What is a memoir? The word memoir comes from the Latin word memoria, meaning “memory”. It is different from an autobiography in two ways: it does not have to tell someone’s life (sometimes, it can focus only on an event through a person’s perspective), and it does not have to provide facts. Therefore, many writers take advantage of a memoir to creatively retell an event that they experienced. Since a memoir serves as a lens on how the authors perceive what happened, it can be very emotional and psychological. 

Kurt Vonnegut expands the memoir definition in his memoir “Slaughterhouse Five”. He claims it is a memoir in the first sentence:”All this happened, more or less. The war parts, anyway, are pretty much true.” Vonnegaut expands it by writing it as a science fiction novel, since its main protagonist is able to travel through time. By doing so, he shows us that the effects that war has on us are current, they are still there, we cannot forget about them.

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Our first reading assignment for the ENG1102 class is Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Slaughterhouse-five. I kinda had an idea of the novel was about by looking at the design of the cover. The page’s main color is red, and there is a skull in the middle, so my guess would be that the red color stands for blood. In addition, the novel’s name contains the word “slaughter”, therefore I predict there will be a lot of deaths presented in this novel. The back cover has a quote from the New York Times: “Very tough and very funny… sad and delightful… very funny”; it also features Kurt Vonnegut’s signature that shapes like his face, a funny face. So I guess this novel will have many humorous elements.

The first chapter of the book is where Kurt Vonnegut, in his own voice, introduces the novel. It is about the Dresden bombing by the allies during World War Two. Kurt Vonnegut claims that “all this happened, more or less”, especially the war parts. He also lets us know that the Guggenheim Foundation has paid him to write this book. Later on, he shows that he is a very honest and dignified man when he replies his friend’s wife about his book (she think that he will glorify war) in the following paragraph:

“So I held up my right hand and I made her a promise: “Mary,” I said, “I don’t think this book of mine is ever going to be finished. I must have written five thousands pages by now, and thrown them all away. If I ever do finish it, though, I give you my word of honor: there won’t be a part for Frank Sinatra or John Wayne.”

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About me

Hi, my name is Nghia Tran, but since there’s another guy in my class with that same first and last name, you could call me Nick. I am a freshman at Georgia Tech majoring in Aerospace Engineering. I moved to America with my family about 4 years ago, so I’m still learning the American culture. My favorite sport is futbol, not the American football. For some reasons, I am not really fond of American food. Maybe because they have a lot of fat. My most favorite American food would be Panera Chicken Breast Sandwich; I used to go there and hang out with my best friends. They had free wifi and very good free bread too. We sat there for hours, talking and doing math, which is one my favorite subject (after all, I go to Tech). So if you want to know more about me, feel free to ask!

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