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Writers and Confrontations

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"Students like to say that they stage no confrontations because people avoid confrontations in modern life. “Modern life is so lonely,” they say. This is laziness. It’s the writer’s job to stage confrontations, so the characters will say surprising and revealing things, and educate and entertain us all. If a writer can’t or won’t do that, he should withdraw from the trade."
- Kurt Vonnegut

One of my Facebook friends posted this quote recently. I like it, and that will have to be my complete excuse for including it here. 

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  2. Maybe the quotation is out of context, but it makes little sense to me. I assume that "Students ... stage no confrontations" means that student writers of fiction and plays omit confrontations from their plots. I don't know how that is possible, but let that go. Then we learn that the reason that they stage no confrontations is that people avoid confrontations in modern life. I don't know what evidence they have for the belief that people avoid confrontations in modern life, but I'll let that go.

    The students seem to be saying that their fiction and plays should reflect modern life, but they don't say why it should. Then students say, "Modern life is so lonely," but what does that have to do with what precedes it? Are they saying that modern life is lonely BECAUSE people avoid confrontations? I don't see the connection between loneliness and avoiding confrontations. People can enjoy themselves together without confrontations, and I see no reason to conclude that people who avoid confrontations are more lonely than people who engage in confrontations. But, if we do conclude that, then why don't students conclude that their fiction and plays would be more interesting if they included confrontations? Is it that reflecting modern life is more important than writing interesting fiction and plays?

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