Reality And Fictionism In Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five

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Slaughterhouse-Five is a story of Billy Pilgrim 's capture by the Nazi Germans during the last years of World War II. Throughout the narrative, excerpts of Billy’s life are portrayed from his pre-war self to his post-war insanity. Billy is able to move both forward and backwards through his life in a random cycle of events. Living the dull life of a 1950s optometrist in Ilium, New York, he is the lover of a provocative woman on the planet Tralfamadore, and simultaneously an American prisoner of war in Nazi Germany. While I agree with Christopher Lehmann-Haupt that Slaughterhouse-Five effectively combines fact and fiction, I argue that the book is more centralized around coping. In Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five, Billy Pilgrim becomes…show more content…
This is said after every death, no matter who it is or what happened. "When a Tralfamadorian sees a corpse, all he thinks is that the dead person is in bad condition in the particular moment, but that the same person is just fine in plenty of other moments. Now, when I myself hear that somebody is dead, I simply shrug and say what the Tralfamadorians say about dead people, which is 'So it goes, '" (Vonnegut 27). Even Pilgrim’s own father past from a hunting accident, but Pilgrim states “so it goes” afterwards. Pilgrim nullifies the effects and sorrow of death by making it seem like a regular occurrence and feeling no remorse for it any longer. This helps him cope due to the fact that there were so many deaths that happened in the bombing of Dresden and making it seem, to him, not bad at all. If death still had an effect on Pilgrim, he’d be in tremendous pain due to his war experience. He was caught behind enemy lines, became a POW, saw his friend get executed for stealing a tea-pot, survived the severe bombing of Dresden, and after all this trauma, he is supposed to go back to his normal life of an average American working 9-5 and supporting a family of 4. No I don’t think that it is quite possible, which is why Pilgrim goes to such extreme measures to cope with his
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