2007 Student Research Conference:
20th Annual Student Research Conference

Language & Literature

"Lonesome No More!": Kurt Vonnegut's Battle with Modern Isolation
Harry L. Althoff
Dr. Martha Bartter, Faculty Mentor

Kurt Vonnegut has acquired a great deal of notoriety during his long literary career, though his works have often been dismissed as idle science fiction. Yet it is clear from his novels and stories that Vonnegut has spent a great deal of his life battling a problem nearly unique to twentieth-century America: as our individualist culture marches forward into triumph or ruin, so too do Americans become cripplingly isolated from their peers. For most of his career, isolation is seen as an inexorable threat that looms larger as humanity “progresses” to an unknown end. The only reprieve offered is in his last novel, Timequake (1996), a brief message of momentary hope from an older man. Perhaps, looking back on this series of novels, there may be no permanent fix for Vonnegut’s problem of isolation in the modern world, but there is still hope every day for individuals to reach out to one another however possible.

Keywords: Kurt Vonnegut, Vonnegut, isolation, Timequake


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 25-2
Location: OP 2115
Time: 10:00 am

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