Monday 4 March 2024

Deer in the Works by Kurt Vonnegut


I think it is time for me to take a break from Kurt Vonnegut. "Deer in the Works" is caustic political satire, poking fun at bureaucracy gone haywire. The naive protagonist is trapped within the bizarro world of corporate shenanigans where everything is topsy-turvey.

Eager to start his new role in public relations at the company, the protagonist's disposition swiftly unravels into cynical disbelief. His first assignment from the new boss entails the preposterous mission of tracking down a loose deer within the labyrinthine confines of this massive factory compound. 

Perhaps some of the satirical humor went over my head because I found none of it funny. I might have chuckled once. The comedic set pieces came across as more irksome than amusing, with the gimmick gradually wearing thin. The narrative unfolds as a sequence of increasingly absurd escapades, and just as the protagonist nears the brink of despair, the deer magically appears. Suddenly, his boss pulls up in a limousine with the photographer to capture this auspicious moment in the company's history (again, very silly stuff). At this crucial juncture, the protagonist is facing a conundrum. While the job offers financial security for his growing family (the wife just gave birth to twin girls), it also thrusts him into the role of a mere "yes man," burdened with the absurd tasks dictated by the higher-ups—relegated to being just another cog in the vast machinery of corporate nonsense.

The inevitable weight of this realization makes his final decision all the more inevitable.

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