Critical Introduction

The Buzz about Kurt Vonnegut

Our group’s analysis of Kurt Vonnegut’s “The Drone King” looks at the story from five unique perspectives. These perspectives are not only creative, but showcase our knowledge of the history, ideas and mechanisms Vonnegut uses. The essays employ different critical lenses including deconstruction, psychological, and new historical to attempt to break down the meanings behind Vonnegut’s intriguing and somewhat emotional work.

New Criticism – Kaetlynn Sanford

The new criticism lens looks at all of the allusions in Kurt Vonnegut’s “The Drone King” and how they can relate to the things that happen in today’s world. In the story, we are given a real-world problem of money and wanting everything that the world has to offer without really having to work for it. Throughout the story, we learn that not everything is about money and sometimes we have to look past what other people are doing to work for what we want. We learn very quickly that the analogy of bees that we are given can relate to a lot of the things that we see in today’s world.

Reader Response – Ethan McCall

The reader response essay looks at the striking similarities between Kurt Vonnegut’s “The Drone King” and how it relates to a reader from the online Incel community. In the story, Mr. Quick echoes many of the same thoughts and ideas that Incels hold; he views women as tyrants who have kicked men out of power, and he thinks it’s his job to do something about it. However, throughout the story, Mr. Quick has his opinions (and thusly the opinions of Incels) proven wrong, showing that the beliefs of Incels are inherently wrong.

Deconstruction – Kyler Evanovich

This essay uses Deconstruction Theory to examine the theme of gender within the short story, “The Drone King.” This is done by examining the relationships of the main character, Sheldon Quick. The absurdity of gender is expressed in the relationship Quick has with his bees. In an attempt to create an all-male beehive, Quick’s logic is undone by him taking on the role of worker and queen to care for the drones. The writer then points out that in an attempt to whisk them away to give them a new life the bees cannot escape their fate as they follow their instincts to mate. Male and female define each other and therefore one does not exist without the other. The idea of black and white thinking is refuted within the story based on the fact that failure in the story is based on sidedness and the ignorance of the whole.

New Historical – Sarah Cool

The new historical analysis looks at “The Drone King” from a historical perspective, connecting it to both world history and the life of Kurt Vonnegut. It discusses the possible links between Vonnegut’s short story and obstacles that may have deterred him from achieving his goals, such as the Great Depression, WWII, and the Vietnam War. It also touches on inequality and Vonnegut’s possible opinions on the subject in relation to “The Drone King”. The essay seeks to prove that Vonnegut’s work is sort of an ode to everyone who didn’t achieve the “American dream”.

Psychological – Karissa Haskins

This perspective uses Carl Jung’s Archetypal Theory to perform a psychological analysis of Kurt Vonnegut’s “The Drone King.” It is said that writers are more sensitive to the woes of man, and through their literature, people can interpret issues and psychological conflicts in society before the general public will see it within themselves. This essay explores this idea by using Jungian Theory to analyze what Vonnegut’s subconscious is saying about the human race and what the human psyche needs to find happiness.

Feminist – Donald Lewis

In analyzing “The Drone King” from a feminist perspective, Lewis finds Vonnegut’s brilliant and opinionated nature reflected in the story. The inequalities between men and women, long prevalent in society, are highlighted, drawing parallels between human follies and the natural order of the world. Vonnegut’s disdain for the egoism rampant in affluent tiers of society is evident. However, it is important to note that interpretations of this text can vary. Lewis thoroughly enjoyed reading “The Drone King” and writing this analysis, hoping it proves useful and enjoyable for others as well.

Although our papers had varying perspectives and opinions, it’s obvious that we all loved this story. This project helped us learn a little more about Vonnegut’s life and contribution to society, and what it truly takes to be a great writer. We feel truly privileged to be able to be published. Whatever our differences, we had one thing in common: we all thought this story was “the bee’s knees”! We hope you enjoy reading our critical edition!


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Beginnings and Endings: A Critical Edition Copyright © 2021 by Liza Long is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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