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Fussell, Paul. The Great War and Modern Memory. New York: Oxford University Press, Grosz, Elizabeth. Volatile Bodies: Toward a Corporeal Feminism. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, Heller, Joseph. New York: Dell, Herring, George. New York: Alfred Knopf, Isaacs, Arnold. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, Jeffords, Susan. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, Jones, James.

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New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell, Karnow, Stanley. Vietnam: A History. New York: Viking Press, Lash, Scott. London: Sage, Lee, Cremilda Toledo. Limon, John. Mailer, Norman. The Naked and the Dead. New York: Signet, Marling, Karal Ann and John Wetenhall. McLaughlin, Robert. Melley, Timothy. Meyer, Eric.

Nadel, Alan. Durham: Duke University Press, Nealon, Jeffrey T. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, New York: Quadrangle Books, Phillips, Jayne Anne.

Machine Dreams. Pynchon, Thomas. New York: Penguin, Reed, Peter J. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, Roeder, George, Jr. New Haven: Yale University Press, Seed, David. The Fictional Labyrinths of Thomas Pynchon. London: MacMillan Press, Tololyan, Khachig. Charles Clerc. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, Weisenburger, Steven. Athens: University of Georgia Press, D onald E.


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M orse Breaking the Silence V Art can only manage so much repair against annihilation. And he did so in light of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Vietnam. Morse The devastation wrecked on Dresden from the air corresponds in kind but not in scale to the arrest, trial, and senseless execution of Edgar Derby in Slaughterhouse-Five. Vonnegut focuses on the blatant irony of a famous, major city being incinerated with tens of thousands dead in the rubble, while an American soldier picks up a teapot out of the ruins, is placed under arrest, put on trial, sentenced, and executed on the spot.

The answers Job himself finally heard from out of the whirlwind puzzled him for they explained nothing.

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Vonnegut demurs suggesting that the destruction of the innocent was as common during that war as it was when Job bewailed his fate. Returning home after being repatriated as a Prisoner of War POW , he discovered although he could share interesting stories about the war and the comradery he experienced, that he failed again and again to find the right words with which to describe the massacre, its aftermath, and its meaning—if any. In The Sirens of Titan, for example, he probed into human history for the answers, but found nothing there but absurdity. In Mother Night he examined the possibility of good collaborating with the forces of evil in order to subvert and ultimately destroy such forces, but concluded that this kind of naivete was no match for a truly powerful evil force, such as Fascism.

In God Bless You, Mr. But good works ultimately do not appear to slow evil down. Instead, they actually may encourage it to greater extravagances of connivance and fraud.

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Bloom’s Guides a Farewell to Arms

In American literature, probably the best-known confrontation of an individual with commonplace death on the battlescape occurs in Stephen 88 Donald E. Why you? Why us for that matter? Why anything? Because this moment simply is. Have you ever seen bugs trapped in amber?

Pilgrim, trapped in the amber of this moment. There is no why. A series of messengers arrived bringing him news not of family members being captured by strange beings in a flying saucer, but of appalling destruction. Naturally Job is heart-stricken.

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He rends his clothes and goes and sits on the village dunghill in deep mourning. Similarly, Dresden was a good city—that is, an open, undefended civilian city whose architectural beauty was legendary. The object of satiric attack turns out to be a complacent response to the horrors of the age. The horror of Dresden is not just that it could happen here, in an enlightened twentieth century.

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The real horror is that events such as Dresden continue to occur and no one seems appalled. As a man of faith, he also comes to accept the goodness of his Creator, although that goodness may not always be apparent in the less than perfect world in which he must live. Occasionally the power of human reason and goodness does, however, momentarily prevail over evil. Rose- 90 Donald E. Morse water gives all he has away to frustrate the unscrupulous young lawyer, Norman Mushari, and Malachi Constant in The Sirens of Titan at long last learns to love.

In Slaughterhouse-Five, there may well be such a momentary triumph of goodness, but if so it is fleeting and fairly complex. Billy Pilgrim and Montana Wildhack are put on exhibit as interesting specimens of an endangered species in an extra-galactic Tralfamadorian zoo. Although their captors have long ago concluded, based upon thousands of years of observation, that the most prominent characteristic of human beings appears to be their ability to self-destruct, these two humans copulate and produce an offspring.

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After all, no sane person would want to have a child under such hopeless circumstances. But Montana Wildhack and Billy Pilgrim, less worldly-wise and far more childlike, under much less favorable conditions in the Tralfamadorian zoo amidst their Sears Roebuck furnishings, reproduce to the delight and glee of their audience. Greiner To help account—at least in part—for unmerited human suffering he examines the accidental nature of life.

There is an important difference between the novels, however. In The Sirens of Titan the accidents are caused by visitors from Tralfamadore who manipulate all human history for their own ends. Worse, as Salo their messenger points out, these visitors are not even human beings or sentient creatures, but machines. In Slaughterhouse-Five, on the other hand, there appears no purpose whatsoever in human history nor is anything or anyone in control. Like Voltaire, Vonnegut also invents a character who simply accepts everything for the best.

Pangloss in Candide. Each asks Job in turn: Why did you expect that your goodness would give you immunity from the effects of evil or from accidents of nature? Human beings do not enjoy such immunity.


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  8. Suffering simply happens irrespective of person. It is simply a part of all human experience. But the little Lord Jesus No crying He makes. The only time Billy cries in the novel is over the sorrowful plight of some horses []. One critic even reads the novel as a rewriting of the New Testament! Morse proven too challenging for some narrow-minded Americans, especially those who serve on school boards and other official bodies.

    They have many times attempted to ban, censor, or otherwise destroy the novel. The unnerving implications of such a position are clear. If human beings cannot perceive, much less receive rewards or punishments, then why should anyone do good rather than do evil? According to the Book of Job and much of Judeo-Christian belief, a good person is a person who does good for its own sake rather than out of hope of reward or from fear of punishment. Good people are good rather than evil because that is who and what good people are. When people do good that becomes their reward.

    Someone who does evil, on the other hand, is simply someone who does evil and that in turn becomes its own punishment. Most are innocent. Hence Gulliver is a commonplace little man and Alice a commonplace little girl. One of the main effects of war. On 29 May, just three days after being repatriated, Pfc. Vonnegut, Jr. He went on to describe how he became a prisoner of war subjected to brutal inhuman conditions that killed many fellow prisoners. Billy accommodates to his Dresden experience and accepts without qualm the ubiquity of death.

    Dolores K.