“You as well as analyzing the strength of
Posted On May 7, 2019
“You Have Insulted Me” is a letter written by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. He wrote this letter as a protest to a school board that had banned one of his books. The school board went so far as to burn his book in the school furnace. In this essay we will be taking a look at a few of Vonnegut’s arguments written in his letter as well as analyzing the strength of his arguments. In my opinion he makes some very strong arguments.One of Vonnegut’s first arguments is to defend the idea of the school board seeing him as nothing more that “ratlike”. He responds to this by stating, “I am in fact a large, strong person, fifty-one years old…I have raised six children, three my own and three adopted. They have all turned out well…I am a combat infantry veteran from World War II, and hold a Purple Heart… I have never been arrested or sued for anything. I am so much trusted with young people and by young people that I have served on the faculties of the University of Iowa, Harvard, and the City College of New York. Every year I receive at least a dozen invitations to be commencement speaker at colleges and high schools. My books are probably more widely used in schools than those of any other living American fiction writer” (Vonnegut 2). His second argument is in response to the school board describing the content of his book as being “obscene”. He defends this idea by stating, “If you were to bother to read my books, to behave as educated persons would, you would learn that they are not sexy, and do not argue in favor of wildness of any kind. They beg that people be kinder and more responsible than they often are” (Vonnegut 2).In his first argument, Vonnegut lets the school board know that he is anything but “ratlike”. He is a strong man who has a well known and trustworthy reputation with many top colleges and universities. He has served in the U.S. military and has raised children of his own. The examples that he uses are in direct contrast to what one would perceive as “ratlike” traits. Therefore his argument is a great way to disprove any notion of him being compared to a “rat”. In his second argument, Vonnegut defends the false accusations of his book by questioning whether they have even read his book. If they had read the book, they would know that it is not obscene in any manner, but is actually quite the opposite. It encourages kindness and responsibility. Both of these examples make very strong arguments against the false accusation being made by the school board towards Vonnegut and towards his book. In my opinion, I do not think there is anything he could have changed to make his arguments stronger or more persuasive.In conclusion, I believe that Vonnegut did an excellent job at defending his reputation, along with that of his book. He directly confronted the false accusations being made by the school board and he challenged them to actually read his work instead of making biased opinions and assumptions. His way of tackling the accusations, in itself, shows that there is much more to him than being merely a “rat”.