'We Are What We Pretend to Be': Existential Angst in Vonnegut’s Mother Night
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The moral of Vonnegut’s third novel, stated in its opening pages, is “We are what we pretend to be.” Vonnegut’s most directly existentialist novel, _Mother Night_ introduces the related themes of alienation, identity, and authenticity in order to carefully analyze the delusions and self-delusions of a man who believes himself to be good while involved in the most hideous of crimes. Vonnegut’s critique of identity thus undergirds his exploration of morality. In this essay, Tally reads Vonnegut's novel in relation to its dramatization of existential angst and the crisis of authenticity.