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When is a Novel not a Novel: When It is Used to Teach Political Science
Unformatted Document Text:  numbers by themselves are examples of the absurdity of bureaucratic specialization, Vonnegut pushes the limits of absurd a bit farther. When Lasher meets Finnerty, they discuss the merits of “single-0 men” and “double-0 men.” Vonnegut proceeds by assigning the Pope a number, R-001. Lasher “heard somewhere that the number was being held for him, over the objection of Episcopal bishops who want R-001 themselves. Delicate business” (78). Delicate indeed! As if the individual classification scheme wasn’t enough, Vonnegut takes the theme of specialization into the general population. For example, in the National Council of Arts and Letters, there are twelve book clubs which correspond to twelve types of readers. Curious about this organization, the Shah’s interpreter Miasma Khasdrahr asks, “There are twelve types of readers?” Dr. Halyard explains, “There is now talk of a thirteenth and fourteenth” but “the line has to be drawn somewhere.” As an illustration, Halyard points to the DSM, or Dog Story of the Month club (210). Carrying the theme of specialization to the climax of the revolution, Vonnegut places the Moose and Elk in charge of destroying the EPICAC and the Knights of Kandahar are responsible for the Griffin Boulevard roadblock (259, 281). As is the case with the definition of positions, rules in Vonnegut’s society are detailed in the Manual: “And you know what the Manual says” (121). Of course the most important rule states that “any man who cannot support himself by doing a job better than a machine is employed by the government, either in the Army or the Reconstruction and Reclamation Corps” (18). This is the rule that stymies Bud Calhoun. After he invents a machine that can do his job, P-128, better than he can, “personnel machines all over the country would be reset so as no longer to recognize the job as one suited for men”(63). When Ed Finnerty wanted to wander around the Ilium Works

Authors: Connor, George.
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numbers by themselves are examples of the absurdity of bureaucratic specialization,
Vonnegut pushes the limits of absurd a bit farther. When Lasher meets Finnerty, they
discuss the merits of “single-0 men” and “double-0 men.” Vonnegut proceeds by
assigning the Pope a number, R-001. Lasher “heard somewhere that the number was
being held for him, over the objection of Episcopal bishops who want R-001 themselves.
Delicate business” (78). Delicate indeed! As if the individual classification scheme
wasn’t enough, Vonnegut takes the theme of specialization into the general population.
For example, in the National Council of Arts and Letters, there are twelve book clubs
which correspond to twelve types of readers. Curious about this organization, the Shah’s
interpreter Miasma Khasdrahr asks, “There are twelve types of readers?” Dr. Halyard
explains, “There is now talk of a thirteenth and fourteenth” but “the line has to be drawn
somewhere.” As an illustration, Halyard points to the DSM, or Dog Story of the Month
club (210). Carrying the theme of specialization to the climax of the revolution,
Vonnegut places the Moose and Elk in charge of destroying the EPICAC and the Knights
of Kandahar are responsible for the Griffin Boulevard roadblock (259, 281).
As is the case with the definition of positions, rules in Vonnegut’s society are
detailed in the Manual: “And you know what the Manual says” (121). Of course the
most important rule states that “any man who cannot support himself by doing a job
better than a machine is employed by the government, either in the Army or the
Reconstruction and Reclamation Corps” (18). This is the rule that stymies Bud Calhoun.
After he invents a machine that can do his job, P-128, better than he can, “personnel
machines all over the country would be reset so as no longer to recognize the job as one
suited for men”(63). When Ed Finnerty wanted to wander around the Ilium Works


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