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Report On The Barnhouse Effect Satire Essay

Kurt Vonneguts War Experiences and its Effects on the Barnhouse Effect

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Kurt Vonneguts War Experiences and its Effects on the Barnhouse Effect

Kurt Vonnegut's War Experiences how it contributes to my understanding of the "Barnhouse Effect"

Kurt Vonnegut’s war experiences had a great impact on his life, which greatly contributes to the readers understanding of the "Barnhouse Effect." His war experiences are reflected quite vividly through his writing of the "Barnhouse Effect." This short story reflects "the human horrors during war, and the de-humanization of modern men and women, and the loss of humane values in a society dedicated to technological progress." (Modern Stories, p. 408)

The Barnhouse Effect is a name that is created by the press. The press came up with this name from Professor Arthur Barnhouse’s character in the "Barnhouse Effect." They call the professor’s phenomenon the barnhouse effect.

Professor Barnhouse, had come up with a different name for his phenomenon. He called it the "Dynamopsychian." "Dynamopsychian means force, and the power of the mind. In the story, the narrator explains, in more detail, how Professor Barnhouse relates his phenomenon to war. "As a weapon, then, Dynamopsychism has an impressive advantage over bacteria and atomic bombs, beyond the fact that it cost nothing to use: it enables the professor to single out critical individuals and objects instead of slaughtering whole populations in the process of maintaining international equilibrium." (p. 410). According to this quotation, Dynamopsychism is a very powerful weapon that only professor Barnhouse had. The professor had thoughts that would flash through his mind before they actually happened. His mind is a powerful weapon, which no one else possessed. In the story, Barnhouse says, "the same thought train had flashed through his mind just before he threw the dice." (p. 411). It was that thought train which aligned the professor’s brain cells into what had become the most powerful weapon on Earth. It began with a simple mental exercise during an army crap game, which soon escalates into a worldwide threat. At least, that’s what the FBI thinks when they raid the Professor’s office and put him under investigation. Professor Barnhouse is asked to use his new power as the ultimate national defense weapon. War hungry generals, Russian spies and the FBI get into the act as Professor Barnhouse shows what the real power of his mind actually is.

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"Kurt Vonneguts War Experiences and its Effects on the Barnhouse Effect." 123HelpMe.com. 13 Mar 2018

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Before the Professor could rub two formulas together, he found himself the center of an experiment where he had to single-handedly sink a battleship with both the U.S. Army and Russians looking on.

Moreover, the horrors of war are greatly expressed in Vonnegut’s writings. The bombing of Dresden had a profound impact on the life and written work of Kurt Vonnegut. Word war II shaped many of Kurt Vonnegut’s philosophies that appear in his novels, especially Slaughterhouse Five. What made the Dresden bombing even more horrible to Vonnegut was that as a prisoner, he was ironically protected from the bombs and fire. "Planes from his country did the bombing, and he was the perpetrator, observer and target all at the same time. (Goldsmith ix)."

Vonnegut’s views on human nature were also greatly affected by war. "There is shock and outrage over the havoc and destruction that man is capable of wreaking in the name of what he labels a worthy cause." (Schatt 84). He believes that war strips away individuality; it turns people into machines that merely obey orders and kill, which the military of course thinks is wonderful. He believed that there is considerable room for change. Vonnegut states "And I asked myself about the present: how wide it was, how deep it was, and how much was mine to keep". (Vanderewrken p. 414). This example states how much potential there is. A humanist at heart, Vonnegut believed that man is basically good and can overcome his violent and cruel streak inside.

In addition, there is another philosophy that is created from Vonnegut’s experiences from war. This experience is a caution against unchecked science and technology. As world war II ended, the people of the world saw devestating effects that had science created. For the first time in history, possibly since Ancient Greece, the value of science was being questioned. People were not so sure anymore that science was always such a good thing, and Vonnegut is one of the leading questioners. He states, "I am the enemy of all technological progress that threatens mankind." (Nuwer p.39). "As a humanitarian, he repeatedly demonstrates the human aptitude for cruelty, and shows how technology magnifies this cruelty beyond control." (Beetz 3398). According to these examples, Vonnegut is not content to excuse bombing. He told his sons "they are not under any circumstances to take part in massacres, and that news of massacre machinery." (Schall pg.17). These statements illustrate Vonnegut’s views on the potential evil impact that can be brought on by the union of man and machine.

Vonnegut’s war experiences has a great contribution in his writing, "The Barnhouse Effect." In the Barnhouse Effect, his writing is greatly influenced by his experiences. Learning about Vonnegut’s war experiences, allows a greater understanding of the Barnhouse Effect. Vonnegut is an author with a unique perspective on life. He can see things more vividly in a humane manner in his interpretation of the world around him. The core of this story examines the corruption of humanity. His experiences helped to shape what Vonnegut writes in the Barnhouse Effect. In this story, the brilliant professor seeks to restore a measure of sanity. Vonneguts stories often include at least one character who is aware and sane in his or her surrounding madness, just like the professor in the Barnhouse Effect.



