Graduation Year

2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

English

Major Professor

Lawrence Broer, Ph.D.

Keywords

Brain, Absurdity, Human, Condition, Psychotherapy, Philosophy, Literature

Abstract

Just as psychology and philosophy have influenced the field of literary studies, literature provides insight about the theories and practices of its sister disciplines. The purpose of this thesis is to demonstrate how literary works of Kurt Vonnegut illuminate principles of the influential branch of psychotherapy known as Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT). This thesis traces the similar philosophies and shared beliefs of Vonnegut and REBT's founder, Albert Ellis, and details how Ellis's REBT is illustrated in selected works of Vonnegut, specifically, Slaughterhouse-Five, Breakfast of Champions, Galapagos, and Timequake. The thesis concludes by suggesting that Vonnegut's works -- and the principles of REBT that they illuminate - provide a much needed guide for living in an irrational, often absurd world.

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