Topic Sentence: In examining Kurt Vonnengut’s Slaughterhouse-Five, we can illuminate the faults in Weisenburger’s theory of satire dichotomy, as well as illuminate the nature of the satirical qualities of Slaughterhouse-Five itself. Function: This is the thesis of Gil Henkin’s essay “Steven Weisenburger and the Big Scary Normative Value: An Exercise in Postmodern Posturing. ” Its function is to provide the main idea which the author will argue thorough the essay. 2 Topic Sentence: Weisenburger rejects the concept of the dichotomy between a “good” and a “bad” example, yet in rejecting this moral polarization, he presents degenerative as good as opposed to inherently evil generative. Function: This paragraph serves to illustrate Weisenburger’s ideas. The author talks about Weisenburger’s view on generative and degenerative literature and why he thinks there is no middle ground between these two forms of satire. This paragraph also functions as a foundation for using Slaughterhouse-Five to strengthen author’s arguments.
3 Topic Sentence: The novel itself offers no normative values within its pages Function: The author uses this paragraph to show what moral position Vonnegut provides in his novel. Gil makes clear that Slaughterhouse-Five doesn’t offer author’s moral positioning. This paragraph functions as an insight into Vonnegut’s ideas and creates a contrast with previous paragraph where Weisenburger was mentioned. ¶4 Topic Sentence: Again in this, Vonnegut is showcasing one of the main tenants of Weisenburgian contemporary satire.
Function: The author brings an observation form Vonnegut’s novel and connects it with one if Weisenburger’s main ideas. This paragraph illustrates the connection between Wonnegut’s and Weisenburger’s ideas. He also illustrates how Weisenburger uses grotesque as one of his main tools. ¶5 Topic Sentence: Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five, as intimated by the title, also dabbles in the grotesque as a tool. Function: The author uses quotes from Vonnegut’s novel to illustrate the horror depicted in his story.
By this author shows that grotesque is the tool Vonnegut uses frequently just like Weisenburger. I ¶6 Topic Sentence: All the same, Vonnegut deviates from Weisenburger’s general diagnosis of satire as violence. Function: This paragraph serves to illustrate the differences between Vonnegut’s ideas and Weisenburger’s claim. Author uses a quote from Vonnegut’s novel to show how the sight of powerful destruction inspires the readers and how this idea deviates from Weisenburger’s claim in which violence supports a moral code. 7 Topic Sentence: Billy Pilgrim is at least in part playing a Christ figure. Function: The author analyzes Billy Pilgrim, the main character of Vonnegut’s novel, and claims that there are similarity between him and Christ. By analyzing Billy’s actions author is able to illustrate what makes him resemble Christ and what makes him distinct. By this author shows that there is a gross perversion of moral norm in Vonnegut’s novel. ¶8 Topic Sentence: This all may seem, in total, evidence that Slaughterhouse-Five is purely degenerative satire.
Function: Author analyzes the specifics of Vonnegut’s novel and states that the evidence suggest it to be a degenerative form of satire. This paragraph creates an argument as to whether Slaughterhouse-Five really is a degenerative satire. ¶9 Topic Sentence: In this sense, Vonnegut is in sense a generative satirist. Function: By analyzing several other aspects of the novel and thinking about the message Vonnegut was trying to get through the author of this essay is able to conclude that Vonnegut was in fact, a generative satirist.
This paragraph serves to strengthen author’s thesis and provide an example of middle ground between generative and degenerative satire. ¶10 Topic Sentence: Weisenburger is wrong to fear all norms. Function: In this passage author argues that Vonnegut’s novella provides baseline norms that are necessary for the society. While author partly agrees with Weisenburger that some norms create a system of conflict and violence, he states that there are norms which help prevent these conflicts. 11 Topic Sentence: Examination of Weisenburger through Slaughterhouse-Five reveals an incomplete theory on satire that cannot fully grasp the implications of the novel as a generative degenerative satire. Function: Author sums up his ideas and restates his thesis. He also states the importance of lens analysis to his essay Just analyzing Weisenburger’s ideas might not give implications on why he is incorrect. However looking at them through Slaughterhouse-Five reveal that Weisenburger can not fully grasp the middle ground generative degenerative satire.