Vonnegut’s Blackboard

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“Kurt Vonnegut at the Blackboard” (remember those?) over at Lapham’s Quarterly.

Vonnegut on Cinderella:

“No matter what happens after that she’ll remember when the prince was in love with her and she was the belle of the ball. So she poops along, at her considerably improved level, no matter what, and the shoe fits, and she becomes off-scale happy [draws line upward and then infinity symbol].

Vonnegut on Kafka’s Metamorphosis:

“A young man is rather unattractive and not very personable. He has disagreeable relatives and has had a lot of jobs with no chance of promotion. He doesn’t get paid enough to take his girl dancing or to go to the beer hall to have a beer with a friend. One morning he wakes up, it’s time to go to work again, and he has turned into a cockroach [draws line downward and then infinity symbol].”

On Hamlet:

“But there’s a reason we recognize Hamlet as a masterpiece: it’s that Shakespeare told us the truth, and people so rarely tell us the truth in this rise and fall here [indicates blackboard]. The truth is, we know so little about life, we don’t really know what the good news is and what the bad news is.”


Nina Moog currently lives in Cairo, Egypt. More from this author →