Analysis Of The Player Piano By Kurt Vonnegut

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Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut is a huge example of technology taking over human beings. This book was published in 1952 but till this day technology is becoming more advanced and is controlling humans. Paul Proteus, the main character of the story is a manager of Ilium Works. Ilium Work is a company that works on manufacturing machines, and these machines are designed to do human work. In the novel, Paul’s father helped build the machine but after his death, Paul continued his father’s work. In the novel, exist a Great Shirt Society which is an underground movement against the machines. Paul’s old friend named Finnerty is a part of this movement. Even though Paul is the one creating the machines, he sometimes feels concern about the people whose jobs have been replaced or lost due to the machines and technology. He decides to quit his job, but his boss offers him to be a spy at the Great Shirt Society. He rejects the offer and leaves the job. When Paul’s wife hears about him being jobless, she leaves him. Feeling empty and lonely after hearing that his wife left her, Paul goes to a bar. At the bar, someone from Great Shirt society drugged his drink and takes him to the Headquarters of the Great Shirt Society. Paul’s dad was a famous and important figure, so they choose Paul to be the leader of the Great Shirt Society. The society then introduced Paul to the world as their new leader and tells everyone that he is revolting against machines taking over humans. Paul starts to believe in the Great Shirt Society. Later in the story, he gets arrested and is convicted of betrayal against his own company. While Paul is in the middle of his trial, people from Great Shirt Society starts to destroy all the machines. Great Shirt society couldn’t be successful because as the new day started people began to build the machines, they destroyed. The book ended by rebels handing themselves over to the authorities.

Kurt wrote this novel because he was inspired by the machines used in World War II. Those machines were computer operated which encouraged him to write a novel that predicts the future in which machines will be doing human work. In my opinion, his prediction about the future was right because in today’s world human depends on technology. The biggest problem that Kurt mentions throughout his book is machines replacing humans. The ability of the machines to do all the work on their own without needing humans is the dystopian core of Player Piano. This book says a lot about American society’s past, present, and future. For example, in the past, there used to be no type of phones. People used to communicate through letters but then came the flip phone which made it easier for people to contact their loved ones whenever they want. Now we have smartphones. As the technology is progressing humans are depending more on machines. The human needs their phones for everything they do. Whether it’s to look at the weather, to order food, to read the news, to watch movies and tv shows, etc. It can be seen every day that a great number of people are on their cell phones instead of talking to the people they are with. Every day we hear about new things being invented for the future. For example, Self-driving cars, Smart robotic vacuum cleaners, Online career- and degree-related learning, devices that can monitor alcohol levels by sniffing a driver’s breath, Portable toaster, etc. Everyday machines are replacing human tasks. Even though the future is unpredictable it can be best predicted that technology really is taking over humans.

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In conclusion, I think there is not a proper solution to humans being taken over by machines because human nature makes men build and build, without thinking about what they are building. For example, at the end of the book after destroying all the machines people try to rebuild it. This shows that technology has become an addiction because no matter how hard humans try to eliminate the machines, they will always end up building more and more. In the future, more advanced technology is being built and it is just getting harder day by day for humans to not depend on machines. With every second goes by humans are being replaced by machines. Therefore, I believe there isn’t any solution to this problem.    


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