Slaughterhouse Five

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Slaughter house 5 “We had been foolish virgins in the war right at the end of childhood” Slaughterhouse Five-Kurt Vonnegut “The children’s crusade started in 1213 when two monks got the idea of raising armies of children in France and Germany, and selling them in North Africa as slaves. Thirty thousand children volunteered thinking they were going to Palestine. (p.16) The Children’s Crusade and the World Wars are similar because of the drafting of the innocent to do the duties of a nation. The children who volunteered were the “idle and deserted children who generally swarm in great cities, nurtured on vice and daring,” they thought they were going to Palestine but really they were being sold as slaves. Children are naive and very gullible, trusting in the words of the adults around them. They also believe that they have a grasp on their lives and control of the obstacles in life one discovers through experience when, in reality they have exactly the opposite. The young who fought in Dresden went off to war without knowing what to expect, much like the Children’s Crusade volunteers. Good fortune might have been one of the promises sworn in boot camp but what they received was the complete scythe of silence. Left behind, untagged and forgotten on the battleground, their bodies disintegrated into the earth leaving the young’s’ potentials undone. When Billy Pilgrim went to war “He didn’t look like a soldier at all, he looked like a filthy flamingo.” Not ready to go out the door like a child, Billy is unprepared to go to war. No helmet, no protective armor, weapon or proper footwear he is as ready as a child who has not woken yet. Billy is clearly a child in many ways: he is naïve, gullible, ignorant, and lacks historical judgment and experience. “The third bullet was for the filthy flamingo, who stopped dead center in the road when the lethal bee buzzed past his ear. Billy stood there politely, giving the marksman another chance.” This clearly illustrated the child-like person Billy is. Instead of duck and cover, Billy stands there as if he were playing a board game he didn’t want to play and in protest did not move his player. He doesn’t truly grasp the distraught situation he is in and he most certainly doesn’t comprehend it. By not looking out for his own interest he becomes an infantile creature depending on the civil duties of others.

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