The Biblical Allusion of Lot's Wife in Slaughterhouse-Five Essays

The Biblical Allusion of Lot's Wife in Slaughterhouse-Five Essays

Length: 1998 words (5.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Term Papers

Open Document

Essay Preview

Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Slaughterhouse-Five, uses the biblical allusion of Lot’s wife looking back on the destroyed cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to parallel the story of Billy Pilgrim during the war and his experience after, when he returns to the United States. Although the reference is brief, it has profound implications to the portrayal of America during World War II, especially the bombing of Dresden. Although Lot’s wife’s action dooms her to turn into a pillar of salt, the narrator emphasizes her choice to indicate the importance of being compassionate and having hindsight. Ultimately, Slaughterhouse-Five critiques the American social attitude to disregard the unjust nature of its actions in World War II. Furthermore, Vonnegut’s novel explicates this by elucidating the horrors of war—especially in regard to the massacre of innocence, how it leaves the soldiers stagnant when they return home, and leaves them empty with an American Dream that cannot be fulfilled. In order to combat violence, the novel stresses that one must hold human life to a higher value and be compassionate towards others; America must acknowledge its mistakes so that the soldiers who fought and died for her so that the soldiers may move on.
The narrator appreciates Lot’s wife deeply because she “looks back” which is what American society fails to do after World War II and, in doing so, fails to recognize their own faults. Rumfoord epitomizes this attitude when he tells Billy, a survivor of the Dresden firebombing, that the bombing of Dresden “had to be done” (253). The diction of ‘had’ and the emphasis placed on it indicates an attitude that America’s obliged to destroy the unarmed, civilian city. Furthermore, ‘done’ has a double meaning in the...


... middle of paper ...


...and Gomorrah, except that Dresden does not represent inherent evil. Through the biblical reference of Lot’s wife and her role in Sodom and Gomorrah, a critique of war and of the slaughter of the innocent lives is presented in Slaughterhouse-Five. Ultimately, the work creates a dichotomy between the narrator and protagonist, Billy Pilgrim. It emphasizes the narrator’s value on human life and stresses the importance of compassion and being human. Slaughterhouse-Five elucidates the horrors of war and the stagnation it leaves those involved and fails to offer a way forward, but powerfully relishes in the value of human life and the importance being nonviolent.


Work Cited

Vonnegut, Kurt. Slaughterhouse-Five. New York: Dial. 2009. Print.

Rackstraw, Loree. “The Vonnegut Cosmos.” The North American Review 267.4 (Dec. 1982): 63-67. JSTOR. Web. 25 Sept. 2011.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Slaughterhouse Five By Kurt Vonnegut Essay

- One of my favorite books is Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut and I think that it is an excellent example of finding order in disorder. Vonnegut uses the main character, Billy, and the Tralfamadorians’ sense of time, to find order in the chaos that was the bombing of Dresden. Vonnegut has given me a new outlook on my life heading into the future and has helped me to find order in the chaos that is life’s misfortunes. Vonnegut starts off the book by saying “I thought it would be easy for me to write about the destruction of Dresden.” This is important because Vonnegut is acknowledging that he can’t just write about what happened to him during Dresden because “There is nothing intelligent t...   [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut, Death]

Term Papers
1077 words (3.1 pages)

Coping Mechanisms in Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five Essay

- People react differently to tragedies: some mourn, some speak up, and some avoid the sorrow. In Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut suggests the danger and inhumanity of turning away from the discomfort by introducing Billy Pilgrim as someone who is badly affected by the aftermath of the Dresden bombing, and the Tralfamadorians as the aliens who provide an easy solution to Billy. It is simpler to avoid something as tragic as death, but Vonnegut stresses the importance of confronting it. Vonnegut, like many artists, expresses his ideas through his creations....   [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five]

Term Papers
1664 words (4.8 pages)

Essay about Slaughterhouse Five By Kurt Vonnegut

- How has Slaughterhouse Five borrowed from other texts to emphasize the theme of war. The novel Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut is a narrative about a man named Billy Pilgrim. Billy participates in World War II and the novel follows his life and focuses on his reaction to the war and his travels to an extraterrestrial planet called Tralfamadore. Many speculate that this book reflects Vonnegut’s feelings about war and have drawn parallels between Vonnegut and Billy Pilgrim. Kurt Vonnegut has the characters read various texts throughout Slaughterhouse Five to emphasize his feelings about war....   [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut, Kilgore Trout]

