An Analysis Of Slaughterhouse Five By Kurt Vonnegut Essay

An Analysis Of Slaughterhouse Five By Kurt Vonnegut Essay

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An Analysis of Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut


Karol T. Bista




ENH 110
Mr. M. W. Hickman
October 12, 2015




An Analysis of Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five features numerous characters, some of which are major, and others minor. Primarily, the major characters, in no particular order, starts off with Billy Pilgrim, arguably the main character and hero of the book itself. Billy Pilgrim is almost like a funny looking, ragdoll or tool-like character during the course of the book. He becomes unstuck in time, and uncontrollably is able to travel throughout time from his early years of life to his days as a prisoner of the Germans during World War II, his abduction by the Tralfamadorians, all the way to his days in a mental home. Alongside Billy, the narrator is probably the next most major character. The narrator is writing a war book, and he proceeds to tell the story of Billy as he travels through time, having given up on writing his war book. He often included himself in the story as ‘Kurt Vonnegut’ himself, keeping an anti-war sentimental voice, and some rather subtle wisecracks. Bernard V. O’Hare is another important character, a friend of the narrator, both of whom have fought in World War II together. Bernard has aged a lot, and doesn’t drink or act as he used to.
Paul Lazzaro, another major character, was a soldier who was kept as a prisoner alongside Billy. He had a body conditioned even worse than that of Billy, he was weak, had rotting teeth and bones, and boil-scarred skin. He is very hateful and violent, and vows vengeance for Roland Weary by having Billy shot. Valencia Merble is Billy’s wife, and the daughter of the owner of the optometry school, which Billy attends....


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...not want. “Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time” (Vonnegut 23): the speaker of the occasion is the narrator, and the occasion is when the narrator reveals that Billy is able to travel time, so to speak; truly he does this without total control, but he is able to travel time at random times, and visit from his birth to his time during World War II, and his death. “Billy is spastic in time, has no control over where he is going next, and the trips aren’t necessarily fun. He is in a constant state of stage fright, he says, because he never knows what part of his life he is going to have to act in next” (Vonnegut 23): the speaker of the occasion is the narrator, and the occasion is the beginning of the second chapter when it is addressed Billy has lost control over time, but also feels phony in his own life; his lack of conviction makes him into a nontraditional hero.

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