"Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward." -Kurt Vonnegut
Vonnegut was imprisoned in a slaughterhouse in WWII and survived the Allied bombing of Dresden during his internment. This experience is one he returns to again and again in his works — both fiction and nonfiction.
Vonnegut's worldview is one that explores the depths of human's capacity for kindness and cruelty while often landing on an absurdist conclusion about the meaning of life.
In this class, we'll read four short stories and two novels (and likely some other excerpts) from Vonnegut.
Along the way, we'll explore how his worldview appears in his works and analyze literary themes while writing papers and giving student-led class lectures.
Read Several Texts
In this class, we’re going to read four of Kurt Vonnegut's short stories from the collection Welcome to the Monkey House, two novels (Mother Night and Slaughter-House Five), and some selections from his nonfiction essays in Armageddon in Retrospect.
Throughout the class, we'll be exploring the writing techniques Vonnegut uses as well as larger literary themes.
Dig Deep and Gain Analysis Skills
This class serves as practice for the type of deep dive students might take into a particular author in a college-level setting.