Term Papers
807 words (2.3 pages)

Slaughterhouse Five By Kurt Vonnegut Essay

- Slaughterhouse-Five “So it Goes”: Someone breaks something. So it goes. Somebody dies. So it goes. Throughout Kurt Vonnegut’s novel “Slaughterhouse-five”, “so it goes” was stated 106 times expressing the general sense of acquiescence to the way things are. The author made that the catchphrase to show that bad things that occur should be accepted, because there is nothing that can be done to change it, bringing in the idea of fate. Vonnegut made very big examples of using “so it goes” with people that went through these types of events, the Tralfamadorians that the main character Billy Pilgrim encountered, and the story from the Gideon bible that was alluded to in the novel....   [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut, Kilgore Trout]

Term Papers
754 words (2.2 pages)

Billy Pilgrim's Coping Mechanism for PTSD in Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five

- In Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five, Billy Pilgrim becomes “unstuck” in time. The question here is, why. The fact of the matter is that he does not actually begin to time-travel. Billy “becomes unstuck” as a coping mechanism to deal with his traumatic experiences during the war. Billy attempts to reorganize his life’s events and cope with a disorder known as post traumatic stress (PTSD). “Post traumatic stress disorder is a debilitating condition that follows a terrifying event” (Marilyn 8). It occurs when one has witnessed or experienced a traumatic event, such as war, child abuse, or other types of violence....   [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five]

Free Essays
1243 words (3.6 pages)

An Analysis Of Slaughterhouse Five By Kurt Vonnegut Essay

- 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....   [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut, Kilgore Trout]

Term Papers
1441 words (4.1 pages)

Essay about Slaughterhouse Five By Kurt Vonnegut

- Slaughterhouse-Five, written by Kurt Vonnegut, is an anti-war book about the firebombing of Dresden, which the author witnessed in World War II. In the book, the reader is introduced with the main character Billy Pilgrim, who seems to have come "unstuck in time," rendering him the ability to travel or relive the past, present, and future (Vonnegut). Billy learns later on, from an alien race named the Tralfamadorians, that all time exists simultaneously. Vonnegut begins the book, however, with anecdotes from when he was just starting to write the book and how writing it led him to develop new ideas on war....   [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut]

Term Papers
2023 words (5.8 pages)

Free Slaughterhouse-Five Essays: Dresden

- Slaughterhouse Five      Dresden "In Slaughterhouse Five, -- Or the Children's Crusade, Vonnegut  delivers a complete treatise on the World War II bombing of Dresden. The main character, Billy Pilgrim, is a very young infantry scout* who is captured in the Battle of the Bulge and quartered in a Dresden slaughterhouse where he and other prisoners are employed in the production of a vitamin supplement for pregnant women. During the February 13, 1945, firebombing by Allied aircraft, the prisoners take shelter in an underground meat locker....   [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five Essays]

Free Essays
563 words (1.6 pages)

Slaughterhouse-Five Essay: Three Themes of Slaughterhouse-Five

- The Three Themes of Slaughterhouse-Five Kurt Vonnegut did a great job in writing an irresistible reading novel in which one is not permitted to laugh, and yet still be a sad book without tears. Slaughterhouse-five was copyrighted in 1969 and is a book about the 1945 firebombing in Dresden which had killed 135,000 people. The main character is Billy Pilgrim, a very young infantry scout who is captured in the Battle of the Bulge and quartered to a slaughterhouse where he and other soldiers are held....   [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five Essays]

Term Papers
938 words (2.7 pages)

Death and Time in Slaughterhouse-Five Essay

- Death and Time in Slaughterhouse-Five We all wish we could travel through time, going back to correct our stupid mistakes or zooming ahead to see the future. In Kurt Vonnegut's novel Slaughterhouse-Five, however, time travel does not seem so helpful. Billy Pilgrim, Vonnegut's main character, has come unstuck in time. He bounces back and forth between his past, present, and future lives in a roller coaster time trip that proves both senseless and numbing. Examining Billy's time traveling, his life on Tralfamadore, and the novel's schizophrenic structure shows that time travel is actually a metaphor for our human tendency to avoid facing the unpleasant reality of death....   [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five Essays]

Term Papers
816 words (2.3 pages)