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Kurt Vonnegut’s Experience of Time Travel, War, and Death in Slaughterhouse-Five

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Slaughterhouse-Five is a stirring science-fiction book, which contains many interesting themes such as, space and time travel, philosophy on death, war, and aliens. In the novel Slaughterhouse-Five, The main character, Billy Pilgrim, is not in the first chapter. The author of this book, Kurt Vonnegut is the main character in this chapter (Harris). This book is written in a rather random order because Billy Pilgrim lived his life that way. In the novel Slaughterhouse-Five, the author’s imagination helps him get through reality by giving him the illusion that he is traveling through time and cannot die (Westbrook). Billy was a prisoner-of-war, but he continues with his normal life; he also believes that he was kid napped by aliens called Talfamadores (Peebles). These so called trips occur all through his life. He continues his life after serving in World War II by the occupation of optometry. He becomes rather wealthy but eventually dies. Giannone explains that there are three themes in Slaughterhouse-Five, which include, victory wins over death, the idea of no death, and the reader’s thoughts on the events of the book (Giannone).

Billy Pilgrim has gained the ability to become unstuck in time. Billy went to sleep one night as an old man, and has woken up the next day as a driven young engaged man (Vonnegut 23). He has no control over where he is going to stop next in his lifetime, these trips are rather frightening (Vonnegut 23). In Slaughterhouse-Five, Billy thinks he is able to escape the present and time travel, but really, he is going back in time and seeing the bombings and other experiences (Vees-Gulani). In this novel, time is not chronological order, the time lapsed in this novel is very large, the time is made up of sma...

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...Vol. 152. Literature Resources from Gale. Web. 17 Jan. 2014.

Shear, Walter. "Kurt Vonnegut: The Comic Fate of the Sensibility." The Feeling of Being: Sensibility in Postwar American Fiction. New York: Peter Lang, 2002. 215-239. Rpt. in Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Jeffrey W. Hunter. Vol. 212. Detroit: Gale, 2006. Literature Resources from Gale. Web. 17 Jan. 2014.

Vees-Gulani, Susanne. "Diagnosing Billy Pilgrim: a psychiatric approach to Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five." CRITIQUE: Studies in Contemporary Fiction 44.2 (2003): 175+. Literature Resources from Gale. Web. 17 Jan. 2014.

Vonnegut, Kurt. Slaughterhouse-Five. New York, New York: Dell Publishing, 1991. Print.

Westbrook, Perry D. "Kurt Vonnegut Jr.: Overview." Contemporary Novelists. Susan Windisch Brown. 6th ed. New York: St. James Press, 1996. Literature Resources from Gale. Web. 17 Jan. 2014.
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