In comparing Vonnegut's work and implicit philosophies to Nathanael West's novel Miss Lonelyhearts, we can observe two quite divergent views of the value hope and its corollaries possess in the modern age. Through the use of similar images, themes, and moral considerations, West and Vonnegut illustrate opposed commentaries. West's vision of American life is of a wasteland devoid of any chance at redemption, in which hope exists only as the cruel catalyst for his hero's incipient downfall. Vonnegut has what seems to be a similarly bitter view of the plight of our culture and society, but he sees hope as the best method of retaining sanity: fighting despair with optimism. In short, these two novelists use many common means to arrive at different perceptions.
©1988 by the Board of Student Publications, University of Northern Iowa
"Kurt Vonnegut and Nathanael West,"
Draftings In: Vol. 3:
4, Article 4.
Available at: https://scholarworks.uni.edu/draftings/vol3/iss4/4