Analysis Of Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five

1133 Words5 Pages
In his novel, Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut dips his words in satire and sprinkles them with hidden themes that can only be understood if one takes the necessary steps to seek them out. Upon dissecting these themes, I have come to find Vonnegut’s novel as one that unveils the mediocre reality of how society acts and thinks and offers suggestions on how the it should actually be. Such themes are also found in other pieces of literature, that when compared, evoke a better understanding of Slaughterhouse-Five. Such works of literature are Kurt Vonnegut’s satirical address to a graduating class at Bennington College in 1970, Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If,” and Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s “The World Is a Beautiful Place.” These writer’s ideas lie…show more content…
Vonnegut states in his address to a graduating class at Bennington College in 1970, "only in superstition is there hope,” an allegation that ties into a Cinderella allusion from his book. Considering Vonnegut utilized satire in writing both his speech and the book, it is presumable that he is conveying the opposite message. The book’s protagonist, Billy Pilgrim, is subtly compared to Cinderella due to how he survived the war despite the lack of efforts he made to live. In fact, he wanted to die, but somehow miraculously didn’t. His situation was very similar to Cinderella 's. She conducted no actual efforts of her own to become noticed and loved by Prince Charming. Subsequently, Billy remains cemented in the Cinderella mindset, not making any attempts to change anything, only relying on the possibility of the situation changing on its own. If we hope in superstition, just as Cinderella did (which resulted in her having a remarkable bout of luck without doing anything to provoke it), nothing will actually…show more content…
Life today in this world grants people with the luxury do that exact thing. Social media and the internet/television are the “Tastee-Freeze” of today. Ferlinghetti’s poem cradles satire entwined with the words of every line to a degree equivalent to Kurt Vonnegut’s novel, and it is with this mockery that they bear an identical paradoxical image of the “beautiful place” that the world is feigned to be. Yes, the world is a beautiful place “if you don’t mind some people dying / all the time / or maybe only starving / some of the time / which isn 't half bad / if it isn 't you.” (Ferlinghetti 14-19) With the simple push of a button on a T.V. remote or a mouse-click on a computer, no one is obliged to consult the “bitter coldness” or the world anymore. Even if war was being discussed on a news channel, it is watered down to be less acidic to the eyes and ears, and if it’s still too ghastly to handle… *click*. People now-a-days are far too apathetic about obtaining knowledge and choose ignorance instead, because often times ignorance is bliss and they wish to have the “pleasure” of the world without the “bitter coldness” of truth. One such image is found in Slaughterhouse-Five as Billy
Open Document