Adam is a short story by Kurt Vonnegut. It explores the value of life from the perspective of Heinz
Knechtmann. Heinz is elated with the birth of his son, but his attempts to spread his joy with his peers Mr.
Sousa and the bartender fail. His sense of joy is contrasted by Mr. Sousa, who has experienced the births of many daughters and has not suffered the way that he has. In the end, he realizes the greatest blessing of his son’s birth is within his family’s personal realm, not outside.
“They don’t care,” said Heinz. “They’re all too busy, busy, busy to notice life, to feel anything about it. A baby is born.”
He shrugged. “What could be duller?” (p.g 313)
“They couldn’t kill us, could they, Heinz?” (pg. 314)
This statement by Avchen, his wife, at the end of the story describes the understanding that the newborn represents the continuation of their family and will to live.
“They’re all too busy, busy, busy to notice life, to feel anything about it.” (pg. 312)
Here, Heinz describes the effect that everyday life has upon raw human emotion, one that dulls and deadens the uniqueness of new life.
Tone: Optimistic and grateful
Importance of Title: Adam is the first man in history, so the title represents what the newborn son means to Heinz: a new beginning from a past of death and suffering, or the continuation of themselves, just as man was made in the image of God.
Heinz Knechtmann –a man who values life despite how much he has suffered. Both he and his wife have witnessed much death, but he attempts to spread his joy to others as he believes he is making a positive impact to another.
Mr. Sousa- A man that has fallen into normal society views of a child due to his normal life of no hardships
The bartender/Harry/Dr. Powers- Americans that cannot associate with the joys of Knectmann
Pete Karl Knechtmann “would not look” shows how the child will progress through life like the other Americans as he does not “share the moment” with his father.
“There were five other booths, all empty” not only shows the grief of Heinz’s lost family and his awareness of being alone, but also symbolizes the 5 family members he states throughout the novel: Friederich, Helga, Karl, Kroll, and
The Bar- the social gatherings of society corruption and the turning point of Heinz views in life and his fall into society.
Hospital- the Marxist of the novel which holds the most power and controls to repopulation of society and also in the seed of manipulation and corruption seen through the ignorance and blindness of the nurse and doctor.