Range Against the Machines Kurt Vonneguts Player P Essay

This essay has a total of 1015 words and 4 pages.

Range Against the Machines Kurt Vonneguts Player Piano





Rage Against the Machines
In Kurt Vonnegutís first novel, Player Piano, he brings up quite a few interesting points.
His portrayal of a United States that has become a slave to itís own ingenuity is somewhat
entertaining. What really got to me was the fact that itís easy to imagine people acting
the way they did. As a reader I can see myself making those very same mistakes, and being
just as childish as the ghost shirts, as conniving as Shepherd, and as manipulative as
Rev. Lasher. Maybe in our society these people would have acted the same way, but if you
look at their alternatives, you donít find that thereís much left for them to do in their
efficient and productive country. The society portrayed in Kurt Vonnegutís Player Piano
degrades and dehumanizes its inhabitants, robbing them of their dignity and literally
boring them into sin. Thereís not much worse than knowing, deep down in your heart that
nothing would change if you disappeared. Going through life accomplishing nothing save for
your continued existence is not much if at all for their meals, but would they be any
better for it? There were so many labor saving devices available to the people of America.
The country practically ran itself, and the people were left with a lot of time on their
hands. An idle person, made so by some choice other than his/or her own, is going to try
to do something to spice up his or her life. "A guy's got to have kicks or he doesn't want
to live- and the only kicks left for a dumb bastard like me are the bad ones" (Vonnegut,
p. 162). Everyone needs a little excitement in their lives, some kind of pressure. When
everything comes along so easily, no work, no effort, then why not add a little danger and
go do something illegal, who cares if you get caught, youíd just end up sitting around, in
much the same way as this Vonnegutian society already does. Itís true, "being given
everything is just what is wrong" (Reed, p.46), without working for their sustenance,
these people cannot seem to truly appreciate themselves or others. With most of their
daily tasks automated, the people have begun to act, even see themselves, more like the
machines than the real people that they are. Peopleís social relations are being based
around the well-oiled machine that their world has become. Paul and Anita are fine
examples of this, theyíre complete products of society. Anita is "A successful wife
machine; pleasing to the eye, sexually adept, capable of any number of recitations
reaffirming her love and devotion, and her life's purpose, which is to say, ensuring her
and Paul's social advancement, is distracted by nothing." (Von Winkle), efficiency is
everything, emotion gets tossed out the window as things like love become a reflex action,
turned on and off with the push of a button. Like a computer displays a symbol when a key
is pressed, Paul and Anita respond in kind when the other says, "I love you" (throughout
novel). It occurs frequently throughout the novel, so much so itís obvious that the words
are more of a reflex action than the sharing of any real feelings. They spend so much time
with these machines, that when it comes time to try and fix their relationship, they donít
really know what to do, and Anita just opts for the most promising route in Shepherd. The
people are just striving to be efficient here. They want to be the best that they can be,
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