A Picture

American writer Kurt Vonnegut has a tradition, which is using recurring themes and characters in his novels, just like J. D. Salinger. Salinger also employs the Glass family in his Nine Stories and Franny and Zooey. The Glass family is the equivalent of alien race Tralfamadorians in Vonnegut’s novels.

According to Vonnegut, Tralfamadorians can see in the fourth dimension, unlike our limited third dimension view, and it enables them to read and write their books in “brief clumps of symbols” (Slaughterhouse-Five, 76). Tralfamadorian books are just like our photographs; there “are the depths of many marvellous moments seen all at one time” (76).

Testing a bulletproof vest, 1923 (3)

Testing a bulletproof vest, 1923.

National Photo Company Collection, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. Rare Historical Photos. Web. 23 Jan. 2015.


Juggling on the Berlin Wall, on 16 November, 1989.
The text sprayed over the banner reads “Der Kampf gegen [d]ie Mauer geht [weiter.]” (German), which means “the fight against the wall continues”.

Forget, Yann. 1989. WikiMedia Commons. Web. 23 Jan. 2015.


Ruby Bridges, first black child to attend an all-white elementary school in the Southern United States. 14 November 1960.

Photo was taken by an uncredited United States Department of Justice photographer. U.S. Marshals Service. Web. 23 Jan. 2015. <http://www.usmarshals.gov/district/la-e/general/history.htmhttp://www.usmarshals.gov/district/la-e/general/history.htm&gt;.


Taken by Apollo 8 crew member Bill Anders on 4 December, 1968.

NASA / Bill Anders. Web. 23 Jan. 2015. <http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/alsj/a410/AS8-14-2383HR.jpg&gt;.

Vietnam Monk

Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist monk, Thich Quang Duc, burned himself to death in order to protest the persecution of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese government.

Browne, Malcolm. The Self-immolation of Thich Quang Duc. 1963. Wikipedia. Web. 23 Jan. 2015. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Th%C3%ADch_Qu%E1%BA%A3ng_%C4%90%E1%BB%A9c_self-immolation.jpg#file&gt;.


Special note

The title of this essay is derived from an adage: “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

Work Cited

Vonnegut, Kurt. Slaughterhouse-Five: Or, The Children’s Crusade. New York: Delacorte, 1969. Print.

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