t ' s u t o p i a n dreamers,  Eliot  differs  Proteus,  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 .  C o n s t a n t , and Campbell each succumb t o the p r e s s u r e s upon them by the s o c i e t i e s i n w h i c h they l i v e . n o v e l s a l l end i n defeat  and d e a t h ,  exerted  The t h r e e  e i t h e r p h y s i c a l or  symbolic.  However, i n C a t ' s C r a d l e Vonnegut l e a v e s room f o r  reasonable  doubt about J o n a h ' s f i n a l g e s t u r e .  I f he  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  accepts  protagonists.  I f he "escapes to t e l l thee" as Ishmael does, h i s book may be r e a d as a t e s t i m o n i a l o f the d e t e r m i n a t i o n o f the t o s u r v i v e d i s p i t e overwhelming odds a g a i n s t E l i o t ' s decision i s quite clear.  individual  such a s u r v i v a l .  He chooses h i s l i v i n g work  o f a r t and h i s f i n a l words e x p l a i n h i s d e t e r m i n a t i o n to perservere.  That h i s f i n a l a c t o f acceptance must a l s o be,  p a r a d o x i c a l l y , an a c t o f r e l i n q u i s h m e n t , i s one o f the b o o k ' s telling ironies. V o n n e g u t ' s most r e c e n t attempt t o r e c o n c i l e the  desire  f o r the c r e a t i o n o f a b e t t e r p o s s i b l e w o r l d 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 Slaughterhouse-Eive, i n  w h i c h the p r o t a g o n i s t d e s p e r a t e l y a t t e m p t s t o 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 .  I n t h i s n o v e l Vonnegut c o n t i n u e s  t o examine the p o s s i b i l i t i e s o f e n t e r t a i n i n g  "fantasies  120 o f 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 , " but makes a s i g n i f i c a n t p e r s o n a 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 world.  fictional  Because the s u b j e c t o f the book i s V o n n e g u t ' s e x p e r -  i e n c e as a p r i s o n e r o f war i n Dresden and because he i n c l u d e s himself along with a host of f i c t i o n a l characters,  t h i s novel  t a k e s on an added s i g n i f i c a n c e i n the development o f V o n n e g u t ' s personal view. effort  T h i s n o v e l r e p r e s e n t s h i s most e x t e n s i v e  to u n d e r s t a n d the a t t r a c t i o n o f f a n t a s y and the  i t y o f r e a l i t y i n man's l i f e .  necess-  I n t h i s n o v e l he a t t e m p t s to  pursue the p o s s i b i l i t i e s o f 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 o f l y i n g about r e a l i t y w h i l e b e i n g f o r c e d to acknowledge i t .  (A p a r t o f each day — o r n i g h t ) as they have been l o o k i n g to me the p a s t seven years: as b e i n g NON-EXISTENT. That i s , t h e r e i s n o t h i n g . That t h e r e i s no God and no u n i v e r s e ; t h a t t h e r e i s o n l y empty s p a c e , and i n i t a l o s t and homeless and w a n d e r i n g and companionless Thought. And t h a t I am t h a t t h o u g h t . And God, and the U n i v e r s e , and Time, and L i f e , and D e a t h , andJoy and Sorrow and P a i n o n l y a grotesque and b r u t a l d r e a m , ' e v o l v e d from the f r a n t i c i m a g i n a t i o n o f t h a t i n s a n e Thought And so, a p a r t o f 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 o f 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 Y e a r s Mark Twain  ' I t was the f i r s t f a n c y c i t y I ' d ever s e e n , ' 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 h e r e , w i t h cadavers h a n g i n g a l l a r o u n d . 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 i c h a r d Todd  They ( T r a l f a m a d o r i a n s ) can see how permanent a l l the moments a r e , and they can l o o k a t any moment t h a 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 t h a 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 t h a t once a moment i s gone i t i s gone f o r e v e r . Slaughterhouse-Five K u r t Vonnegut, J r .  CHAPTER V I SLAUG-HTERHOUSE-EIVE Vonnegut s e x p e r i e n c e as a w r i t e r o f f i c t i o n lias taught !  him t h a t man s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f e x i s t e n c e l i e s 1  between i l l u s i o n and r e a l i t y .  somwhere  In Slaughterhouse-Five  Vonnegut a t t e m p t s once more to mediate between f a c t and fiction.  He c r e a t e s a f i c t i o n a l c h a r c t e r who  w i l d l y improbable f a n t a s i e s and who i n t e r p r e t s  of transport  a l l h i s experiences,  entertains  to a strange planet i n c l u d i n g those  t a i n i n g t o the war, i n the l i g h t o f h i s f a n t a s i e s travel.  I n a d d i t i o n to the p r o t a g o n i s t ,  per-  o f time  B i l l y Pilgrim,  the  a u t h o r 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 c h a r a c t e r an e x p e r i e n c e the d e s t r u c t i o n o f human l i f e .  involving  The r e a l i t y o f the  bombing o f Dresden i s an u n d e n i a b l e f a c t .  fire-  However, B i l l y  P i l g r i m and the a u t h o r f e e l a d i s t r u s t o f r e a l i t y and share a f e e l i n g t h a 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 b e a r .  Vonnegut i s c a r e f u l not t o l o s e t o u c h  w i t h r e a l i t y c o m p l e t e l y , as B i l l y P i l g r i m t h r e a t e n s t o do throughout the n o v e l .  A l t h o u g h he acknowledges the  authen-  t i c i t y o f 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 t o examine the f a n t a s i e s 121  as w e l l .  122 Throughout the n o v e l t h e r e i s a m i n g l i n g o f f a c t and  fiction.  When f a c t s  fantastic  such as the s e c r e t r a i d on Dresden are as  as the s i m i l a r d e s t r u c t i o n o f Sodom and Gomorrah, the  line  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 o f f a c t t o f i c t i o n i s e v i d e n t i n the opening words o f the n o v e l s A l l t h i s happened, more o r l e s s . The war p a r t s , anyway, are p r e t t y much true. 2 P o r each a s s e r t i o n o f f a c t or t r u t h t h e r e i s a q u a l i f i c a t i o n . I n the f i r s t c h a p t e r Vonnegut e s t a b l i s h e s true p a r t s of h i s n a r r a t i v e .  I n an e f f o r t  a few o f the  to " s e p a r a t e  the  r e a l from the f a k e " , he a l s o examines a number o f r e c o r d s , documents and books about h i s s u b j e c t . h e l p him to c l a r i f y h i s own s u b j e c t .  Two a c t u a l books M a c k a y ' s book,  E x t r a o r d i n a r y P o p u l a r D e l u s i o n s and the Madness o f Crowds, e x p l o r e s , among o t h e r t h i n g s , h i s t o r i c a l crusades.  the r e a s o n s f o r the  numerous  Mackay, who i s c r i t i c a l o f a l l  draws an i m p o r t a n t d i s t i n c t i o n between f a c t and o r what he c a l l s H i s t o r y and Romance.  fiction,  The C h i l d r e n ' s  C r u s a d e , ^ l i k e the Second World War, was a s l a u g h t e r has been r o m a n t i c i z e d by many.  crusades,  The memory o f the war  that offers  an o c c a s i o n f o r many to f a n t a s i z e about t h a t w h i c h never was.  123 I n S l a u g h t e r h o u s e - F i v e Roland Weary dreams o f 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 o u t w i t s an e n t i r e  W e a r y ' s d e l u s i o n becomes q u i t e c l e a r l y a case o f  army.  false  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 r e p e a t s a phrase from M a c k a y ' s book r e f e r r i n g to the "the g r e a t s e r v i c e s ( t h e musketeers) rendered t r u t h i s , of course, participants  they  to C h r i s t i a n i t y " (14, 4 4 ) .  The  t h a t Weary i s one o f the l e a s t  Christian  i n a crusade w h i c h r e n d e r s no s e r v i c e  whatsoever  to C h r i s t i a n i t y . The o t h e r book, Dresden, H i s t o r y , Satage and G a l l e r y , p r o v i d e s an account o f an e a r l i e r a t t a c k upon Dresden by the Prussians.  Man, i t  seems, has always been i n g e n i o u s  t o d e s t r o y the most b e a u t i f u l o f h i s c r e a t i o n s , them c o m p l e t e l y . Allies,  destroy  L i k e the  incend-  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 a t t a c k s are  and to  Compared w i t h the i n c e n d i a r i e s used by the  the P r u s s i a n bombs are p r i m i t i v e .  i a r i e s , however,  enough  o f each a t t a c k i s s i m i l a r .  s t r a t e g i c a l l y unimportant,  i s f o l l o w e d up by the v i c t o r s .  The two  and n e i t h e r  conquest  The d e s t r u c t i o n o f Dresden  by the A l l i e s was p a r t o f some " d e s i g n " unknown to  almost  everyone. I n t h i s opening c h a p t e r Vonnegut e n t e r s h i s w o r l d f o r the f i r s t t i m e . about a f i c t i o n a l  He b e g i n s and ends h i s  fictional story  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 o f h i s own l i f e same w a r .  and p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the  He e x p l a i n s t h a t t h i s " s h o r t and jumbled and  j a n g l e d " (17) n o v e l i s the r e s u l t o f twenty y e a r s o f 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 c o n -  c l u d e s t h a 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 t h o u g h o r i g i n a l l y " I thought i t would be easy f o r me t o w r i t e about the d e s t r u c t i o n o f Dresden, s i n c e a l l I would have t o do would be to r e p o r t what I had seen" (2). He d i s c o v e r s t h a t a s i m p l e r e p o r t i s not adequate t o convey the sense o f what the e x p e r i e n c e 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 p a t t e r n s or i n v e n t e d symmetries o f f i c t i o n adequate t o express the f e e l i n g s o f one who has p a r t i c i p a t e d i n such a remarkable and c h a o t i c e v e n t .  In h i s  n o v e l Vonnegut d i s p e n s e s w i t h the t r a d i t i o n a l concept o f b e g i n n i n g , m i d d l e , and end and, by so d o i n g , g a i n s the t o arrange  freedom  e p i s o d e s so t h a t they form a new and u n u s u a l  pattern. The b e s t d e s c r i p t i o n o f V o n n e g u t ' s t e c h n i q u e i s  the  one p r o v i d e d by the T r a l f a m a d o r i a n s when they e x p l a i n t h e i r "novels" 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  i n T r a l f a m a d o r i a n n o v e l s ; they a r e ,  narrative  l i k e Vonnegut's n o v e l ,  "schizophrenic telegrams" i n which each clump o f symbols i s a b r i e f , u r g e n t m e s s a g e — d e s c r i b i n g a s i t u a t i o n , a scene.  