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The role of technology in Kurt Vonnegut's writing

Uploaded by dsshaffer on Dec 29, 2000


Thesis: Technology is the villain in Kurt Vonnegut’s works because of his hatred of corporate insensitivity and his awareness of the destructive social impact of science and technology.

I. Kurt Vonnegut has a great awareness of the destructive social impact of science and technology.
A. Contraptions that Vonnegut calls “social transplants” replace contact with the awful real relatives and friends with synthetic ones.
1. Computers minimize human contact even better than TV’s and CD players with headphones can.
2. Vonnegut voices his hate of the computer because it is a nervous system outside of our own.
3. The start of this was in the 4th century before Christ; audiences accepted people who memorized things to say on stage as genuine relatives.
4. Films and plays show us people talking much more entertainingly than really people talk and shows humans making sounds much lovelier than real humans make.
5. All of these have contributed to our lack of contact with our families and other humans
B. We no longer have developed imaginations because of technological developments.
1. Parents and teachers must be present to help develop our imaginations.
2. Imagination was very important once because it served as our major source of entertainment.
a. People used to be able to read a book and envision the story in their mind and that was entertainment.
b. Now there are shows, actors, movies and television to show us the story.
C. He believes the American dream has materialized into a junkyard by way of the glories of technology.
1. Technology and salesmanship have stripped and raped the land and divested the people of a sense of pride.
2. People are no longer the hard workers they used to be because machines do their job for them.
3. Many Americans are jobless because of the computerization in corporations, and Vonnegut blames American scientists and technologists for this.
4. Only those who still have manual labor to perform are truly happy.

II. Vonnegut has a deep hatred of corporate insensitivity.
A. Vonnegut’s job at General Electric provided him with much material for his novels
1. He saw a computer-operated milling machine while he worked at G. E.
a. It made perfect sense to have a little box make the decisions.
b. He hated the idea though because it was hurting the humans who get dignity from their jobs.
2. His brush with science at G. E. instilled in him a profound dislike...

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Uploaded by:   dsshaffer

Date:   12/29/2000

Category:   Literature

Length:   12 pages (2,690 words)

Views:   1320

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