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The connection between genius and madness is a well-known one in modern culture almost to the point that it is considered a clich Such a label does not affect its accuracy in the case of Kurt Vonnegut Jr His literature is world-famous and Vonnegut has been awarded numerous awards However Vonneguts narrative style and the characters of his novels reflect the symptoms of serious mental illness especially schizophrenia While Vonneguts works can be read partly as social criticisms many problems result from such an interpretation since that is not their primary mode A satirist by definition takes a set of ethical absolutes and compares them to something that is considered wrong by his ethical absolute using humor black or otherwise to establish his point Kennard 102 For example Voltaire in his Alphabet of Wit protests the printing of paper money as a sham 47 Then he goes on to provide an alternative investment in farming and manufacturing Alphabet of Wit Voltaire 48 But unlike Voltaire Vonnegut provides no alternatives in his criticisms with his wit he destroys everything Chricton 106 Furthermore Vonnegut cannot be a satirist because he has no ethical absolutes Kennard 103 Vonnegut never sets one character up as a hero nor as a villain good and evil as they exist in his stories are not represented Chricton 106 Characters have no moral responsibility either According to Vonneguts novels there is no relation between human action and the events that take place in human lives Kennard 102 Vonnegut in short refuses to say who is wrong Chricton 107 The example of Voltaire again provides the contrast of a true satirist his novel Candide is devoted to attacking the philosophical system of optimism which contends that a Supreme Being created this world as the best of all possible worlds 16 and naturally evince the conclusion that nothing we did could affect this Delusional beliefs such as thinking that all events are random or uncaused
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