125  We T r a l f a m a d o r i a n s r e a d them a l l a t once, not one a f t e r the o t h e 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 t h a t the a u t h o r has chosen them c a r e f u l l y , so t h a t , when seen a l l a t once, they produce an image o f l i f e t h a 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 b e g i n n i n g , no m i d d l e , no end, no suspense, no m o r a l , no c a u s e s , no e f f e c t s . What we l o v e i n our books are the depths o f many marvelous moments seen a l l a t one time. ( 7 6 ) This 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 t o 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 V o n n e g u t ' s n o v e l s . The emphasis on c o n c i s e n e s s w h i c h becomes an i m p o r t a n t feature  o f V o n n e g u t ' s s t y l e w i t h the p u b l i c a t i o n o f Mother  N i g h t , i s s i m i l a r to the T r a l f a m a d o r i a n s t y l e . clumps o f symbols s e p a r a t e d by s t a r s "  "The b r i e f  i s b o t h the  technique  o f the T r a l f a m a d o r i a n n o v e l s and V o n n e g u t ' 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 Y o u , M r . Rosewater and  Slaughterhouse-  Five . The p r i n c i p a l d i f f e r e n c e i s an i m p o r t a n t one.  The  T r a l f a m a d o r i a n s 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 t o e x p e r i e n c e Time and Space as a s i m u l t a n e o u s moment r a t h e r t h a n as a sequence o f seconds o r inches.  T h i s i s not t o say t h a t E a r t h l i n g s do not e x i s t as  the T r a l f a m a d o r i a n s say they d o .  P h o t o g r a p h i c time  exposures  may serve t o c o n v i n c e us t h a t the T r a l f a m a d o r i a n s are  correct  126 i n s e e i n g us as " g r e a t m i l l i p e d e s " and the u n i v e r s e 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 w h i c h photography cannot overcome. what l i e s i n the f u t u r e .  We have no way o f s e e i n g  The ease w i t h which the T r a l f a m a -  d o r i a n s p e r c e i v e a l l time as though i t were i n prevents  stasis  them from p r o p e r l y u n d e r s t a n d i n g the human c o n c e r n  w i t h the p a s s i n g o f t i m e .  The T r a l f a m a d o r i a n s would he  incapable of understanding, t i o n a t the d i s a p p e a r a n c e  f o r example, C e l i n e ' s e x a s p e r a -  o f the people who crowd the  streets: Make them s t o p . . . d o n ' t l e t them move anymore a t 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 t h a t they w o n ' t d i s a p p e a r any morel ^ o r V o n n e g u t ' s f e e l i n g when f o r c e d to move on: There were l o t s o f t h i n g s t o stop and see— and t h e n i t was time t o go, always time t o go. (10) o r B i l l y P i l g r i m ' s response  to the s i n g i n g o f "That Old  Gang o f M i n e " : Gee, t h a t song went, but I ' d g i v e the w o r l d t o see t h a t o l d gang o f m i n e . And so o n . 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 o n g f o r e v e r o l d s w e e t h e a r t s and p a l s — G o d b l e s s em— And so o n . (148) 1  127 The T r a l f a m a d o r i a n v e r s i o n o f time has an i m p o r t a n t corollary.  Not o n l y do they e x p e r i e n c e a l l time s i m u l t a n -  e o u s l y , but they have the a b i l i t y t o choose from among the moments w h i c h ones they w i s h t o v i s i t ,  and n a t u r a l l y they  choose t o e x p e r i e n c e the p l e a s a n t moments.  The T r a l f a m a d o r i a n s  c o n s i d e r the E a r t h l i n g concept o f time s i m p l y an e r r o r , one w h i c h can be c o r r e c t e d .  but  In attempting to invent a  metaphor w h i c h d e s c r i b e s a d e q u a t e l y the E a r t h l i n g concept o f t i m e , the T r a l f a m a d o r i a n uses the example o f a man on a moving f l a t c a r t o whose head has been a t t a c h e d a l o n g p i p e t h r o u g h w h i c h he v i e w s a mountain r a n g e . s e r v e s i t s purpose,  f o r i t shocks the r e a d e r i n t o a r e c o g n i t i o n  o f j u s t now l i m i t e d h i s senses a r e . some l i t e r a l t r u t h ,  T h i s s t r i k i n g image  The metaphor a l s o  f o r s e v e r a l t i m e s Vonnegut i n v o k e s  s i m i l a r images t o d e s c r i b e h i s c h a r a c t e r s ' tives.  contains  limited  perspec-  B i l l y P i l g r i m j o u r n e y s s l o w l y a c r o s s Europe w h i l e  e n c l o s e d i n a boxcar and h i s o n l y v i e w o f the landscape p r o v i d e d by a narrow v e n t i l a t o r s h a f t . p l a c e d upon B i l l y ' s  is  The r e s t r i c t i o n  s i g h t i s an e x t e r n a l one imposed by the  Germans, but he a t l e a s t r e t a i n s a d e s i r e t o see and t o 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 s e l f - i m p o s e d and who r e f u s e  t o attempt t o e n l a r g e  their  128 c a p a c i t y to s e e .  Such a p e r s o n i s Roland Weary:  H i s v i s i o n o f the o u t s i d e w o r l d was l i m i t e d to what he c o u l d see t h r o u g h a narrow s l i t between the r i m o f h i s helmet and h i s s c a r f from home, w h i c h c o n c e a l e d h i s baby face from the b r i d g e o f h i s nose on down. (36) Weary's preoccupation w i t h f a n t a s i e s  o f the Romantic S e l f  obscures any v i s i o n o f r e a l i t y , and he i s s i m i l a r i n t h i s respect  to many o t h e r c h a r a c t e r s  i n the n o v e l .  Short-sighted-  n e s s i s b o t h a p h y s i c a l and a m e t a p h y s i c a l a f f l i c t i o n . very different this  Two  p e o p l e , P a u l L a z a r r o and W i l d Bob, a l s o have  disease. 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 o p t o m e t r i s t ,  whose job i s the improvement o f v i s i o n .  one  A t 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 o f a jade green m e c h a n i c a l o w l " w h i c h t u r n s out to be h i s optometer,  "an i n s t r u m e n t f o r measuring  refractive  e r r o r s i n e y e s — i n o r d e r t h a t c o r r e c t i v e l e n s e s may be p r e scribed" (48).  He a s s u r e s the woman whom he i s e x a m i n i n g  t h a t h e r eyes are f i n e ; she m e r e l y needs g l a s s e s f o r r e a d i n g . L a t e r , when B i l l y has e x p e r i e n c e d l i f e  on T r a l f a m a d o r e ,  he  a t t e m p t s to c o n v e r t E a r t h l i n g s by c o n v i n c i n g them o f the p o s s i b i l i t i e s o f s e e i n g 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 t h a t has n o t h i n g to do w i t h  glasses,  129 w h i c h a r e l i m i t e d d e v i c e s ( B i l l y wears t r i - f o c a l s and sees i n three dimensions). He t r i e s to c o n v i n c e people t h a t i t i s p o s s i b l e to  see  i n the f o u r t h d i m e n s i o n , w h i c h i s the r e a l m o f the i m a g i n a t i o n . As T r o u t e x p l a i n s i n h i s n o v e l , M a n i a c s i n the F o u r t h D i m e n s i o n , the causes o f m e n t a l d i s o r d e r s are i n the d i m e n s i o n w h i c h i s i n h a b i t e d by a l l the b i z a r r e of dreams. all,  fourth  creatures  E a r t h l i n g d o c t o r s " c o u l d n ' t see those causes a t  o r even imagine them"  (90).  B i l l y i s a b l e to move i n the f o u r t h d i m e n s i o n , he He i s a time t r a v e l l e r , which means t h a t he v i s i t s  says.  different  5  moments i n h i s l i f e ,  p a s t , p r e s e n t and  future:  B i l l y i s s p a s t i c i n t i m e , has no c o n t r o l over where he i s g o i n g n e x t , and t r i p s a r e n ' t n e c e s s a r i l y f u n . He i s i n a c o n s t a n t s t a t e o f stage f r i g h t , he s a y s , because he never knows what p a r t o f h i s l i f e he i s g o i n g to have to a c t i n n e x t . (20) L i k e a l l of Vonnegut's characters, c o n t r o l over h i s a c t i o n s . d i d not w r i t e .  B i l l y P i l g r i m has no  He has a p a r t i n a p l a y which he  L i k e a s o l d i e r , he i s a c t i n g a v e r y i n s i g n i f -  i c a n t p a r t i n a s c e n a r i o composed by a few  leaders.  The time t r a v e l l i n g w h i c h 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 . A l t h o u g h the movements o f B i l l y i n time are ' ' s p a s t i c ' , 1  are c o n n e c t i o n s between the j o u r n e y s .  there  U s u a l l y , an image or  130 a memory t a k e s 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 o f a c h i l d h o o d h a t h w h i c h h i s mother gave h i m . B i l l y c l a i m s t h a t he a c t u a l l y does t r a v e l i n t i m e , i t may be t h a 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 e x c e p t i o n o f the one his  death,  of memory.  but  involving  are t r a v e l s to the p a s t , are the e f f e c t s ,  possibly,  F o l l o w i n g the war, B i l l y ' s e m o t i o n a l s t a t e  is  q u i t e u n s t a b l e and, l i k e so many v e t e r a n s he q u i e t l y admits h i m s e l f to an a s y l u m .  "They had come here v o l u n t a r i l y ,  alarmed by the o u t s i d e w o r l d " ( 8 6 ) . his  I t was a l s o not  until  m i r a c u l o u s excape from the plane c r a s h on Sugarbush moun-  t a i n ("And I a l o n e am excaped to t e l l t h e e " ) t h a t B i l l y  first  began p u b l i c i z i n g the f a c t t h a t on the e v e n i n g o f h i s d a u g h t e r ' s wedding he was k i d n a p p e d by the His  Tralfamadorians.  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 m e n t i o n a n y t h i n g o f  t h i s i n c i d e n t i s r a t h e r weak: ripe" (26).  " I d i d n ' t t h i n k the time was  The r e a d e r has o n l y B i l l y ' s word f o r  the  a u t h e n t i c i t y o f h i s j o u r n e y s i n time and space s i n c e t h e r e no way he can prove what he s a y s .  Also,  several 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 o f n o v e l s by T r o u t . entire  s t o r y of the zoo on Tralfamadore f o l l o w s f a i r l y  the p l o t o f T r o u t ' s The B i g B o a r d .  