Friday, October 3, 2014

How do I love thee?

     I enjoyed reading “The Monkey House”.  The description of a nothinghead who refuses to take ethical birth control pills and the ethical suicide parlor made me pause and ask “whose ethics??” The way that Vonnegut uses the word ethical makes it sound like the ideas and concepts the world is monitoring are harmless and benign.  Why do the hostesses have to be six foot gorgeous amazons? Is it a coincidence that this story takes place in Hyannis, Cape Cod?  I think that because the Kennedy family was notorious for their sexual exploits that making the story take place in their home town is significant.  The major criminal is a nothinghead named Billy the Poet. Vonnegut describes the ethical issue of the pills “The pills were ethical because they didn’t interfere with a person’s ability to reproduce, which would have been unnatural and immoral. All the pills did was take every bit of pleasure out of sex.” (Vonnegut 11).

               When describing a good week at the Suicide Parlor: “In a really good week, say the one before Christmas, they might put sixty people to sleep.”  Is this a reference to a statistic that most suicides are committed during the holidays? Everything and everyone is automated and if people are unhappy then go visit the suicide parlor and everyone is pleasant there.

               When Nancy is captured and Billy has sex with her she is despondent.  Billy states that all he is doing is restoring innocent pleasure to the world. I think it is brilliant of Vonnegut at the end to have Billy leave Nancy with one of the most famous love poems ever written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.    

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