Absurd Function Upends Familiar Form: Satire, Literary Space-Time, and the Subversion of Deterministic Meta-Narrative in Kurt Vonnegut's The Sirens of Time

UNCA Author/Contributor (non-UNCA co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Michael Weddington (Creator)
University of North Carolina Asheville (UNCA )
Web Site: http://library.unca.edu/
Peter Caulfield

Abstract: In The Sirens of Titan (1959), Vonnegut’s classic satirical humor peppers a narrative that bounces among the planets Mars, Mercury, and Earth, with the characters finally arriving on Saturn’s moon, Titan. In the novel, Kurt Vonnegut crafts a story that symbolically links American culture’s view of itself with evolving perceptions of space, time, and art. Through the careful use of satire and the depiction of various kinds of time, Vonnegut creates a deliberately self-nullifying (yet palatable) narrative whose only offer of hope in the face of a meaningless world is its multifaceted individualized rejection of humankind’s view of its own lofty destiny. Applying the lenses of the aforementioned contextual situations, this paper analyzes and attempts to describe the rhetorical matrix that Vonnegut uses to convey the thesis he layers deeply within the novel. Through the analysis of Vonnegut’s satire and alternative representations of literary time in Sirens, one can conclude that he is critiquing a specific theory of human narrative that relates to fiction as well as lived reality.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2016
Kurt Vonnegut, satire, space and time

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