Mother Night

Literary devices

Throughout the novel Vonnegut uses meta-fiction devices to call attention to the text itself. Most notable is Vonnegut's framing of the novel as a historical document. The editor's note at the beginning of the novel suggests Campbell's writings, the text of the novel itself, are a manuscript that Vonnegut received and is editing for public view.

These devices of meta-fiction can also be expanded to include Vonnegut's approach to character introductions, and character development. In opposition to the common Show, don't tell rule in literature, Vonnegut observes his characters from an almost omniscient perspective; for example, "His name is Andor Gutman. Andor is a sleepy, not very bright Estonian Jew. He spent two years in the extermination camp at Auschwitz. According to his own reluctant account, he came this close to going up a smokestack of a crematorium there."

While this style of character deconstructionism is less prevalent in Mother Night than it is in God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, or Breakfast of Champions, the pervading-style of prose throughout the book is largely intertwined with, as previously mentioned, meta-fiction techniques. Vonnegut's innovative literary omniscience is one of these techniques through which Vonnegut's trademark "so it goes..." attitude achieves a certain degree of meta-morality by virtue of its omniscient, dissociative and detached tone within the prose.

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