After graduating from Shortridge High in 1940 Kurt Vonnegut entered Cornell University. Vonnegut’s father and brother strongly urged him to pursue a degree in biochemistry, and during his studies he found he had no desire for the subject and was rewarded with poor grades. His only enjoyment was found in writing for the Cornell Daily Sun. At Vonnegut’s lowest point he was nearly expelled from school as a result of poor grades, but in 1942 he was drafted into the United States Army. It was during his first tour of duty in the army that several of his influential experiences occurred. In 1944 Vonnegut’s mother committed suicide, and several months later he was captured by the German Army in the Battle of the Bulge. During his capture Vonnegut worked at a vitamin plant and lived through the horrific bombing of Dresden (an incident that killed more people than Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined). After the Soviets liberated him Vonnegut returned to the U.S. and married. He then entered a Masters program in anthropology at the University of Chicago and worked as a reporter for the Chicago City News Bureau. Following his stay in the Windy City Vonnegut moved to New York and took a public relations job for General Electric research laboratory.

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