13 September 2010
To Kill and To Die
On earth there are many different opinions about war, whether it is murder or patriotism as well as opinions on life and death and the importance behind it. In reading Kurt Vonnegut’s speech “Fates Worse Than Death” one would wonder what he is demanding his audience to believe. It is quite certain in comparing Vonnegut’s speech to Patrick Henry’s “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” that they both were very strong and opinionated men. Diving deep into the history behind the meaning of Vonnegut and Henry’s speeches there are many similarities and differences that one can see.
In reading Kurt Vonnegut’s “Fates Worse Than Death” speech it is interesting to listen to his satirical and almost sarcastic way of delivery. Vonnegut is known as a very unique, persuasive and genius man and as a result his words have influenced thousands of people. His life shaped his opinion and delivery in what he communicated to the world. The historical context behind the speech did not only come from Vonnegut’s life but from the era of the Cold War. During this time not only was the Great Depression inspiring widespread fear in the citizens of the United States, but the development and growth in weapons of mass destruction, such as the atomic bomb. On May 1982, Vonnegut stood in front of a large group of people at St. John the Divine and delivered this speech in response. His view on death comes off as very in-sensitive as he makes it clear that he believes it is all the same to him “Scientists, for all their creativity, will never discover a method for making people deader than dead. . .dead is dead” (Vonnegut). The way he opened his speech leads one to think that his speech will be about the importance of death but instead he reiterates the importance of life “. . . and what is death but an absence of life?” (Vonnegut). Vonnegut talks about the fact that as many people fear death on earth, death is...