Happy Birthday, 1951
‘Happy Birthday, 1951’ is a short story written by Kurt Vonnegut. The story takes place in Dresden in Germany. The story is essentially about an old man that constantly tries to teach a six year old boy, how he believe the world should be like. The title ‘Happy Birthday, 1951’ refers to 24 October 1951 where the U. S. President Harry Truman declares that the war with Germany is officially over. That also elucidate why the soldiers are leaving the city. During the World War II, Dresden was bombarded by British and American aircraft and the whole city was completely destroyed. That explains why the old man and the boy live in the ruins in Dresden. At that time people can’t live in the city without documents, since the boy doesn’t have documents the old man asks him when he wants his birthday to be, the boy answers that he wants it to be tomorrow. The old man decides to give him a memorable present for birthday, as a birthday present he decides that they are going to a peaceful place without war. At his birthday they go to the forest, while they are trying to find a place to sit, the boy suddenly sees a rusted tank, the tank gets the boy’s interest ,and he asks the old man if he can go to it. The old man refuses and then they go deeper into the forest. Eventually they find an exceptional place to sit, and they lay down for a nap. In a while after the old man wakes up alone, the boy isn’t there. The old man panics. In the end the old man finds the boy who was in the tank playing soldier. The main characters in this story are the old man and the boy. The old man feels guilty because he hasn’t been a good father for the boy, he expresses that several times in the story for example in "I haven't been a good father… You are supposed to get presents." (7. 30 - 32). Even thought the old man isn’t the parent to the child, he still undertakes the responsibility for not giving him a birthday. The old man hates the war and everything that has...
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