is  The  closely  B o t h he and Rosewater,  131 a f e l l o w r e c l u s e from the o u t s i d e 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 . was a b i g h e l p "  Science  fiction  (87).  Through the a s s i s t a n c e  of science f i c t i o n ,  a v i e w o f the w o r l d which i s more a c c e p t a b l e  obtains  to him than  the one w h i c h accompanies h i s e x i s t e n c e as an L i k e so many o f V o n n e g u t ' s p r o t a g o n i s t s ,  Billy  optometrist.  Billy is dissatisfied  w i t h h i s own p e r s o n a l success i n a w o r l d i n w h i c h so few a r e successful.  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 n o v e l s those n e c e s s a r y hospitable world."  "fantasies  W i t h the a s s i s t a n c e  o f an i m p o s s i b l y  of T r o u t ' s novels  B i l l y c r e a t e s f o r h i m s e l f a w o r l d i n w h i c h p a i n , m i s e r y and death are i n c o n s e q u e n t i a l . happiness  i s the norm.  In B i l l y ' s  self-created  The T r a l f a m a d o r i a n zoo, the  w o r l d to w h i c h B i l l y i s t r a n s p o r t e d ,  fantastic  i s one i n w h i c h such  incongruous f i g u r e s as a b l u e movie s t a r l e t optometrist  world  and a t i m i d  can e x i s t t o g e t h e r c o n t e n t e d l y and  K i l g o r e T r o u t , the o r i g i n a t o r o f B i l l y ' s  fruitfully. fantasies,  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 w h i c h Trout i s eager t o have  substantiated.  The T r a l f a m a d o r i a n s t e a c h B i l l y t h a t a l l time i s h i s to k e e p . They t r y to c o n v i n c e B i l l y t h a t he can s a f e l y i g n o r e p a i n and death because n o t h i n g can be g a i n e d 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 w o r l d ends,  they c l a i m , when a  T r a l f a m a d o r i a n pushes a b u t t o n 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 t h a t o f She S i r e n s o f 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 o c c u r r e n c e because the "'moment i s  structured  t h a t way'' ( 1 0 1 ) .  unpleasant  They a d v i s e B i l l y t o i g n o r e the  moments and c o n c e n t r a t e  i n s t e a d on the p l e a s a n t  ones.  The  T r a l f a m a d o r i a n s are c o n v i n c e d t h a t E a r t h l i n g s can l e a r n t o d e v e l o p the a b i l i t y t o v i s i t o n l y 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 t o do, i f they t r i e d h a r d enough. Ignore the a w f u l t i m e s , and c o n c e n t r a t e 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 t o a more c o m f o r t a b l e , more p l e a s u r a b l e moment.  Not a l l o f the moments v i s i t e d  by B i l l y ,  ones.  however, are p l e a s a n t  Some o f the moments are  h a r s h , and o t h e r s are a t t r a c t i v e but dangerous.  Billy  f r e q u e n t l y about death and how i t f e e l s t o d i e .  The i d e a i s  a t t r a c t i v e to B i l l y ,  thinks  who t h i n k s t h a t b i r t h and death are v e r y  similar: T h i s was when B i l l y f i r s t came unstuck i n t i m e . H i s a t t e n t i o n began t o swing g r a n d l y through the f u l l a r c o f h i s l i f e , p a s s i n g i n t o d e a t h , w h i c h was v i o l e t l i g h t . There w a s n ' t anybody e l s e t h e r e , 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 t h e n B i l l y swung i n t o l i f e a g a i n , g o i n g backwards u n t i l he was i n p r e - b i r t h , w h i c h v/as r e d l i g h t and b u b b l i n g sounds. And t h e n he swung i n t o l i f e a g a i n and s t o p p e d . (37) B i l l y ' s mind stops a t a r e c o l l e c t i o n o f a swimming l e s s o n d u r i n g w h i c h he n e a r l y drowned.  The l e s s o n , w h i c h i s  like  an " e x e c u t i o n " , resembles numerous o t h e r t h r e a t s t o h i s existence.  Long b e f o r e 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,  Billy  deaths and t h r e a t s o f d e a t h .  experiences  His father  innumerable  dies i n a hunting  a c c i d e n t ; h i s d y i n g mother cannot u n d e r s t a n d how she got so old;  h i s w i f e d i e s o f monoxide p o i s o n i n g .  B i l l y with further  The war p r o v i d e s  o c c a s i o n s f o r t h i n k i n g about  death.  Throughout the war B i l l y l o n g s f o r the v i o l e t hum w h i c h r e p r e s e n t s "no p a i n , " and so he must be prodded, n e a r l y  beaten,  before he can be c o n v i n c e d to go o n . 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 Edenic v i s i o n s ,  his  an a l t e r n a t i v e to the problem o f l i v i n g i n  a w o r l d i n w h i c h p a i n and m i s e r y overshadow h a p p i n e s s . When p l a y e d backwards the war movie w h i c h B i l l y c o n c l u d e s w i t h a r e t u r n to E d e n .  watches  The image o f Eden a l s o  appears i n the p a t i n a o f the young German " a n g e l ' s " Billy,  l i k e many o t h e r Vonnegut p r o t a g o n i s t s ,  boots.  seeks a r e t u r n  134 t o a once b e a u t i f u l and p e a c e f u l time s y m b o l i z e d by prelapsarian  innocence.  The T r a l f a m a d o r i a n s " e n c l o s e him a c y l i n d e r o f p u r p l e light" is  (65) i n o r d e r to t r a n s p o r t  him to a unique Eden w h i c h  i n the form o f a zoo where he i s mated w i t h Montana  Wildhack.  They t e a c h B i l l y not to f e a r death or to mourn  over the l o s s o f a n y o n e ' s l i f e . Tralfamadorians claim,  I f i t were t r u e ,  as  the  t h a t time i s s t a t i c r a t h e r t h a n c o n -  t i n u a l l y moving, then the e x p r e s s i o n , "So i t goes", would be the most a p p r o p r i a t e response  to a l l m i s f o r t u n e ;  Now, when I m y s e l f hear t h a t somebody i s dead, I s i m p l y shrug and say what the T r a l f a m a d o r i a n s say about dead p e o p l e , w h i c h i s , 'So i t g o e s . ' (23) T h i s s t a t e m e n t , w h i c h f o l l o w s the mention o f each death i n the n o v e l , i s an i m p o r t a n t one, f o r i t r e f l e c t s the.  attitude  w h i c h i s a c q u i r e d by B i l l y t h r o u g h h i s e x p e r i e n c e on T r a l f a m a dore.  B i l l y ' s newly a c q u i r e d 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 w h i c h the n a r r a t o r makes about the God Grant Me The S e r e n i t y to A c c e p t The Things I Cannot Change, Courage To Change the Things I Can And Wisdom Always To T e l l the Difference  statement:  135 Among the t h i n g s w h i c h B i l l y P i l g r i m c o u l d n o t change were the p a s t , the p r e s e n t , and the f u t u r e . (52) N o t h i n g w i l l ever change. d e s i r o u s o f power as e v e r .  Man remains as s e l f i s h and B i l l y has l e a r n e d B o k o n o n s 1  l e s s o n , but f i n d s t h a t w i t h the a i d o f the T r a l f a m a d o r i a n s , he can a c c e p t l i f e r a t h e r t h a n deny i t .  P o r him l i f e  not have any s p e c i a l v a l u e , but he does n o t d e s p i s e either.  it  He l e a r n s t o overcome h i s d e s i r e to ' ' q u i t and s u r -  r e n d e r and a p o l o g i z e and ask t o be l e f t fact,  does  alone" (159).  In  B i l l y becomes a c t i v e where he was f o r m e r l y p a s s i v e .  He becomes engaged i n the t a s k o f p r e s c r i b i n g " c o r r e c t i v e lenses for E a r t h l i n g souls" (25).  H i s f a n t a s i e s g i v e him  the s t r e n g t h t o overcome h i s p a r a l y s i s and h i s d e s i r e have done w i t h  to  life.  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.  A l t h o u g h h i s f a n t a s i e s a r e d i s t i n g u i s h e d from  s i m p l e h a l l u c i n a t i o n s , an example o f w h i c h i s the i c e - s k a t i n g e p i s o d e ( 4 2 ) , they a r e , n e v e r t h l e s s , f a n t a s i e s .  Billy  accepts  the f a c t t h a t he can do n o t h i n g t o change any event i n h i s life.  T h i s 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  e x p e r i e n c e d so much m i s f o r t u n e , but i t i s a l s o an escape from i n v o l v e m e n t 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 w h i c h induce s l e e p , m e r e l y a way o f r e l i e v i n g h i s mind o f the burdens o f r e a l i t y . for  example, a s s i s t  the c r i p p l e s who come t o h i s door  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 . difficulty  He cannot,  as E l i o t Rosewater:  He f a c e s the  selling  same  how t o h e l p 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 b o s s . H i s door chimes c l a n g e d h e l l i s h l y . He c l o s e d 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 m a r c h ing w i t h a l o t of other p r i s o n e r s . It was a w i n t e r wind t h a t was b r i n g i n g t e a r s t o h i s e y e s . (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 e m o t i o n s . one hand, he f e e l s sad about the d i s c o m f i t u r e o f h i s  On the fellow  human b e i n g s , w h i l e on the o t h e r he i n s i s t s upon d e l i v e r i n g his  message o f hope.  Cadillac,  Such a s p l i t a l l o w s him to d r i v e a  l i v e i n an expensive house,  belong to  influential  c l u b s , and so on, w h i l e f e e l i n g s y m p a t h e t i c towards those who have n o t h i n g . B i l l y has l e a r n e d t h a t " e v e r y t h i n g was b e a u t i f u l , And nothing hurt" w i t h death,  (106).  As a v e t e r a n o f numerous  B i l l y returns  "duty-dances"  to t e l l h i s f e l l o w human b e i n g s  t h a t t h e r e i s hope f o r mankind. p o v e r t y , d i s e a s e , war and d e a t h .  B i l l y ' s panacea  cures  A l t h o u g h such a s o l u t i o n t o  137 the problems o f c o n f r o n t i n g p a i n and m o r t a l i t y i s an a g r e e a b l e one, i t i s not one w h i c h can be a c c e p t e d e a s i l y .  A l l of  B i l l y ' s i m p o r t a n t 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 e x p r e s s i o n , "He s a y s , " an e x p r e s s i o n w h i c h resembles phrase, Cradle.  the  " w r i t e s Bokonon", w h i c h i s used so f r e q u e n t l y i n C a t ' s 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 , o f 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 i m e s , has d e s c r i b e d i t t o a tape r e c o r d e r . The tape i s l o c k e d up w i t h h i s w i l l and some o t h e r v a l u a b l e s i n h i s s a f e - d e p o s i t box a t the I l i u m Merchants N a t i o n a l Bank and T r u s t , he s a y s . (122)  What r e m a i n s , even a f t e r is  B i l l y ' s arguments t o the  j u s t " p l a i n o l d death"  contrary,  (3).  