Literature, Language, and Life

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Motivation applies to Vonnegut

In the short story “A Long Walk to Forever”, by Kurt Vonnegut, motivation is a key aspect to the characters reaching their final conclusion. The fact that the wedding is inching closer, motivates Newt to admit his feelings to the girl he grew next door to. And although he is unsure of how she will react, he is motivated to risk a court marshal for deserting his potion in the army and hitchhiking his way to her front door. In this short story, love motivates Newt to make his way to Catherine in hopes that she is in love with him such as that he is in love with her. Similarly, in Kate Chopin’s short stories, love is also a main form of motivation as seen in “Beyond the Bayou”. La Folles love for young Cheri is what motivates her to overcome her fear, similarly, love is what motivates Newt to over come this wall that he has built around himself and his feelings due to his shyness. He confesses his feelings for her and travel’s a great distance for her.


This is not the only form of motivation in Vonnegut’s writing. Motivation can also be seen in the short story “New Dictionary”. The form of motivation used in this short story, as I see it, is to motivate the reader to think. It is unlike other forms of motivation I have discussed in past blogposts, as those were all different forms to motivate the character throughout the story to accomplish a certain task. However, in this story it is as if Vonnegut purposefully uses an extensive vocabulary in order to motivate the reader to look up the definition of these words by using a dictionary. It can be argued that Twain uses a similar form of this motivation however he does this by using satire in order to make the reader think about the absurd Sunday school stories.

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