2 B R 0 2 B

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2 B R 0 2 B by Kurt Vonnegut

 

“2 B R 0 2 B”is a science fiction short story by Kurt Vonnegut, first published in 1962. The story takes place in a dystopian future in which population control is maintained through a system of voluntary euthanasia.

The title of the story is derived from the telephone number one must dial to be connected with the Federal Bureau of Termination, which oversees the population control program. The story’s protagonist, Edward Wehling Jr., is awaiting the birth of his triplets, but is informed that he must find three volunteers to die in order to make room for his children.

As the story unfolds, Wehling struggles with the ethical implications of the population control program, and the impact it has on the lives of ordinary people. He is confronted with the harsh reality of a society in which the value of human life is determined by its usefulness to the state.

One of the most striking aspects of “2 B R 0 2 B” is Vonnegut’s use of dark humor to explore serious and complex themes. The story is filled with ironic and satirical observations about the nature of modern society, and the ways in which we treat each other.

At the same time, the story is also deeply poignant, and explores the emotional toll that the population control program takes on individuals and families. Wehling’s struggle to reconcile himself to the system, and his ultimate decision to sacrifice himself for his children, is a powerful commentary on the nature of sacrifice and the human condition.

Overall, “2 B R 0 2 B” is a masterful work of science fiction that explores some of the most fundamental questions of human existence. Vonnegut’s skillful use of dark humor, irony, and satire make this story a thought-provoking and engaging read, while his exploration of themes such as ethics, sacrifice, and the value of human life continue to resonate with readers today.

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