Kurt Vonnegut, an American author and a modern-day Mark Twain, right down to the bushy mustache and black humor, Vonnegut has written dozens of satirical novels whose central theme is life’s cosmic joke on humanity. His best-known books include “Cat’s Cradle”, “Harrison Bergeron”, and “Slaughter House-Five”. His trademark writing style blends satire, black comedy, and science fiction in these books. Vonnegut’s “Slaughter House-Five” is an example of satire, which is a work that makes fun of something serious. In this case it is war. It goes from Billy’s experience of World war II as a soldier and POW, to Tralfamadore, the alien planet to which Billy was abducted, to the present day, where Billy is a successful “. . .optometrist . . .” (Klinkowitz 3), as well as a husband and father. Throughout the novel, Vonnegut uses various forms of humor such as “. . . sarcasm, exaggeration, and irony. . .” (Klinkowitz 5) to get across one main point: war is senseless. In every section of the novel that is about World War II, there is satire there to set the mood. One example of satirizing events experienced in WWII was after Billy was captured by the Germans. He was thrown on a boxcar of a train and all the Americans captured were given a coat to wear. Everyone else’s coat was from a dead soldier with brass buttons, numbers and stars. Billy’s was the only one from a civilian, not only a civilian but a woman. “The coat that Billy Pilgrim got had been crumpled and frozen in such a way, and was so small, that it appeared to be not a coat but a sort of large black, three-cornered hat. There were gummy stains on it, too, like crankcase drainings or old strawberry jam. There seemed to be a dead, furry animal frozen to it. The animal was in fact the coat’s fur collar” (Vonnegut 81- 2). Vonnegut's humor is demonstrated primarily through black humor. Examples of Vonnegut's black humor in “Slaughter House-Five” is Vonnegut’s use of phrases and words he uses in his novels...
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