And so it goes…

Iconic author Kurt Vonnegut as relevant now as he was a generation ago

Isabella Rayball, Staff writer

Slaughterhouse 5. Cat’s Cradle. Breakfast of Champions.

No matter the story that Vonnegut wrote he had the same message to all: “You’ve got to be kind.” Vonnegut wrote for the matter of having common decency and free speech for all. 

“We go to schools to talk about Vonnegut because the things that matter to him are the things that matter to most people,” said Julia Whitehead, president of the Kurt Vonnegut Museum in Indiana. “He cared about justice for all.”

Whitehead and and vice president Britney Cain have been visiting schools nationwide to talk about Vonnegut and his life and work. 

Whitehead and Cain recently visited Desert Mountain to talk to students about his life and work. The library is located where Vonnegut spent the majority of his life in Indianapolis and works to keep the legacy of Vonnegut alive.

“Our objective is to make sure we learn what matters to students when it comes to the study of Kurt Vonnegut,” Whitehead said. “We also hope students will continue to explore Vonnegut ‘s work and discuss free speech and common decency, which is our mission statement for how we honor the legacy of Vonnegut.”

Famed postmodernist novelist Kurt Vonnegut wrote 14 published novels, three short story collections, five plays, and five nonfiction works during his 50 year career. Vonnegut, best known for Slaughterhouse 5, died in 2007. (Courtesy of

They advocate that Vonnegut today is more important than ever, because of how divided our nation is, inevitability affecting the youth of today. 

They have several programs in which students can take workshops in order to “merge the digital media and writing,” Cain said.

They push for students to write down their own thoughts and learn how to share and express those feelings in order to make real connections. 

Vonnegut wrote down his own thoughts and feelings from his experiences in war to share with others his experience and show what we need to push away from in life.

From this, books like Slaughterhouse 5 are often included in schools curriculum, including Desert Mountain. According to Whitehead, this is for the hope that students will learn about Vonnegut’s legacy and what he desired in life, free speech and for those to have common decency. 

“We need to feel loved, cared for,” said Julia, “If we don’t start being more compassionate to each other, America will become a very creepy place.”

Vonnegut wrote on the basis of social justice and believed we are all equal to one another. Today student’s read his work in the hopes that they understand his message that everyone is equal and has good in them. 

“He wrote several stories that specifically show how kindness is just as strong and masculine as it is feminine,” Whitehead said. “Real men are real women are kind. They want to learn about each other and about other people generally so that we can live more peacefully together. “