Vonnegut, t o o , i s i n v o l v e d i n a "duty-dance w i t h and, l i k e B i l l y ,  death"  he seeks some way t o r e c o n c i l e h i m s e l f t o h i s  own l i m i t e d c o n d i t i o n .  L i k e T r o u t , Vonnegut e x p l o r e s  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 .  the  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 t o n e , 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 t o many o f B i l l y ' s e x p e r i e n c e s by c l a i m i n g , me.  substantiate  "That was I .  That was the a u t h o r o f t h i s book" ( 1 0 9 ) .  That was  He snares  B i l l y ' s c o n c e r n f o r e s t a b l i s h i n g some coherent view o f t i m e :  138 And I asked m y s e l f about the p r e s e n t : how wide i t was, how deep i t was, how much was mine t o k e e p . (16) Unlike B i l l y ,  who d i s c o v e r s t h a t a l l time i s h i s t o k e e p ,  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 o f death  t o human e x p e r i e n c e : •The t r u t h i s d e a t h , ' he w r o t e . 'I've fought n i c e l y a g a i n s t i t as l o n g as I c o u l d . . . d a n c e d w i t h i t , festooned i t , waltzed i t around...decorated i t with streamers, 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 world.  He r e c o u n t s r e c e n t  examples o f deaths  caused by war, c o m p e t i t i o n and even by a c c i d e n t .  Following  each o f these a c c o u n t s i s the T r a l f a m a d o r i a n e x p r e s s i o n , "So  i t goes."  The e f f e c t  o f q u o t i n g such a phrase i n the  c o n t e x t o f f a c t u a l d e t a i l s i s t o make the r e a d e r aware o f the d i f f i c u l t i e s  o f a d o p t i n g such a p a s s i v e a t t i t u d e  towards  fate. A l t h o u g h Vonnegut acknowledges the l i m i t a t i o n s o f B i l l y ' s fantasies,  he admits t h a t they do p r o v i d e a l e s s o n :  I f what B i l l y P i l g r i m l e a r n e d from the T r a l f a m a d o r i a n s i s t r u e , t h a t we w i l l a l l l i v e f o r e v e r , no m a t t e r how dead we may sometimes seem t o be, I am not overjoyed. S t i l l — i f I am g o i n g 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 h a t , I ' m g r a t e f u l t h a t so many o f those moments are n i c e . (182) B i l l y ' s f i c t i o n s may be i n a d e q u a t e ,  but t h e i r s t r e n g t h s are  p a r t i a l compensation f o r t h e i r weaknesses. B i l l y , most o f the o t h e r c h a r a c t e r s lous.  I n comparison to  i n the n o v e l are  Many i n v e n t f i c t i o n s w h i c h are h o p l e s s l y  and s e l f i s h .  The f a n t a s i e s  ridicu-  inadequate  o f b o t h Roland Weary and W i l d  Bob are o b v i o u s d i s t o r t i o n s o f r e a l i t y , and n e i t h e r o f these dreamers  s u r v i v e s the w a r .  B i l l y ' s daughter,  Barbara,  creates  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 h e r father.  In her fantasy  father.  I n o t h e r s t h e r e appears t o be a l a c k o f the  to dream o r t o i n v e n t . about the f u t u r e  she i s i n c o n t r o l of her  helpless capacity  An example i s the group who debate  of the n o v e l .  T h e i r i n a b i l i t y t o see beyond  t h e i r own l i m i t e d i m a g i n a t i o n s 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 inadequacy.  s t o r y are s t r o n g i n d i c a t i o n s o f  their  The scene i s a humorou©ne, f o r B i l l y ' s  story,  w h i c h he c l a i m s i s t r u e ,  i s the b a s i s ,  for Vonnegut's  fiction.  The scene i s , t h e r e f o r e ,  a c r i t i c i s m o f those whose narrow  d e f i n i t i o n s o f what a n o v e l i s and s h o u l d be p r e v e n t  them  from a c c e p t i n g new examples o f i m a g i n a t i v e w r i t i n g .  Critics  such as those s a t i r i z e d i n t h i s episode would deny man the o p p o r t u n i t y 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 i n his imagination "fantasies world."  construct  o f an i m p o s s i b l y h o s p i t a b l e  140 But  the c r i t i c s have no r e a s o n a b l e  alternatives  to  offer.  I n s t e a d , they appear c o n t e n t w i t h d i s c u s s i n g an a t r o p h i e d form. B i l l y i s " g e n t l y e x p e l l e d from the s t u d i o d u r i n g a commercial" because what he o f f e r s future  as a t h e o r y about  o f the n o v e l i s p r e p o s t e r o u s .  e x p e l l e d because he confuses  f i c t i o n with fact.  B i l l y i s quite r i g h t l y  two k i n d s o f e x p e r i e n c e .  offers h i s imaginative experiences confuses  the  He  as f a c t u a l ones, and so  Vonnegut, on the o t h e r  hand,  r e c o g n i z e s the v a l u e o f f i c t i o n i n our l i v e s but does not make the m i s t a k e o f c o n f u s i n g h i s f i c t i o n s w i t h H i s n o v e l s r e c o r d the e f f o r t  facts.  o f one man to f i n d a  successful  p o s i t i v e a t t i t u d e to the h o p e l e s s paradox t h a t c o n f r o n t s men who g i v e any thought  to the n a t u r e o f t h e i r l i v e s .  all His  n o v e 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 o f o p t i m i s m , but they are n e v e r w i t h o u t a c a r e f u l c r i t i c a l  skepticism.  S l a u g h t e r h o u s e - F i v e may w e l l be the l i m i t to w h i c h 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  answer t h a t he f i n d s i n the e x p e r i e n c e s nor i s i t an e n t i r e l y c o n s o l i n g one.  of B i l l y  Billy's  remain l a r g e l y i n a c c e s s i b l e and remote,  final Pilgrim,  fantasies  but Vonnegut i s moved  t o comment t h a t even i f such a v i e w o f l i f e as B i l l y has not a t t a i n a b l e ,  t h e r e are a p p r o x i m a t i o n s o f i t i n the  moments t h a t l i f e  provides.  is  happier  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 r o t e u s , C o n s t a n t , and C a m p b e l l : s u r v i v e s and they do n o t .  he  Even more t h a n J o n a h , B i l l y  is  an Ishmael f i g u r e who has "escaped t o t e l l thee" o f the wreckage o f h i s p l a n e and h i s newly a c q u i r e d knowledge about life.  B i l l y ' s s u c c e s s i s even g r e a t e r  Rosewater.  than t h a t o f E l i o t  He has guaranteed h i m s e l f the k i n d o f h a p p i n e s s  unknown t o any o t h e r o f Vonnegut*s p r o t a g o n i s t s . he s t i l l life,  However,  does not have a c o m p l e t e l y s a t i s f a c t o r y view o f  f o r h i s o u t l o o k i s too s i m p l e .  d i c t i o n s and c o m p l e x i t i e s .  It overlooks contra-  In short, 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 o f men. Vonnegut o f f e r s us the n e c e s s a r y b a l a n c e , 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 t o our common e x p e r i e n c e s .  By t a k i n g a p a r t i n h i s own  f i c t i o n a l w o r l d , Vonnegut has f o r c e d h i m s e l f t o c l a r i f y e x t e n t t o w h i c h c o n s o l a t o r y f i c t i o n s can be o f i n d e a l i n g w i t h the problems o f l i v i n g . is  an honest assessment  assistance  Slaughterhouse-Five  of t h i s s i t u a t i o n and i t i s  t o p r o j e c t what course Vonnegut c o u l d take a f t e r he makes i n t h i s most r e c e n t  novel.  the  the  difficult statement  B u t , i n c e r t a i n c a s e s , c a r r y i n g on, m e r e l y 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 w a l k e d t h r o u g h the w i l d e r n e s s o f 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 l a c e where was a den, and I l a i d me down i n t h a t p l a c e t o s l e e p , and as I s l e p t I dreamed a dream. I dreamed, and b e h o l d I saw a man c l o t h e d with rags, standing i n a c e r t a i n place, w i t h h i s face from h i s own house, a book i n h i s hand, and a g r e a t burden upon h i s b a c k . I l o o k e d , and saw him open the book, and r e a d t h e r e i n ; and as he r e a d he wept and t r e m b l e d , and not b e i n g a b l e l o n g e r to c o n t a i n , he broke out w i t h a l a m e n t a b l e 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 P r o g r e s s John Bunyan  CONCLUSION V o n n e g u t ' s r e c e n t p o p u l a r i t y has a t t r a c t e d c r i t i c a l interest. appraisals,  considerable  W i t h the e x c e p t i o n o f a few  c r i t i c s have c o n t e n t e d  l a v i s h p r a i s e on the n o v e l s .  themselves w i t h b e s t o w i n g  Such u n r e s t r a i n e d  bound t o b r i n g about a r e a c t i o n ,  serious  adulation  and i t h a s f i . a r e c e n t  article  i n The New York Review o f Books, J a c k R i c h a r d s o n o f f e r s e x t r e m e l y n e g a t i v e v i e w o f Vonnegut*s achievement. a c c u s e s Vonnegut o f c a p i t a l i z i n g upon the c u r r e n t f i c t i o n w h i c h c r e a t e s a f a c i l e "us" and "them"  is  an  He demand f o r  confrontation.  R i c h a r d s o n c l a i m s t h a t a t an age l i k e ours d e s e r v e s and g e t s "a  soft,  sentimental  satirist  l i k e Vonnegut, a p o p u l a r i z e r o f  naughty whimsy, a c o m p i l e r of e a s y - t o - r e a d  truisms  about  s o c i e t y who a l l o w s e v e r y o n e ' s h e a r t t o 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 v i e w i s a d i s t o r t e d one i s difficult  to prove.  The examples w h i c h he s e l e c t s  not  to represent  the q u a l i t y o f V o n n e g u t ' s work are h i s f i r s t novel, P l a y e r Piano, which, admittedly,  i s not V o n n e g u t ' s b e s t work, and a  s h o r t s t o r y o r i g i n a l l y p u b l i s h e d i n P l a y b o y and ''Welcome to the Monkey H o u s e . "  The o n l y o t h e r work o f  V o n n e g u t ' s w h i c h R i c h a r d s o n comments on i s  142  entitled  Slaughterhouse-Five  143 ( s i n c e the a r t i c l e i s a r e v i e w o f t h i s n o v e l ) . upon t h i s n o v e l ' s major r e f r a i n ,  He c e n t e r s  "So i t g o e s , " and c l a i m s  t h a t t h i s statement i s the e x p r e s s i o n of the n o v e l i s t ' s "infantile  stoicism" ( 8 ) .  