Beetz, Ddavid. The Novels of Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. New York: Warner Books, 1973.

Giannone, Richard. Vonnegut. Port Washington: Kennikat Press, 1977.

Goldsmith, David. Kurt Vonnegut: Fantasist of Fire and Ice. Bowling Green: Bowling Green Press, 1972.

Harris, Richard. "Kurt Vonnegut." Survey of Contemorary Literature. Vol.10. Salem: Salem Press, 1972

Huber, Chris. VonnegutWeb. 21 Mar 1999

Klinkowitz, Jerome. The Vonnegut Statement. New York: Delacorte Press, 1973.

Nuwer, Richard. "Kurt Vonnegut and WWII". Contemporary Literary Critism. Vol.60. Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1990.

Reed, Peter. Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. New York: Warner Books, 1972.

Schatt, Stanley. Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. Boston: G.K. Hall, 1976.

Vanderwerken, Joseph. "Slaughterhouse Five." Beacham’s Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction. Vol.5. Washington: Beacham Press, 1996.

Vonnegut, Kurt. Slaughterhouse Five. New York: Seymore Lawerence, 1969.

Vonnegut, Kurt. "Report on the Barnhouse Effect." Modern Stories In English, 1991.

Review: Kurt Vonnegut's 'A Man Without a Country'

If you’ve never once picked up a book by Kurt Vonnegut, came across an essay of his, or even peeked at a short story written by him, then you’re missing out.
If you’re unfamiliar with the name or have no interest in reading whatsoever, the time to change that is now. I have deemed Vonnegut one of my favorite writers of all time (by all time I mean the whole 18 years I’ve been on this earth) and this is why. He was born on November 11, 1922 in Indianapolis, Ind. He was titled a 20th century, fiction writer after his first short story publication, “Report on the Barnhouse Effect” (1950) and his first novel “Player Piano” (1952). He was a socialist and found himself to be very skeptical of traditional values, which was the result of growing up in a family of free thinkers. He developed a peculiar style of writing, not one that was easily identifiable. He wasn’t a fantasy writer and he wasn’t just a science fiction writer. He was a realist, but not in the way Ernest Hemmingway was. He gives his readers a strong dose of realism, leveled out with humor and satire, but the substance of his writing is what makes it one of a kind. Kevin McGowin, a writer of Oyster Boy Review, mentions, “…you read a Vonnegut book and you've suddenly learned more about History and Sociology and Anthropology and Philosophy than one can or does in most specialized College courses”. His writing style is unlike any other; most would claim he is the Mark Twain of today. Vonnegut uses humor in a special way; he believes it is the only way for us to truly deal with the horrible things American Society has produced. And if you’re an optimist you have two options, stop here or allow Vonnegut to change the way you view the world you live in. When reading Vonnegut, you are reading the work of a depressed mind, he would much rather have preferred to be an optimist, but his existence in this cruel world did not allow that. Vonnegut was a chemist and a journalist before he joined the U.S. Army and served in World War II. His experience during the war had a towering influence over his work. Throughout his life he wrote fourteen novels, five scripts, five essay collections, four short story collections, attempted to commit suicide (surprised?), and religiously smoked Pall Mall cigarettes till death do them part. In 1997, with his publication of the novel “Timequake”, Vonnegut claimed his fiction writing days were over. In 2005 a collection of his essays turned into a new best selling book titled, “A Man Without a Country”. “A Man Without a Country” is something I advise each and every one of you to read, that is, if you’re a firm believer in civil liberty. Vonnegut himself was a lifelong supporter of the American Civil Liberties Union and an advocate for humanism. This easy to read, collection of non-fiction essays is one of my favorite pieces by him. If you’re a slow reader or not a reader at all, don’t fret; it’s engaging and its simple prose will only take you two hours to read in one sitting. Remember you’re reading a collection of non-fiction essays that covers a wide variety of subjects, don’t expect to delve into a conventional plotline. This witty and philosophical book will provide you with a great overview of Vonnegut’s concerns with American Society. He preaches about fossil fuels, art, mass media, public libraries, chain-smoking, reliance on technology, and the use of semicolons. Vonnegut is a man without a country, hence the self-descriptive title. If you have not yet questioned the modesty of our country, you soon will. Vonnegut makes aware the matter fact that human beings are dehumanizing. Through war and destruction they have managed to find a way to continuously harm our life support system, the earth, and now Mother Nature is angry. On April 11, 2007 Vonnegut’s personal life support system failed and he died from brain injuries, several weeks after falling down a flight of stairs. He lived to be 84. “And I apologize to all of you who are the same age as my grandchildren. And many of you reading this are the same age as my grandchildren. They, like you, are being royally shafted and lied to by our Baby Boomer corporations and government.” ― Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

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