Quite possibly the most famous contribution Vonnegut made to written word is the simple phrase “So it goes,” from his novel Slaughterhouse Five. Throughout the book, the phrase “So it goes” is written after the death of any living thing. The blunt indifferent tone of the phrase actually creates an implied emotion behind it because of how terse, understated, and plainly unemotional of a response it is to death.
In the years since Slaughterhouse Five was published in 1959, “So it goes” has been integrated into modern society as a phrase indicative of the acceptance of a bitter happenstance. The short proclamation has even become so fundamentally part of the English language that writers all over the world have used it in reference to Kurt Vonnegut, the expression has even gone so far as to have been used by the popular author John Green in his national bestseller The Fault in our Stars. The succinct phrase is so incredibly well known—possibly even more widely known than the novel it stems from—because of its inimitable ability to concisely express the idea that bad things do happen, and it’s awful, but it’s also okay.