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One of the key ideas Kurt Vonnegut discusses, and then reiterates, throughout the entire work is that humor is a natural defense mechanism to deal with all the horrible things in the world we live in.While defying the natural plot would be common for most works, there is still a sense of movement.While this novel is autobiographical, it is not a life story in the way that so many other autobiographies are, and therefore lacks a conventional plot line.
This suggestive volume now makes available the substance of his point of view.” --Irwin Edman, New York Herald Tribune “The best and most mature expression of his thought.”—Journal of Philosophy“Not only a master of exposition but a man of catholic interests and many-sided erudition....
In Paradise Lost, Satan’s famous rallying cry celebrates the power of the mind to overcome physical and emotional suffering.
One of the twentieth century’s greatest philosophers presents the results of his lifetime study of man’s cultural achievements.
An Essay on Man is an original synthesis of contemporary knowledge, a unique interpretation of the intellectual crisis of our time, and a brilliant vindication of man’s ability to resolve human problems by the courageous use of his mind.
The plot is an evolving, overriding series of arguments.
Discussions include everything from why oil is the worst addiction possible, to the need to just be kind to other people above all else.
Questions are posed concerning war, politics, and humanity, in general.
Vonnegut is very quick to compare his experiences fighting in World War II, generally considered the epitome of the definition of a moral war.
Vonnegut's first essay discusses his life as a soldier, young, just a kid, and the experience of taking cover, listening to the bombs hit overhead.
The beginning thus suggests youth, and as the essays move on there is a sense of aging, even though Vonnegut loves to jump back and forth chronologically, sometimes by decades in the same chapter.