This is because of his firsthand experience in his involvement in World War I. He had been exposed to the horrors of war himself. In the story "Soldier's Home" a man who represents Hemingway comes home from World War I much to late. No one appreciated what he had done for his country and was forever psychologically damaged. He came home as a totally different person and now couldn't lead a normal life.
Slaughterhouse-Five, a novel written by Kurt Vonnegut, tells the story of the devastating effects of war on a man, Billy Pilgrim, who joins the army fight in World War II. The semi-autobiographical novel sheds light on one of history’s most tragic, yet rarely spoken of events, the 1945 fire-bombing of Dresden, Germany. Kurt Vonnegut was born in 1922 in Indianapolis, Indiana to German parents. As a young man, Vonnegut wrote articles strongly opposing war for his high school newspaper, and the school newspaper of Cornell University, where he attended college (Allen 1). World War II broke out when he was just 16 years old, and at the age of 20, Vonnegut joined the US army.
The dark shadow of his wartime experiences hung over him until he decided to put pen to paper and write this novel, along with others. He wrote this anti-war novel to show not just how he felt during the war but how society felt, making it a popular captivating novel to tell of a generation of men who escaped the war, but were still destroyed. Paul Baumer is the novel’s
I. Author- Kurt Vonnegut’s background had an endless influence upon his writing. In his early years, Vonnegut was a private in the 106th infantry division in World War II. He and five scouts were caught behind enemy lines, and then captured. They were held POWs and were beaten on various occasions. In 1945, they witnessed the fire-bombing of Dresden, Germany.
Post-traumatic stress disorder also affects people on an emotional level. People with PTSD are anguished by their gruesome experience. At times victims of PTSD are haunted by the memories of the traumatic event they faced; for instance, Dexter Filkin, writer for The New Yorker, wrote about Lu Lobello, a victim of PTSD, who has typically would wake up in the middle of the night, sweaty and “…couldn’t stop thinking about his time in Iraq” (“Atonement”). Lobello tortured by the grievances of someone who he’d harmed, attempted to apologize to the family through a video camera, as he began apologize he started to telling them, “I’m sorry for your loss” (qtd.in “Atonement”). To achieve sanctuary, Lobello wanted to speak to the victims from his tour
Later in his adolescence he showed signs of a mental disorder when he drastically intensified the risk of death in relatively safe environments, such as visits to a cavern or the Grand Canyon. During the Second World War, Billy was a war prisoner and witnessed the fire bombing of Dresden – the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. While imprisoned, he attempted to sleep in close quarters with other soldiers, but many complaints arose about Billy’s whimpering and violent spasms during sleep, two examples of sleeping disturbances common to people with post-traumatic stress disorder. After having to dig through the rubble of Dreseden, in search of corpses, he was rescued, only to be honorably released due to his father’s death. After a short break from traumatic occurrences, Billy had the honor of being the sole survivor of a plane crash; his brain was slightly damaged and while he was recuperating, his wife died, of carbon monoxide poisoning.
He begins, not as Billy Pilgrim, but as Kurt Vonnegut, explaining his personal war experiences. He writes in first person to give the reader a primary source of what it was like to be a soldier at war. He experiences the horrific bombings at Dresden, “of which 135,000 people died—more people, Vonnegut tells us, than died in Hiroshima or Nagasaki” (Cacicedo). Vonnegut, who becomes a Prisoner Of War, is extremely traumatized due to what he saw during World War Two. Vonnegut, as well as being a POW, was forced to shovel out the dead corpses of his fellow soldiers.
Throughout the novel, one of the author's style of writing was to jumble events up, ranging from Billy’s experiences in war to his simplistic life as an optometrist. In each and every instant that something similar happened between two moments in his life, Billy would either jump forward in time or go back, as far as his birth. One particular distinct event that should have made Billy rewind to but did not was the horrendous Dresden bombing. That dreadful and fearful event that arose as his time as a prisoner of war was much to gruesome to endure more than the initial time. He does not wish to see human suffering simply because he cannot accept it.
The German guards called the meat locker “Schlachthof Fünf” which translated to “Slaughterhouse Five" (Wiki). After the unforgettable experience of the bombing the name stuck with the building and was soon his inspiration for his famous novel, Slaughterhouse-Five. Slaughterhouse-Five was Vonnegut’s novel written about the journey and experience of a young solider named Billy Pilgrim. Vonnegut makes the biggest event in his novel the bombing of Dresden to make the novel a semi-autobiography because like Billy, Vonnegut experienced the horrible bombing personally. The main character, Billy Pilgrim portrays the experiences that Vonnegut went through while he was a suffering POW.
Both were in the American army and became prisoners of war. Also, they both witnessed the fire-bombing of Dresden, Germany. “Dresden was destroyed on the night of February 13, 1945,’ Billy Pilgrim began. ‘We came out of our shelter the next day.” (Slaughterhouse-Five 179) Billy is a thin frail boy who joined the Army so he would become a man, like the author. ”World War II attracted them both because they realized that it was an important time in history.