Essay on Billy Pilgrim 's Philosophy Of Time And Death

Essay on Billy Pilgrim 's Philosophy Of Time And Death

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Billy Pilgrim develops his own Tralfamadorian belief to explain all the deaths of the innocent people during the bombing of Dresden. During his daughters wedding a long time after the war Billy is abducted by aliens and taken to their plant of Tralfamadore. While there Billy learns of the alien’s philosophy of time and death. Billy realizes that this philosophy echoes his own feelings. To the Tralfamadorians time is constant not a linear progression of events, they explain, “All moments, past, present, and future, always have existed, always will exist” (Vonnegut 34). He turns to this belief to convince himself that these deaths were supposed to happen and there is nothing he or anyone could have done to stop them, what was going to occur had already been decided by destiny. At any point during the novel where death is mentioned, Vonnegut uses the phrase “so it goes,” this is the Tralfamadorian response to death. Billy is advised by the Tralfamadorians, “to concentrate on the happy moments of life, and to ignore the unhappy ones.” This can lead to problems as Cox explains, “Such a philosophy can, of course, lead to being passive and resigned rather than trying to oppose evil and make the world better.”
The Phrase “so it goes” is mentioned at any point where the is death in Slaughterhouse-five this Tralfamadorian saying is used Constantly by Vonnegut to show how humans should not react to war. Billy is indifferent about the death that occurs around him, speaking of it casually and as if the there are no consequences. There are critics such as Tony Tanner that believe that the book will read exactly like that “culpable moral indifference.” This is not what Vonnegut intends, Billy is blind to the suffering and pain that the reality ...


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...e promised “there won’t be a part for Frank Sinatra or John Wayne” (15). Slaughterhouse-five also conveys the idea of free will and predestination through the Characters. Billy is used as an example of the exact opposite of Vonnegut’s personal views. Billy’s Tralfamadorian belief that everything is pre-determined from his birth and there is no point in attempting to change anything since everything is meaningless. Vonnegut uses the sad supposedly meaningless life of Billy to demonstrate the dangers of quietism. He wants to show readers that they should make an effort to change, in turn changing their world and their future. Although Vonnegut’s tone is pessimistic, he successfully illustrates a sense of optimism and the belief in people to successfully change the world in which they live and that life is not meaningless no matter what traumas a person has experienced.

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