Such a c o n c l u s i o n q u i t e o b v i o u s l y  m i s s e s the p o i n t o f t h i s p h r a s e .  "So i t goes" i s not  " i n f u r i a t i n g " because i t i s an e x p r e s s i o n o f the  author's  s u p e r i o r i t y o r complacency, but because i t i s a reminder t h a t , on the one hand, we r e s i g n o u r s e l v e s too e a s i l y t o our grim fate while,  on the o t h e r ,  t h e r e i s l i t t l e t h a t we can a c t u a l l y  do t o p r e v e n t such c a t a c l y s m s as the d e s t r u c t i o n o f D r e s d e n . L i k e the f i v e p r e v i o u s n o v e l s , S l a u g h t e r h o u s e - F i v e p o i n t s t o 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 t h a t 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  t h a t wars are perhaps our major means o f d e n y i n g the human i m p u l s e towards h a p p i n e s s ,  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 , t h e r e 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 f o r c e s w h i c h deny man the  attain-  ment of o r d e r and harmony, Vonnegut o f f e r s an uncompromising view o f the human s i t u a t i o n i n our t i m e .  L i k e C e l i n e , whom  he quotes i n S l a u g h t e r h o u s e - F i v e , Vonnegut r e f u s e s  to  avert  h i s eyes, t o i g n o r e what i s e v i d e n t t o the c r i t i c a l e y e .  At  the same time he i s s y m p a t h e t i c to the human d e s i r e f o r  order  and h a p p i n e s s . V o n n e g u t ' s c o n c l u s i o n seems t o be t h a t l i f e  is a  short,  144 c o n f u s i n g encounter w i t h randomness and u n c e r t a i n t y and that despite a l l efforts  to the c o n t r a r y , t h e r e i s no s i n g l e ,  i d e n t i f i a b l e g o a l t h a t men are s t r i v i n g f o r .  And even i f t h e r e  were, man must beware o f the f o l l y o f p r e t e n d i n g t o what i t i s .  understand  As L e s l i e F i e d l e r p o i n t s out c o n c e r n i n g 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 e x t e n t  to  w h i c h we r e b e l a g a i n s t t h i s u n c e r t a i n t y w h i l e r e m a i n i n g m i n d f u l t h a t i t i s our c o n d i t i o n , i s the e x t e n t t o w h i c h we mark o u r s e l v e s as human.  F i e d l e r ' s i d e a ( w h i c h he d e r i v e s from  M e l v i l l e ) t h a t the t r u e a r t i s t  i s one who says Noi  In  Thunder a p p l i e s t o Vonnegut: Here i s the u l t i m a t e n e g a t i o n , the Hard No p r e s s e d as f a r as i t w i l l go. Y e t " n o t h i n g " i s not q u i t e F a u l k n e r ' s l a s t word, o n l y the n e x t to l a s t . I n 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 . H a v i n g endured a v i s i o n o f the m e a n i n g l e s s n e s s o f 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 aggrieved 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 , t o r e n d e r the a b s u r d i t y w h i c h he p e r c e i v e s , t o know i t and make i t known. To know and t o r e n d e r , however, mean t o g i v e form; and t o g i v e form i s t o p r o v i d e the p o s s i b i l t y o f d e l i g h t — a d e l i g h t w h i c h 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 s p e a k i n g here o f The Sound and the F u r y but he  145 might w e l l be s p e a k i n g o f a n o v e l l i k e C a t ' s C r a d l e o r Slaughterhouse-Five.  F o r a l l the a t t r a c t i v e n e s s  of  b e a u t i f u l l i e s and the o p p o s i n g t e m p t a t i o n to l a p s e a g g r i e v e d s i l e n c e , Vonnegut p e r s i s t s o f human e x p e r i e n c e  the into  i n rendering h i s  i n i t s naked f o r m .  account  The sense o f l o s s and  o f d e n i a l i s so p o i g n a n t i n V o n n e g u t ' s n o v e l s because a c t u a l f a l l s so s h o r t o f the  the  possible.  "The f u n c t i o n o f American f i c t i o n , "  c l a i m s Ihab Hassan,  " i s to mediate between the h e r o ' s outrageous dream and sadness o f human m o r t a l i t y . " ^  the  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 t h a n 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 d e a t h .  Faced w i t h f i n i t u d e on every  s i d e , he l o n g s f o r a way o u t .  Vonnegut i m p l i e s t h a t so many  o f 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 r o u t e s b l o c k e d , t h a t new ways must be found and t h a t it  i s the t a s k o f the c r e a t i v e  There i s an a i r of d e s p e r a t i o n  i m a g i n a t i o n to s u p p l y them. i n V o n n e g u t ' s n o v e l s t h a t can  be t r a c e d from the f i r s t to the l a s t .  It  i s the  desperation  o f a man who l o n g s t o p r o v i d e these escapes but who i s  also  aware o f the i m p o s s i b i l i t y of d o i n g s o . In t h i s respect Slaughterhouse-Five represents a continuing interest  i n t h a t paradox w h i c h i s c e n t r a l t o  one o f V o n n e g u t ' s n o v e l s .  His protagonists  try  every  desperately  146 to l i e about t h e i r  c o n d i t i o n , but they are f o r c e d by c i r -  cumstances to acknowledge the p i t i l e s s t r u t h o f situation.  The theme, t h e n ,  their  i s constant i n Vonnegut s  What changes and develops are h i s p e r s p e c t i v e sonal r e l a t i o n s h i p with h i s protagonists.  and h i s  The f i r s t  pertwo  n o v e l s , P l a y e r P i a n o and The S i r e n s o f T i t a n , e x p r e s s major themes o f the r e m a i n i n g n o v e l s .  P r o t e u s and  that  T h e i r p r i v a t e l i v e s , a m b i t i o n s and dreams  are c h a l l e n g e d by the demands o f p u b l i c l i f e . P r o t e u s nor Constant  Proteus  dies.  I n Mother N i g h t Vonnegut i n t r o d u c e s c e n t r a l theme and,  Neither  can s u r v i v e when c h a l l e n g e d ;  s u r r e n d e r s and Constant  a v a r i a t i o n on h i s  i n so d o i n g , i n t r o d u c e s a  s t y l i s t i c change as w e l l .  significant  The theme i s s t i l l the  irrecon-  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  n o v e l a r t r a t h e r t h a n b u s i n e s s i s the refuge w h i c h the tagonist subject  seeks.  the  Constant  b o t h 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 c o n f i n e s them.  novels.  1  One cannot o v e r l o o k the importance  has f o r Vonnegut, a w r i t e r h i m s e l f .  this pro-  this  By a d o p t i n g  the r o l e o f 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 o f the f i r s t  two n o v e l s .  The  between the i m a g i n a t i v e w o r l d s h i s p r o t a g o n i s t s  correspondence c r e a t e and  147 the f i c t i o n a l w o r l d s the w r i t e r c r e a t e s becomes an  important  p a r t o f each o f the f o l l o w i n g n o v e l s . V o n n e g u t ' s r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h Howard W. C a m p b e l l , J r . is difficult  to a s s e s s because Vonnegut d i s t a n c e s 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 c o n f e s s i o n as a man who i s by t u r n s amusing, p i t i f u l , the p r o t a g o n i s t  and a d m i r a b l e .  I n t h i s r e s p e c t he  resembles  o f a n o t h e r 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 J e a n B a p t i s t e Clamence, Campbell i s a  judge-penitent,  a man whose i n d i c t m e n t o f h i m s e l f f o r c r i m e s commited humanity becomes, mankind.  against  t h r o u g h a m i r r o r image, an i n d i c t m e n t o f a l l  I n 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 o f the age.  Campbell and  Clamence o p e n l y 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 t h e m s e l v e s . age t h a t demands a m e s s i a h . as w e l l as those of o t h e r s , one i s  They are e x p i a t o r y v i c t i m s f o r an Campbell pays f o r h i s own crimes but no s a l v a t i o n f o l l o w s and no  redeemed.  D e s p i t e the o v e r t l y p e s s i m i s t i c statement w i t h w h i c h Mother N i g h t c o n c l u d e s , Vonnegut suggests t h a t an first  step towards any s a t i s f a c t o r y  important  s o l u t i o n to our p r e s e n t  dilemma must be an u n f l i n c h i n g l y honest acknowledgement of our p e r s o n a l and c o l l e c t i v e g u i l t .  Clamence's most  positive  148 statement  i n The F a l l c o r r e s p o n d s t o the i m p l i c i t  Mother N i g h t makes:  statement  "We cannot endure the innocence of a n y -  one, whereas we can s t a t e w i t h c e r t a i n t y the g u i l t o f a l l . E v e r y man t e s t i f i e s t o the crime o f a l l the o t h e r s — t h a t  is  my f a i t h and my h o p e . " ^ V o n n e g u t ' s f o u r t h p r o t a g o n i s t , Jonah o f C a t ' s C r a d l e , attempts  t o f i n d a p o s i t i v e c o u r s e somewhere between p r i v a t e  and p u b l i c demands.  He i s o f f e r e d o p p o r t u n i t i e s t o  b o t h p r i v a t e and p u b l i c l i v e s , the two.  live  but seeks some mean between  He i s tempted by the refuge o f f e r e d by Bokononism  and Mona Aamons Monzano and he i s tempted by the o f f e r of the p r e s i d e n c y o f San L o r e n z o .  He i s content i n n e i t h e r  situation  and by the end o f the n o v e l i t i s c l e a r t h a t he has y e t find a satisfactory  to  course.  The major s h i f t w h i c h t a k e s p l a c e i n t h i s n o v e l i s from a defeatist  attitude  optimism i s guarded.  to a more o p t i m i s t i c one, a l t h o u g h J o n a h ' s Jonah i s determined t o f i n d a s u c c e s s f u l  s o l u t i o n t o the problem o f l i v i n g i n a w o r l d t h a t c o n s p i r e s to destroy 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 t o t e l l t h e e . "  But i f he manages t o s u r v i v e  where P r o t e u s , C o n s t a n t , and Campbell do n o t , left the  the r e a d e r  to wonder whether h i s s u r v i v a l presages a n y t h i n g f o r future. The n o v e l ' s c o n c l u s i o n i s c o l o u r e d by V o n n e g u t ' s  is  149 characteristic if  cynicism.  The  n o v e l poses the q u e s t i o n  genocide i s the f a v o u r i t e passtime  s u i c i d e the  s u r v i v o r s , i t i s up selves.  