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Mike Schilling

How does Vonnegut refer to Rosewater? I'm sure it's not as "Eliot".

Lance

Actually, Mike, in God Bless You, Mr Rosewater, he's called Eliot throughout.

I don't have a copy of Slaughterhouse-Five on hand.

Mike Schilling

Another book to go on the "Haven't re-read for so long it'll seem brand-new" list. Thanks.

Dan Leo

Anyone who thinks Vonnegut was a misogynist is a damn fool who doesn't know how to read. If anything Vonnegut thought women less pitifully stupid than men.

Apostate

I've always found Vonnegut to be sexist. Misogyny? Not sure; but definitely sexist.

Not in too offensive a way though.

Doesn't surprise me that someone would call it misogyny -- you don't know what you don't love, and Vonnegut was pretty clueless about women.

Bluegrass Poet

As a woman who loved Slaughterhouse Five, I'll have to say that Vonnegut's attitude toward women was a non-issue with me.

Steven Hart

I don't buy the misogyny line. Every character in "Slaughterhouse-Five" is pretty cartoonish. I suspect the reviewer knows the source novel only through a fast-forward viewing of the movie, and decided the black comedy nature of Mrs. Pilgrim's death was the stuff of misogyny.

Thanks for the nice mention.

Winnie

I also found Vonnegut while occassionally sexist not in any real sense of the word misogynist....the one thing though, he wrote which *could* have been construed as misogyny, (and was definitely very disturbing to women readers then and now with its rape justification,) would have to be "Welcome to the Monkeyhouse." He meant it to be a celebration of human sexuality over stupid old religous scruples against fun...but it's a story where women are sexually "liberated" via assault. The fact it's so well written just made it all the more troubling for me. (I also happen to love almost all the other stories in that collection for the record.)

actor212

Lance,

The Times' stylebook insists that no one is referred to by their first name, ever.

Which is why Meat Loaf is referred to as "Mr. Loaf" or "Loaf," the honoraria were dropped in the 90s, unless specifying a medical doctor.

As to Vonnegut's misogyny... well, it's a little hard to square someone who claimed that US readership for novels declined with the rise of women authors with the claim "he's just sexist," as this writer would detail.

Apostate

Thanks, Actor212 - that was a very interesting link. I'm not familiar with Welcome to the Monkeyhouse. Perhaps misogyny is not such an unfair charge after all.

Steven Hart

I still don't think "misogyny" applies to "Slaughterhouse-Five," but "Welcome to the Monkeyhouse" is a whole different kettle of fish.

The story is about an overpopulated future world in which the prudish government forces everyone to take pills that make them numb from the waist down. There are also suicide parlors staffed by Playboy Bunny-type hostesses who attend to the last moments of their customers and fend off the advances of "nothingheads" who have skipped their numbing-pills and are consequently mad with lust. The heroine is a suicide hostess who is kidnapped, weaned off her numbing pills and then forced to endure penetration by the leader of the pro-sex underground. The heroine finds the experience degrading and disgusting, but is assured that in time she will see her rape as the start of a new life of sexual fulfillment and awareness.

Anyone who wonders about the social value of the feminist movement may wish to consider the prevalence of rape-as-therapy plots in mainstream fiction and film of the mid-20th century. Anybody seen Alfred Hitchcock's "Marnie"? Even in an upmarket movie like "The Hospital," scripted by none other than Paddy Chayefsky, we see a terminally cynical doctor (George C. Scott) cure himself of impotence by repeatedly raping a hippie chick (Diana Rigg) who finds the whole thing refreshingly honest. Vonnegut's story falls squarely within this "Behind the Green Door" view of rape as a way of curing frigid or inhibited women.

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