Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. died April 11, 2007. (Click here for the full report from the Financial Times.)
I was a senior in high school in spring of 1984. Part of the required curriculum was classical literature: Shakespeare, Chaucer, Dante, etc. As much as I love reading, this track was a bit one-dimensional. Mr. Walsh, the most gifted literature teacher I ever encountered, won approval to teach a course on more controversial books. This was quite a coup! He chose several books of a similar genre: Catcher in the Rye, 1984, Fahrenheit 451, and Mr. Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five.
Arguably his most famous novel, Slaughterhouse-Five was inspired by a conversation the author had with an old army buddy and his wife about the bombing of Dresden, Germany during World War II.
Mr. Vonnegut’s writings have instilled in me a thirst for knowledge that will last a lifetime. My bias for conversation and ever-present desire to discuss/debate just about any topic just to learn new perspectives and views was born in that Spring of 1984, in the cellar of a meatpacking plant in Dresden.
Thank you, Kurt Vonnegut. Rest in peace.