Style Analysis of Kurt Vonnegut on Slaughterhouse Five

1583 Words7 Pages
Though war is a traumatizing and miserable experience, it may also be able to move and inspire people to write a brilliant piece of literature. One example, for instance, is Kurt Vonnegut who may have been stimulated by the war, thus writing Slaughterhouse – Five. Though one may categorize this piece as science fiction or even auto - biographical, it can also be interpreted as an anti – war piece. Because Vonnegut is classified as a post modernist, one can take into account all the details, such as the similarities between the main character and Vonnegut, the Tralfamadorians, and the style and themes of the novel, and interpret this piece with an anti – war perspective. Vonnegut demonstrates his own antiwar sentiments throughout Slaughterhouse – Five with the use of irony, satire, science fiction and dark humor .
Billy Pilgrim, the main character, is similar to Vonnegut in many ways. One can agree that the most significant time in Vonnegut’s life was when he served in WWII, and was a prisoner of war (POW) in Dresden, Germany. There he experienced the firebombings of Dresden, which greatly shaped his feelings about war (1969 Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five). When Vonnegut created Billy Pilgrim, he made Billy subject to the experience of war. In fact, like Vonnegut , Billy was able to experience the same situations including the experiences of being a POW and in the firebombing of Dresden. But in Billy's case, Vonnegut writes with a sense of being anti – war (Insanity). For instance, when Vonnegut writes of the ways Billy views things, he makes Billy's view "slanted, which makes the reader perceive the war as something absurd, grotesque, macabre--in any case, not quite real" (Classic Notes). Here it is apparent that Vonnegut uses Billy to let the reader know of his own personal views by creating Billy much like himself. Vonnegut said the he always meant to place himself in all of his works and here is a great example of that (American Writers 753).
Though Vonnegut already emphasized Billy in his life during the war, he continues to do so after as well. Billy struggles to put himself back together after the war, which really shows the destructive power of war, but he does finally resolve to be an optometrist. One can also interpret his profession as a theme:
Perez 2 the importance of sight (Lichtenstein). This relates to Billy having “sight” bef...

... middle of paper ...

... Cited:

1969 Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five. 01 Dec. 2004.

Dunstan, Brittany. "Destruction of Dresden, Destruction of Vonnegut's Dream." Mark Vit's Kurt
Vonnegut Corner. Ed.Mark Vit. May 1999. 28 Nov. 2004.

"Insanity of War in Slaughterhouse-Five." Classic Notes. 2000. Grade Saver. 28 Nov 2004. 260 - 269

"Kurt Vonnegut." American Writers. Vol. 2 Supplement II, Part 2. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons,
1981. 750 – 755.

"Kurt Vonnegut, Jr." Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Sharon R. Gunton and Jean C. Stine. Volume
22. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1982. 263 - 267

Lichtenstein, Jesse. "Slaughterhouse-Five: Themes, Motifs, and Symbols." Spark Notes. 2002. Spark
Notes LLC. 29 Nov. 2004.

Quinn, Lewis. "A Critical Analysis of Slaughterhouse-Five."Mark Vit's Kurt Vonnegut Corner. Ed.
Mark Vit. Jan. 1998. 22 Nov. 2004.

"Slaughterhouse-Five." Novels for Students. Ed. Diane Telgen and Kevin Hile. Vol. 3. Detroit: Gale
Research, 1998. 264-270.

Vit, Marek. "The Themes of Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five." Mark Vit's Kurt
Vonnegut Corner. Ed. Marek Vit. Sept. 1997. 21 Nov. 2004.

More about Style Analysis of Kurt Vonnegut on Slaughterhouse Five

Open Document