f o r m e r n o v e l s and  any  t o them t o a n s w e r t h e q u e s t i o n f o r them-  i t i s too  B l e s s You,  Vonnegut  I f t h e book r e a c h e s  I n s h o r t , i t i s the duty  answer before God  o f t h e human r a c e , i s  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 ?  l e a v e s the q u e s t i o n unanswered.  that  Mr.  of the  s u r v i v o r s to f i n d  an  late. R o s e w a t e r t a k e s up  examines i t from another  t h e theme o f  the  p o i n t of view.  I n s o f a r as the 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  expanding  the  i t i s the  s e l f t o s a t i s f y the needs of masses of people,  companion p i e c e to Mother N i g h t , w h i c h e x p l o r e s the and  resources  of the e x c l u s i v e s e l f .  w i t h i t s a l l u s i o n to Faust, God  B l e s s You,  Mr.  Where M o t h e r  o f f e r s a view of  recesses Night,  dissolution,  Rosewater o f f e r s a view of  salvation.  E l i o t R o s e w a t e r , a shabby p r o p h e t i m p a t i e n t over  the  failure  o f a m e s s i a h t o a p p e a r , becomes t h e m e s s i a h h i m s e l f .  Unfor-  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 u r human m e s s i a h s a r e  limited.  adequate s u b s t i t u t e s f o r grace  Money and and  faith.  of  good v / i l l a r e i n The  novel 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 , b u t a s t a t e m e n t a b o u t our  inability  t o save o u r s e l v e s .  s u c c e s s f u l messiah than  R o s e w a t e r i s no more a  i s Constant,  and  he  i s , i f anything,  150 a l l the more p a t h e t i c because he i s the e n g i n e e r o f h i s own hopeless plan f o r s a l v a t i o n .  I f l o v e was seen i n Mother N i g h t  as too e x c l u s i v e and c o n c e n t r a t e d on too s m a l l an a r e a ,  it' is  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 Y o u , M r . R o s e water. 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 t h a t g i v e n the c h o i c e 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 , chooses the l a t t e r ,  and d e s p i t e the apparent  Rosewater  a b s u r d i t y of  h i s f i n a l s t a t e m e n t , a sure s i g n o f h i s r e l a p s e i n t o i n s a n i t y , he i s determined to p e r s e r v e r e .  He i s not w i l l i n g t o  the s t r u g g l e to h e l p improve the l o t o f m a n k i n d . Rosewater*s n o b l e g e s t u r e ,  forsake  Despite  however, Vonnegut*s p e r s o n a l  p i c i o n i s e v i d e n t i n the tone o f the n o v e l .  sus-  He i s p r a c t i c a l  enough to~know t h a t such a l t r u i s t i c schemes are doomed t o failure.  Our S c h w e i t z e r s s u r v i v e i n j u n g l e s , not i n modern  metropolises. S l a u g h t e r h o u s e - F i v e t a k e s the r e a d e r backward and f o r ward i n t i m e , back t o the war, f o r w a r d to the end o f the w o r l d . But i t a l s o t a k e s the r e a d e r backward i n t o V o n n e g u t ' s  fict-  i o n a l w o r l d 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, Gampbell,  T r o u t , and Rosewater.  a c h a r a c t e r whose presence  This l a s t novel also  introduces  i s f e l t throughout the n o v e l s ,  a l t h o u g h he appears o n l y once as an i m p a r t i a l r e c o r d e r o f  151  the a c t i o n s o f a n o t h e r . gut h i m s e l f .  T h i s f i g u r e i s , o f c o u r s e , Vonne-  H i s attempt to i d e n t i f y h i m s e l f as a  protag-  o n i s t i n t h i s n o v e l c u l m i n a t e s the e x p l o r a t i o n o f h i s t i o n s h i p w i t h h i s f i c t i o n a l c h a r a c t e r s and t h e i r  rela-  fantasies.  B i l l y P i l g r i m r e a d s s c i e n c e f i c t i o n t a l e s l o a n e d to him by Rosewater.  But Rosewater i s a f i c t i o n a l c h a r a c t e r from a  former n o v e l who i s , i n a sense, on l o a n .  Similarly,  water can thank K i l g o r e Trout f o r the s c i e n c e f i c t i o n But  Rosebooks.  Trout i s a l s o a f i c t i o n a l c h a r a c t e r i n v e n t e d 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 i m a g ination. 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 s o l v e the a m b i g u i t y c o n c e r n i n g h i s i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h h i s protagonists  t h a t f i r s t appears i n Mother N i g h t a n d  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 i m i n i s h e s the i r o n i c d i s t a n c e evident i n h i s other works. and o b s e r v a t i o n s  that i s  Through h i s p e r s o n a l  he a t t e m p t s to c l a r i f y  comments  Rosewater,  B i l l y P i l g r i m , K i l g o r e T r o u t , and by i m p l i c a t i o n , Ulm and o t h e r s .  so  the e x t e n t to w h i c h ,  i n a sense, he i s or i s not Rumfoord, C a m p b e l l ,  Constant,  continues  Proteus,  The a u t h o r a s k s h i m s e l f to what  e x t e n t are t h e i r f a n t a s i e s h i s .  He has p l a y e d at b e i n g a  s c i e n c e f i c t i o n w r i t e r l i k e Trout as he has a t b e i n g 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 a t many p o i n t s . two have been s c o u t s ,  seen the Dresden r a i d , and r e t u r n e d  the U n i t e d S t a t e s to marry and become s u c c e s s f u l But  The  t h e r e are d i f f e r e n c e s  to  businessmen.  a l s o and the n o v e l examines t h e s e .  S l a u g h t e r h o u s e - F i v e i s an i m p o r t a n t work f o r Vonnegut because it  i s , among o t h e r t h i n g s ,  and a s s u m p t i o n s .  a r e - e v a l u a t i o n ofppast  relationships  I t i n e v i t a b l y c r e a t e s d i v i s i o n s and s e p a r -  a t i o n s t h a t a r i s e from such c l o s e a n a l y s i s . What emerges from a r e a d i n g o f S l a u g h t e r h o u s e - F i v e i s a c o n f i r m a t i o n t h a t Vonnegut l o n g s d e s p e r a t e l y  f o r what our  c e n t u r y needs and so c o n s p i c u o u s l y l a c k s , a v i e w o f  life  w h i c h i s m e a n i n g f u l and u n i f i e d , not t o say w i t h o u t c o m p l e x i t y , but w i t h o u t the a n g u i s h i n g c o n f u s i o n t h a t undermines our f a i t h i n the purpose of l i f e .  To r e p l a c e c o n f u s i o n w i t h  coherence  and s e n s e l e s s death w i t h m e a n i n g f u l l i f e are among V o n n e g u t ' s aims. Clamence says v e r y p o i g n a n t l y i n The F a l l t h a t "one p l a y s a t b e i n g i m m o r t a l and a f t e r  a few weeks one d o e s n ' t  whether or not one can hang on t i l l gut' s protagonists fantasies.  even know  the next d a y . " ^  a l l desire i m m o r t a l i t y through  Proteus desires a mythic wilderness  M a l a c h i want to be immutably c o n s t a n t .  Vonne-  their  eden.  Campbell w i s h e s to  153 create a world i n a r t time.  so pure t h a t i t can s u r v i v e o u t s i d e  Jonah wants t o overcome the n e c e s s i t y o f always p r e s s -  i n g f o r w a r d i n t o f u r t h e r doubt by c a p t u r i n g the i n d o m i n a t a b l e Leviathan.  Rosewater wants t o r e - c r e a t e  the myth o f  bounty w h i c h America once appeared t o o f f e r i t s And, f i n a l l y ,  infinite  settlers.  B i l l y P i l g r i m wants t o conquer time and death  by d i s c o v e r i n g a w o r l d t o t a l l y e l s e w h e r e . Vonnegut shares these dreams by i n v e n t i n g them and g i v i n g shape t o them, but he a l s o r e a l i z e s how h o p e l e s s o f attainment  they a r e .  I n the end he i s l e f t w i t h the i n s o l u b l e  paradox t h a t i s i m p l i c i t i n the p h r a s e , impossibly hospitable world."  asked God.  'Certainly,'  of an  They are i m p o s s i b l e because  they are j u s t t h a t — f a n t a s i e s . Adam as Bokonon r e c o r d s i t :  "fantasies  Perhaps God d i d r e p l y t o  " ' E v e r y t h i n g must have a p u r p o s e ? '  s a i d man.  ' T h e n I l e a v e i t to you t o Q  t h i n k o f one f o r a l l t h i s , '  s a i d God.  The need f o r redemptive f a n t a s i e s  And He went away."  increases i n proportion to  the i n c r e a s e 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, p o v e r t y , ness and d e a t h .  These are the c o n s t a n t s ,  t o imagine w o r l d s , e i t h e r p a s t or f u t u r e , s t r u c t i v e elements are not p r e s e n t .  sick-  but man never ceases i n w h i c h these d e -  Satan's advice to  the  young boy i n The M y s t e r i o u s S t r a n g e r echoes V o n n e g u t ' s a d v i c e to us:  "Dream o t h e r dreams and b e t t e r , "  dreams are doomed.  even though these  NOTES INTRODUCTION 1.  Vonnegut has t u r n e d to f i l m s a g a i n r e c e n t l y , t h i s time w i t h an a d a p t a t i o n o f S l a u g h t e r h o u s e - F i v e » an e n t r y 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 . ,  Slaughterhouse-Five  (New Y o r k ,  1969)  P. 7 4 . 3.  K u r t Vonnegut, J r . ,  4.  Frank Kermode, The Sense o f an E n d i n g (London, 1966), p . 17 K u r t Vonnegut, J r . , God B l e s s Y o u , M r . Rosewater  5.  C a t ' s C r a d l e (New Y o r k , 1963), p . 13.  (New Y o r k , 1965J, p . 37. 6.  I b i d . , p . 20.  7. 8.  Vonnegut, C a t ' s C r a d l e , p . 1 8 9 . T h i s p h r a s e , w h i c h Vonnegut uses i n the f u l l t i t l e o f S l a u g h t e r h o u s e - F i v e , i s d e r i v e d from a statement made by Ce*line i n w h i c h the F r e n c h w r i t e r i n d i c a t e s t h a t "No a r t i s p o s s i b l e w i t h o u t a dance w i t h d e a t h . "  9.  Kermode, The Sense o f an E n d i n g , p . 164. I n d i s c u s s i n g a n o v e l w h i c h has as i t s e p i g r a p h a passage from the l a s t a c t o f 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 n a t u r e o f human f i c t i o n s ; they are b o t h n e c e s s a r y and h o p e l e s s l y i n a d e q u a t e .  10.  The phrase i s K e r m o d e ' s .  11.  Vonnegut, S l a u g h t e r h o u s e - F i v e ,  12.  R i c h a r d P o i r i e r , A World Elsewhere (London, 1966), p . 6.  154  p.  3.  155 "So t h a t even a t the moment o f w o r l d l y defeat the hero has managed to c r e a t e , l i k e the e x i l e d C o r i o l a n u s , "a w o r l d e l s e w h e r e . P o i r i e r ' s study d e a l s w i t h the v a r i o u s strategems employed by A m e r i c a n w r i t e r s to c r e a t e 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 t o the one w h i c h the' s o c i a l man i s forced to l e a d . 