Why is George Jean Nathan the only person in Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five whose death does not merit a "So it goes"?
October 26, 2012 10:57 AM Subscribe
Why is George Jean Nathan the only person in Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five
whose death does not merit a "So it goes"?
posted by straight to media & arts (6 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Every single death in Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five is commemorated by the phrase "So it goes" immediately after it is mentioned except for one:
"He by chance was given a room which had once been the home of George Jean Nathan, the critic and editor. Nathan, according to the Earthling concept of time, had died back in 1958. According to the Tralfamadorian concept, of course, Nathan was still alive somewhere and always would be."
I have several possible theories why, but none seems very convincing or satisfying. Was it because:
1. Vonnegut hated Nathan and was purposely disrespecting him?
2. Vonnegut loved Nathan and couldn't bring himself to admit he was dead?
3. Vonnegut made an error?
4. He's following the Tralfamadorian conception that Nathan isn't really dead? (Even though that concept is mentioned lots of places and doesn't cancel the "So it goes" for any other mention of death? And still, why Nathan?)
5. The "So it goes," three paragraphs later refers to Nathan rather than the just the "silliness and murder" on TV at 8:00?