Slaughterhouse Five

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Thesis: Because he was unable to find comfort from human cruelty in common human institutions, Billy Pilgrim turns to the Tralfalmadorian concept of time.
Billy Pilgrim has been through many cruelties in his life. As a child his own father was cruel to him. They had gone to the Y.M.C.A. to teach Billy how to swim. A horrible, traumatic, event that would stay with Billy for the rest of his life. “Little Billy was terrified, because his father had said Billy was going to learn to swim by the method of sink-or –swim. His father was going to throw Billy into the deep end, and Billy was going to damn well swim”(43). Roland Wear was a very cruel man as well. He even to it as far as to try and kill Billy by kicking him in the spine. The only reason he had to kick Billy in the spine was because some organization Roland had in his mind about he, and the other two scouts being the “Three Musketeers”. In Roland’s mind, Billy had broken them up, he had severed the connection between the greatest fighting force in the army. “Weary drew back his right boot aimed a kick at the spine, at the tube which had so many of Billy’s important wires in it. Weary was going to break that tube”(51). A horrible and saddening event that even the U.S. A. would hide for twenty-three years from the people of its own nation. The bombing of Dresden was the major cruelty for the simple reason that it killed so many innocent people with there being no military around. One of the most beautiful cities in the world to see devastated by war. “There were hundreds of corpse mines operating by and by. They didn’t even smell bad at first, were wax museums. But then the bodies rotted and liquefied, and the stink was like roses and mustard gas”(214). Such horrible tragedies how could Billy ever even come close to being able to cope with them all? Something must keep Billy sane.
The failure to comfort Billy through human institutions, is how humanity has failed to try and comfort those less fortunate. Billy’s daughter, who is trying to comfort him constantly, does not do a very good job for the fact that she puts down every single thing that Billy will say about Tralfalmadoriane. If family should help comfort humans then why would Billy’s daughter yell at him so often? Family is supposed to be understanding and sensitive to each other’s proble...

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...madorian concept of time and has finally achieved the peace he has so long needed. “It was all right, said Billy. Everything is all right and everybody has to do exactly what he does. I learned that on Tralfalmadore”(198). As he was giving his speech in Chicago, Billy knew he would die that day by the end of his speech. This showed how much he had accepted what the Tralfalmadorian’s had taught to him. “It is time for your to go home to your wives and children, and it is time for me to be dead for a little while-and then live again.”(142). Billy’s belief in the Tralfalmadorian concept of time not only gives him peace of mind, but a courage that he will not fear death because he will still live in memories therefore not being dead at all.
The only way Billy could keep from going insane from the nagging question of “why”, was to turn to the Tralfalmadorian concept of time. Billy now has the answers to any of the “why” questions he has ever asked. This makes life more free and comforting to many people since they may now have a guilt free mind. “Now he closes his speech as he closes every speech- with these words: farewell, hello, farewell, hello”(142).
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