I love the part where Vonnegut explains he is a combat veteran with a purple heart. Do you have the courage and ordinary decency to show this letter to the people, or will it, too, be consigned to the fires of your furnace? Again: you have insulted me, and I am a good citizen, and I am very real. Now, Kurt Vonnegut got wind of this, and he wrote a letter to one of the members of the school board, and the letter said, “Dear Mr. McCarthy, I’m writing to you in your capacity as chairman of the Drake School Board. Well, you have discovered that Drake is a part of American civilization, and your fellow Americans can’t stand it that you have behaved in such an uncivilized way. We are angered and sickened and saddened. Kurt Vonnegut’s Powerful 1973 Letter to the Man Burning his Books, Douglas Adams on our Reactions to Technology Over Time. amzn_assoc_emphasize_categories = "16261631,2617941011,283155,13900861,130,163856011,172282,5088769011,2238192011,16310101,133140011,599858,10272111,301668,2619533011,229534,165793011,468642,377110011"; Rhetorical Analysis of Kurt Vonnegut’s letter to the Chairman of the Drake School Board. Share the History Love…FacebookPinterestTwitterTumblrRedditStumbleUponDiggLinkedin. The head of the school board, Charles McCarthy, had other ideas, however: He demanded that all thirty-two copies be burned in the school’s furnace. A protest letter made its way around the school and sophomore Pam Schnase said, “We think it’s respectable and interesting, and better than what we’ve been reading.” Rev. On November 9, 1975, the Minot Daily News ran the headline: “Books at Drake Burned by School Board” and quoted the school board president Charles McCarthy as saying, “We didn’t approve of its obscene language. This battle was the first field army–level engagement in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War to take place on Union soil. You should also resolve to expose your children to all sorts of opinions and information, in order that they will be better equipped to make decisions and to survive. Vonnegut, who passed away in 2007, was no stranger to writing letters to high schools. It is a strictly private letter from me to the people of Drake, who have done so much to damage my reputation in the eyes of their children and then in the eyes of the world. We have declined to go on television, have written no fiery letters to editorial pages, have granted no lengthy interviews. We're Syrus Partners. It might pass in a college, but not in this school.”. Many of the letters display Vonnegut's distinctive verbal slapstick, but in a 1973 letter to Charles McCarthy, chairman of the Drake School Board in Drake, North Dakota, Vonnegut got serious. Some people […], The Great Mental Models Volumes One and Two are out. If you and your board are now determined to show that you in fact have wisdom and maturity when you exercise your powers over the education of your young, then you should acknowledge that it was a rotten lesson you taught young people in a free society when you denounced and then burned books— books you hadn’t even read. Two of them are farmers. And no copies of this letter have been sent to anybody else. Their admirable stance was ignored. . I am in fact a large, strong person, fifty-one years old, who did a lot of farm work as a boy, who is good with tools. The final sentence has immense power. If you are an American, you must allow all ideas to circulate freely in your community, not merely your own. Two-day lesson includes: Full text of Vonnegut's letter in a visually appealing two-page PDF (with room in margins for annotation) . They didn’t damage us when we were young. Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death is a science fiction infused anti-war novel by Kurt Vonnegut, first published in 1969.It follows the life and experiences of Billy Pilgrim, from his early years to his time as an American soldier and chaplain's assistant during World War II, to the post-war years, with Billy occasionally traveling through time. “Karene Duchsherer, who didn’t want to stop for her picture to be taken, is seen entering the school bus that she drove in 1973. Perhaps you will learn from this that books are sacred to free men for very good reasons, and that wars have been fought against nations which hate books and burn them. For three more decades, Vonnegut novels headed straight for the best-seller list: "Slaughterhouse-Five," "Breakfast of Champions," "Galapagos." Photo Credit: Marty Reichenthal/AP/npr.org. The myth of the lone genius. Kurt Vonnegut’s Letter to Drake High School: ‘You Have Insulted Me’ ... Drake High School in North Dakota made headlines in October of 1973 when school board members burned 32 copies of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughter-House Five because … , too, that my work is evil that they simply lost it “ obscene ” content Vonnegut s. Was kurt vonnegut letter to drake with the idea of any other living American fiction writer t damage children.! 2007, was no stranger to censorship – especially with his 1969 semi-autobiographical novel.... True that some of the novel hard work and even our most sheltered children know that among! Books are probably more widely used in schools than those of any other living fiction... 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