11  13.  K u r t Vonnegut, J r . , P l a y e r P i a n o (New Y o r k , p. 316.  14.  Tony Tanner, "The U n c e r t a i n Messenger: A Study o f the N o v e l s o f 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 ( W i n t e r 1969), 297-315. To d a t e , t h i s i s the b e s t a v a i l a b l e commentary on V o n n e g u t ' 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 m y s t e r i o u s m i s s i o n s w h i c h the p r o t a g o n i s t s are f o r c e d to undertake w h i l e s e a r c h i n g f o r ways to escape b e i n g used by o t h e r s .  15.  Mark Twain, Which Was the Dream?, e d . J o h n S. Tuckey ( B e r k l e y , 1 9 6 7 ) . Tuckey r e f e r s t o an i n c i d e n t i n w h i c h Twain was awakened suddenly by h i s w i f e , and i n the moments o f s e m i c o n s c i o u s n e s s , he had a s e n s a t i o n t h a t the e n t i r e w o r l d was a f i r e . Tuckey a l s o n o t e s t h a t i n h i s l a t e r y e a r s Twain became more and more p r e o c c u p i e d w i t h the "dream o f d i s a s t e r " theme.  Chapter  1952),  1  1.  P a u l P r o t e u s ' name d e r i v e s from P r o t e u s the Greek sea god who tended P o s e i d o n ' s s e a l s . Vonnegut's a l l u s i o n to the p r o t e a n man i s an i r o n i c one, f o r P a u l P r o t e u s i s , l i k e h i s namesake, c a p t u r e d and f o r c e d t o show the means o f 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 P i a n o (New Y o r k , 1969), p . 140. 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 the t e x t .  3.  B u r r o u g h s , the a u t h o r o f numerous s c i e n c e f i c t i o n n o v e l s  156 as w e l l as o f the famous e x p l o i t s o f T a r z a n , resembles V o n n e g u t ' 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 . B o t h Burroughs and T r o u t attempt to p r o v i d e " f a n t a s i e s o f an i m p o s s i b l y h o s p i t a b l e world." 4.  The d e s i r e to escape from the demands o f s o c i e t y has l o n g been a f e a t u r e o f A m e r i c a n l i t e r a t u r e and i t c o n t i n u e s to obsess A m e r i c a n w r i t e r s . Proteus' e f f o r t s to escape can be compared t o s i m i l a r g e s t u r e s by Y o s s a r i a n i n H e l l e r ' s Catch-22 (New Y o r k , 1961), C h i e f Bromden i n K e s e y ' s One Flew Over the C u c k o o ' s Nest (New Y o r k , 1962), and Kenneth L e P e t e r s i n Bruce J a y F r i e d m a n ' s l a t e s t n o v e l , The D i c k (New Y o r k , 1 9 7 0 ) .  5.  Throughout t h i s episode i n v o l v i n g the " I n d i a n " and the w h i t e man Vonnegut appears to be p a r o d y i n g c e r t a i n r o m a n t i c accounts o f 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 w h i c h the a c t o r makes echoes H i a w a t h a ' s p a r t i n g words i n w h i c h he e n courages h i s t r i b e to heed the w h i t e 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 i n t e n d e d to parody those o f the numerous n o b l e savages i n James Fennimore C o o p e r ' s L e a t h e r s t o c k i n g T a l e s . Natty 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 t o embody the c o n f l i c t w h i c h Cooper cannot resolve. He i s the i n t r e p i d guide who a s s i s t s the w h i t e man i n h i s conquest o f 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 i m . A t the same t i m e , he cannot l i v e c o m f o r t a b l y 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 r e e s p i r i t s , u n f e t t e r e d by s o c i e t y ' s demands. The problem t h a t f a c e s 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 o f America i s coming to and where the m a c h i n a t i o n s o f i t s people a r e to have an end, the L o r d o n l y k n o w s . " Bumppo can o n l y a s s e r t h i s own i n d e pendence and, i n the f a c e of a s h r i n k i n g f r o n t i e r , can o n l y set out f o r v i r g i n t e r r i t o r y . Vonnegut u n d e r s t a n d s t h a t the problem l e f t u n s o l v e d by Cooper has become more s e r i o u s as the p r e d i c t a b l e occurs. The w i l d e r n e s s has shrunk and o n l y token  157 s e c t i o n s o f w i l d e r n e s s r e m a i n . These neatlys e c t i o n e d 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 v e r y n a t u r e p r e v e n t s P r o t e u s ' p o s s i b l e escape.  Chapter  II  1.  K u r t Vonnegut, J r . , The S i r e n s o f T i t a n (New Y o r k , 1959), P ' 7 . A l l subsequent r e f e r e n c e s 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 text.  2.  Rumfoord's v i e w resembles i n many ways t h a t g i v e n the young boy i n Mark Twain* s The M y s t e r i o u s S t r a n g e r . I n t h a t s t o r y S a t a n , who has a c c e s s to the l o n g v i e w o f e x i s t e n c e , a t t e m p t s , l i k e Rumfoord, t o c o n v i n c e the young boy t h a t d e s t i n y i s i r r e v ersible. The young b o y ' s r e l u c t a n c e t o a c c e p t such a p r o p o s i t i o n and the ingenuous n a t u r e o f h i s p r o t e s t s a g a i n s t the m i s e r y w h i c h the f u t u r e h o l d s f o r mankind a l l o w Twain t o comment upon the c o n t i n u i n g prominence o f m i s e r y i n the l i v e s of human b e i n g s . I f a l l e v e n t s are i n e v i t a b l e , t h e n the i n q u i s i t i v e mind wonders why BO many o f t h e s e 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 t o mankind. As T w a i n ' s s t o r y 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 o n l y too eager t o t o r t u r e one a n o t h e r f o r the sake o f some r i g h t e o u s cause. In t h e i r frenzy to achieve happiness, E a r t h l i n g s i n f l i c t upon themselves the most h i d e o u s o f encumbrances w h i c h s i m p l y i n c r e a s e t h e i r misery. I t i s just t h i s p r e d i l e c t i o n of human b e i n g s f o r c a u s i n g s u f f e r i n g t h a t Vonnegut s a t i r i z e s i n The S i r e n s o f T i t a n .  3-.  Vonnegut may have i n t e n d e d a l o o s e p a r a l l e l between The S i r e n s o f T i t a n and G - u l l i v e r ' s T r a v e l s (a work w h i c h Vonnegut r e f e r s t o 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 t r a n g e l a n d s and encounters s t r a n g e c r e a t u r e s . He must b l o c k the e n t r a n c e to h i s cave d w e l l i n g so t h a t the Harmoniums cannot t o t a l l y c o v e r him as the  158  L i l l i p u t i a n s c o v e r L e m u e l . However, Unk i s the r e a l Lemuel whose j o u r n e y s must end i n a r e t u r n t o 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 w o r l d as t h a t w h i c h s u f f i c e s f o r B o a z . 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 t o remain on Mercury g a i n s U n k ' s r e s p e c t . Mercury i s a p a r a d i s e f o r Boaz, a man who n e v e r had a p r o p e r p l a c e i n s o c i e t y . However, C o n s t a n t ' s p a r a d i s e must i n c l u d e o t h e r humans. W a l t e r M . A b b o t t , et a l , The B i b l e Reader (New Y o r k , 1969),  P.  572.  I am d r a w i n g here upon an i d e a developed by Kermode i n s e v e r a l o f 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 d e v i c e s t o t e l l us about the complex w o r k i n g s o f human n a t u r e , but when f i c t i o n s are used as o t h e r t h a n t o o l s o f l e a r n i n g they v e r y e a s i l y become absurd and even t y r a n n i c a l . T h i s i s an i d e a t h a t I have t r i e d t o 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 t h a t i t i s c e n t r a l t o V o n n e g u t ' s t h e o r y o f the use o f f i c t i o n s . M a l a c h i the prophet r a i s e s the q u e s t i o n about the j u s t i c e of God, and so echoes J o b ' s l a m e n t . Robert S c h o l e s , The F a b u l a t o r s (New Y o r k , 1 9 6 7 ) , p . 6 4 . S c h o l e s ' study o f contemporary ' ' f a b u l a t o r s " i n c l u d e s o n l y a b r i e f c h a p t e r on V o n n e g u t ' s work, p r i n c i p a l l y C a t ' s C r a d l e and Mother N i g h t . He u s e s t h e s e n o v e l s t o i l l u s t r a t e the t e c h n i q u e and t h e o r y o f b l a c k humor, and so c o n c e n t r a t e s 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 M y s t e r i o u s S t r a n g e r (New Y o r k , 1 9 6 2 ) , p . 2 5 2 . S a l o o f f e r s Constant an o p p o r t u n i t y t o possess a h a p p i e r s t a t e and, i n e f f e c t , t o do as S a t a n t e l l s the young boy: "Dream o t h e r dreams, and b e t t e r ' . " A n o t h e r c h a r a c t e r f o r whom t h i s advice i s very important i s B i l l y P i l g r i m .  159 Chapter  III  1.  K u r t V o n n e g u t , J r . , M o t h e r N i g h t (New Y o r k , 1966), p. 3 3 . A l l s u b s e q u e n t 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 t h e 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 n o t a new o n e , i t h a s 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 technique a l l o w s him t o assume a n i r o n i c d i s t a n c e f r o m h i s character.  3.  V o n n e g u t may h a v e b e e n i n f l u e n c e d b y t h e u s e 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 Lolita. The e d i t o r o f " L o l i t a , o r t h e C o n f e s s i o n o f a W h i t e Widowed M a l e " i s , l i k e the e d i t o r o f Campbell's Confessions, a p r u d e n t man o f good t a s t e who s e e s h i s t a s k as r e p r o d u c i n g t h e manuscript faithfully, "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 f e w t e n a c i o u s details." B o t h "H.H." a n d C a m p b e l l w r i t e w i t h i n t h e 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 simply t o reproduce the t e x t s accurately. The m a n u s c r i p t s a p p e a r p o s t h u m o u s l y since both authors d i e i n p r i s o n . I n a d d i t i o n , they contain- s e v e r a l d i r e c t addresses 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 o n t h e p a r t o f Nabakov and Vonnegut i s t o f o r c e t h e r e a d e r i n t o t h e r o l e o f a j u r y member a n d t o f o r c e him t o p a s s judgment upon t h e a c 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 t h e 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 t h e 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 a s a w r i t e r .  160 Chapter IV 1.  