Book Review

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Godbless you, Mr. Rosewateris a novel that expounds on pains, perversions and pleasures thatpeople go through when money is available. The novel explores theworld in the overflow state of insanity. The main character is calledEliot Rosewater, born of Lister Ames Rosewater of Indiana who is anarch-Conservative Senator. This senator happened to be a veteran inWorld War II, where he killed a 14-year-old boy in amisunderstanding. Rosewater is a graduate of Yale University and waspassionate about science fiction. He suffers from numerous nervousbreakdowns, one which attacked him during a drama performance.Rosewater happens to be an heir of a multi-million dollar Rosewaterfortune. At the age of 43, he returns to the town where his ancestorsearlier occupied, in order to be a blessing to the poor and theneedy. He show love to the poor as he also gives money and time,unreservedly. He does this to communicate that one need not toinflict pain on others, even if it is for their own good. However,this act opens him up to be snared through an evil scheme that ismeant to prove him crazy.


Inthis novel, the writer, Vonnegut, uses humor and ridicule tocriticize stupidity in the lives of people. It is an interestingnovel that carries with it the theme of ignorance and humanity, usinga familiar device of money and gentility. Vonnegut uses humor to diginto a society and expose pain that exists there. This is evident inthe life of Rosewater, but the end brings more harm than good. Thisnovel expresses Kurt Vonnegut’s concern about those people obligedto offer a helping hand to the under-privileged in the society(Vonnegut7).Mr. Eliot Rosewater becomes a millionaire by the virtue of a familyproperty. In this book, he decides to be of help to people living ina town by the name Rosewater. All the while though, he has a strangefeeling that he does not deserve this enormous inheritance. As aresult, he devotes his life to drinking, while at the same timehelping helpless, dull and ugly people that do not benefit from theservice (Vonnegut10).

Rosewaterbecomes a drunkard regardless of the fact that he is a millionairewho owns the Rosewater foundation that has a lot of money. In thisaccount, greed is portrayed by him while at the same time people whoare being helped unfortunately cannot help themselves. The novel isvery comical and very relevant in today’s world. In the end, thereis an unexpected faltering which brings feelings of unexpected end.Much as he has a great desire to help people, he is consideredinsane. He exceedingly pours out his kindness which is considered amental illness, although he did it with pure motives. Hisphilanthropic nature is twisted because he fails in character bybecoming a drunkard. This novel ridicules those who are rich andprivileged in the society in this case, it was a reference to theUnited States. It is also relevant in the world today, to a greatextent (Vonnegut15).


GodBless you, Mr. Rosewaterruns parallel to the world’s events in relation to what happened inthe World War II. Vonnegut, in this novel, depicts fathers as verydistant, unparticipating in their kids’ affairs. The war plaguedmany wealthy families in the period referred to as Depression. Eventhe writer’s mother, Edith Vonnegut, was unable to recover from theloss of family wealth. This led to her depression and withdrawal fromher children’s lives. Since she changed to become abusive innature, her son concluded that she had become mentally ill. Lastly,she took her own life on a fateful Mother’s Day, in the year 1944,by taking an overdose of sleeping pills (Marvin 2).

Inrelation to the above episode, Eliot Rosewater felt that he wasresponsible for the death of his mother in the accident that happenedas they sailed. This illustration could depict that the writer, KurtVonnegut, must have carried a burden over her mother’s suicide, aswell as sharing in the guilt of her death (Marvin 3). Much as hismother had tried writing and failed, Kurt Vonnegut tried to make hismother’s unrealized dream come to pass by him writing short storiessuccessfully. In his childhood years, Kurt had a problem with beingunnoticed in his family. The only way to come out of that state, hethought, was to be humorous. This ability to make jokes contributedgreatly to his later success as a writer. He also got acquainted withVeblen’s comedy at a young age. That piece of work later becameevident in Kurt’s God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, especially theharsh judgment of the idle-rich individuals (Marvin 4).


KurtVonnegut uses satire and humor to lay a relationship between thehappenings in the novel and real life experiences. He entertains hisreaders who become more informed about the complexities of life andhow to cope with each occurrence. Thus, through entertaining thereaders, Kurt’s work is appreciated and he is historically referredto one of the America’s famous writers of his time. His descriptionof this society is thus believable in the full account of the novel.


Marvin,Thomas F. KurtVonnegut: A Critical Companion.Westport Conn: Greenwood Press, 2002. Print.

Vonnegut,Kurt. GodBless You, Mr. Rosewater, Or, Pearls Before Swine.New York: Dell, 1965. Print.

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