| Quote #10
The master of ceremonies asked people to say what they thought the function of the novel might be in the modern society, and one critic said, "To provide touches of color in rooms with all-white walls." Another one said, "To describe blow-jobs artistically." Another one said, "To teach wives of junior executives what to buy next and how to act in a French restaurant." (9.32.1)
There really has been a discussion throughout much of the twentieth century about the so-called death of the novel. Many claim that authors have lost faith in the idea that a person can be conscious of what he does or why he does it, and that we also no longer believe in the rigid, formal presentation of fiction as though it is real. Slaughterhouse-Five itself experiments with new ways of presenting personal motivation and narrative time without throwing away the novel as a form. So we think Vonnegut is being kind of tongue-in-cheek here by showing all of these pretentious answers to a question about the value of the novel…inside a novel.