K u r t Vonnegut, J r . , C a t s C r a d l e (New Y o r k , 1963), p . 114. A l l subsequent r e f e r e n c e s 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 P r u f r o c k t h a t " I have measured out my l i f e w i t h c o f f e e s p o o n s , " and can ask, t o o , "Then how s h o u l d I b e g i n to s p i t out a l l the b u t t - e n d s o f my days and ways?"  3.  Herman M e l v i l l e , M o b y - D i c k , e d . C h a r l e s F i e d e l s o n , (New Y o r k , 1964), p . 29.  4.  The i s l a n d o f San L o r e n z o i s , l i k e so much i n t h i s n o v e l , a b l e n d o f r e a l and i m a g i n a r y e l e m e n t s . I t i s m o d e l l e d upon the example o f 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 t o u n i t e m e d i c i n e and s c i e n c e w i t h b l a c k magic and s u p e r s t i t i o n . "Papa" Monzano i s but one o f the many c h a r a c t e 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 w e l l - k n o w n p e r s o n . Others i n c l u d e Newton H o e n i k k e r , a d i m i n u t i v e S i r I s a a c Newton (Newt whose power i s d i s p r o p o r t i o n a t e t o h i s s i z e a l s o resembles the newts or salamanders i n K a r e l C a p e k ' s War W i t h 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 B a k u n i n , the R u s s i a n anarchist.  5.  M e l v i l l e , M o b y - D i c k , p . 247  6.  The i d e a t h a t a l l man's a c t i o n s are a p a r t o f a cosmic farce i s recurrent i n Vonnegut's n o v e l s . It compares w i t h I s h m a e l ' s f e e l i n g t h a t "There are c e r t a i n queer times and o c c a s i o n s i n t h i s s t r a n g e mixed a f f a i r we c a l l l i f e when a man t a k e s t h i s whole u n i v e r s e f o r a v a s t p r a c t i c a l j o k e , though the w i t t h e r e o f he but d i m l y d i s c e r n s , and more t h a n s u s p e c t s t h a t the j o k e i s a t n o b o d y ' s expense but h i s own" ( 3 0 2 ) .  1  Jr.  161 Chapter  V  1.  K u r t V o n n e g u t , J r . , God B l e s s Y o u , Mr. R o s e w a t e r (New Y o r k , 1 9 6 5 ) , 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 a n d w i l l be i n c l u d e d i n the t e x t .  2.  The  3.  E l i o t ' s comparison of h i m s e l f to Hamlet i s a l s o q u i t e i r o n i c b e c a u s e 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 s o n directions.  4.  Vonnegut uses the p l o t s of 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 o f h i s own i d e a s . Some o f t h e p l o t s a r e , i n f a c t , p l o t s of Vonnegut's f i c t i o n as well. T r o u t ' s 2BR02B, w h i c h c o n t a i n s t h e f i r s t w o r d s o f H a m l e t ' s famous s o l i l o q u y , c o n t a i n s t h e 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 which i s the s u b j e c t o f "Welcome t o t h e Monkey H o u s e . "  5.  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 .  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 C a m p b e l l uses i n Mother Night. "No y o u n g 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 n e e d no u n c r i t i c a l love. 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 tragedies w i t h casts of 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 they can l o o k f o r " (44).  Chapter 1.  VI  R e a l i t y r e p e a t e d l y usurps f i c t i o n i n Vonnegut's n o v e l s . Behind 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 of f i c t i o n i n t o f a c t i n t h e p r e v i o u s n o v e l s , s t a n d s t h e image o f D r e s d e n , a o n c e 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 a s a r e s u l t o f one o f t h e m i r a c l e s o f m o d e r n strategic warfare.  162 2.  K u r t Vonnegut, J r . , S l a u g h t e r h o u s e - F i v e (New Y o r k , 1969), p . 1. A l l subsequent r e f e r e n c e s 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 w h i c h Vonnegut does not m e n t i o n , but to w h i c h he may a l l u d e i n the r e f e r e n c e to the C h i l d r e n ' s Crusade, i s Hermann H e s s e ' s The Journey t o the E a s t (New Y o r k , 1 9 5 6 ) , a n o v e l w h i c h 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 s h i p 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 n o v e l s i s the problem w h i c h L u k a s , the a u t h o r o f 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 e x p e r i e n c e s i n t o a w r i t t e n f o r m . A t one p o i n t Lukas e x p l a i n s to the n a r r a t o r t h a t I thought I had e x p e r i e n c e d 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 o f them; the r o l l o f f i l m i n my head seemed m i l e s l o n g . But when I sat a t my w r i t i n g desk, on a c h a i r , by a t a b l e , the r a z e d v i l l a g e s and woods, the e a r t h tremors caused by heavy bombardment, the c o n g l o m e r a t i o n o f f i l t h and g r e a t n e s s , o f f e a r and h e r o i s m , o f mangled stomachs and heads, o f f e a r o f death and grim humor, were a l l immeasurably remote, o n l y a dream, were not r e l a t e d to a n y t h i n g and c o u l d not r e a l l y be c o n c e i v e d . (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 S l a u g h t e r h o u s e - . F i v e , p . 18.  5.  Billy,  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 d e a t h , i s a time t r a v e l l e r i n a n o t h e r sense. He i s " a l l wandering mankind" ( C a t s C r a d l e , p . 55) h i s t o r i c a l l y r e g a r d e d . He j o i n s w i t h V o n n e g u t ' s o t h e r p r o t a g o n i s t s 1  163 on t h e i r p i l g r i m a g e t h r o u g h 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 bearing h i s burden t h r o u g h " w i l d e r n e s s 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 that 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 w h i c h f e a r f u l overthrow both m y s e l f , w i t h t h e e , my w i f e , and y o u , sweet babes, s h a l l m i s e r a b l y come t o r u i n ; except (the w h i c h I see n o t ) 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 P r o g r e s s ( T o r o n t o , 1964), p . 1 7 ) . B i l l y P i l g r i m w i t n e s s e s one c o n f l a g r a t i o n i n Dresden and r e t u r n s w i t h h i s message o f hope f o r man. He seeks to a v o i d the f i n a l , apocalyptic f i r e . 6.  C e l i n e , Death on the I n s t a l l m e n t P l a n . Quoted by Vonnegut i n S l a u g h t e r h o u s e - F i v e , p . 18.  Conclusion 1.  Jack R i c h a r d s o n , "Easy W r i t e r , " The New York Review of Books, 2 J u l y 1970, p .  2.  K u r t Vonnegut, J r . ,  3.  L e s l i e F i e d l e r , No I Literature  7.  Slaughterhouse-Five, I n Thunder;  p . 3.  E s s a y s on Myth and  ( B o s t o n , I 9 6 0 ) , p . I4.  4.  I b i d . , p . 18.  5. 6. 7.  Ihab Hassan, R a d i c a l Innocence (New Y o r k , 1 9 6 1 ) , p . 329. A l b e r t Camus, The F a l l (New Y o r k , 1956), p . 110 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  Abbott,  S. J . , W a l t e r M . , et a l .  The Bruce P u b l i s h i n g C o . , Bunyan, J o h n .  Camus, A l b e r t .  Toronto:  New Y o r k :  War W i t h The Newts.  Publishing Corporation, Celine, louis-Perdinand.  Vintage Books, New Y o r k :  Death on the  Leslie.  Literature. Hassan,  Ihab.  1966.  Nol  I n Thunder:  Boston:  New  E s s a y s on Myth and  Beacon P r e s s ,  R a d i c a l Innoncence:  I960.  S t u d i e s i n the  New Y o r k :  Contemp-  Harper and Row, 1961.  The J o u r n e y t o the E a s t .  Noonday P r e s s , Kermode, P r a n k .  New Y o r k :  I960.  o r a r y American N o v e l . Hesse, Hermann.  Berkley  Installment Plan.  J o u r n e y to the End o f the N i g h t .  Fiedler,  1956.  1967.  New American L i b r a r y ,  Directions,  The New  1964.  The P a l l .  New Y o r k :  New Y o r k !  1969.  The P i l g r i m ' s P r o g r e s s .  American L i b r a r y ,  Gapek, K a r e l .  The B i b l e Reader.  New Y o r k :  The  1956.  The Sense o f an E n d i n g :  Theory of F i c t i o n .  London:  Studies i n  the  Oxford U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s ,  1966. Continuities.  London:  1968.  164  Routledge  and Kegan P a u l ,  165 Lodge, D a v i d .  "The N o v e l i s t a t the  The C r i t i c a l Q u a r t e r l y ,  Crossroads."  2, No. 2 (Summer 1 9 6 9 ) ,  105 - 132. M e l v i l l e , Herman.  Moby-Dick o r . The Whale.  The B o b b s - M e r r i l l Company, I n c . , Nabakov, V l a d i m i r . Corporation, P a l m e r , Raymond C.  Lolita.  Indianapolis;  1964.  New Y o r k :  Berkley Publishing  1955. " V o n n e g u t s Major C o n c e r n s . " 1  Iowa E n g l i s h Yearbook,' No. 14 ( P a l l 1969), 3 Poirier,  Richard.  A World E l s e w h e r e :  i n American L i t e r a t u r e . Press,  10.  The P l a c e o f S t y l e  London:  Oxford U n i v e r s i t y  1966.  Richardson, Jack.  "Easy W r i t e r . "  The New York Review o f  Books, 2 J u l y 1970, pp. 7 - 8 . Scholes, Robert.  The F a b u l a t o r s .  University Press, .  New Y o r k :  Oxford  1967.  Review of S l a u g h t e r h o u s e - F i v e ,  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:  N o v e l s o f K u r t Vonnegut, J r . "  A Study o f  The C r i t i c a l  Quarterly,  2, No. 2 ( W i n t e r 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 J a n u a r y 1971. p . 1 5 .  the  166 Twain, M a r k .  The M y s t e r i o u s S t r a n g e r and Other  New Y o r k :  The New American l i b r a r y ,  Stories.  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 , e d . John S. Tuckey. U n i v e r s i t y of C a l i f o r n i a Press, Voltaire.  Candide or Optimism.  Berkley:  1967.  Middlesex:  Penguin Books,  1970. Vonnegut,  Jr.,  Kurt.  Player Piano.  New Y o r k :  Avon Books,  1952. .  The S i r e n s o f T i t a n .  New Y o r k :  Canary i n a Cathouse. Publications,  Inc.,  Mother N i g h t : Campbell, J r . .  Greenwich, C o n n . :  The C o n f e s s i o n s  Dell,  New Y o r k :  Dell,  Slaughterhouse-Five  .  Dell,  1961.  1963.  or P e a r l s Before  Swine.  1965.  Welcome t o the Monkey House.  New Y o r k :  Fawcett  of Howard W.  Avon Books,  God B l e s s Y o u , M r . Rosewater New Y o r k :  1959.  1961.  New Y o r k :  Cat's Cradle.  Dell,  New Y o r k :  or the C h i l d r e n ' s  Dell,  1968.  Crusade.  1969.  Happy B i r t h d a y , Wanda J u n e .  New Y o r k :  Dell,  1970.  

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