Kurt Vonnegut is the author of Slaughterhouse Five and he was a soldier during World War II. Slaughterhouse Five is a fictional story of what a man named Billy Pilgrim went through as a prisoner of war in Germany during World War II. Vonnegut experienced the bombing of Dresden in Germany when was a prisoner of war. Vonnegut's prison in Dresden, Germany was a slaughterhouse that the Germans forced the prisoners of war to live in. He relates some of his experiences during World War II to help him create the fictional story about Billy Pilgrim.
After joining the German army and experiencing the horror of the war first-hand, Bäumer struggles to reconcile the view of the war held by his friends and family at home with his personal experience of it. Before enlisting, Bäumer is “crammed full of vague ideas which gave … to the war … an ideal and almost romantic character” (25). He understands war to be glorious and desirable; however, these enthusiastic opinions are swept away after he witnesses a few of his comrades’ deaths. When Bäumer visits one of his friends, dying in a hospital, he is sorrowfully indignant, thinking, “There he lies now—but why? The whole world ought to pass by this bed and say: ‘That is Franz Kemmerich, nineteen and a half years old, he doesn’t want to die.
Eliot Rosewater is the first to introduce Billy to science fiction through the novels lent to him during their time together at the veteran’s hospital. Billy instantly became fascinated with science fiction and the author Kilgore Trout. Rosewater tells Billy his theory on how, “guys are going to have to come up with a lot of wonderful new lies, or people just aren 't going to want to go on living '" (Vonnegut 101). Their unnerving experiences in war would cause them to fabricate something to distract their minds from what they have endured. Kilgore Trout, an unsuccessful science fiction author imagines new and different ways of the world’s proceedings.
Billy Pilgrim is a veteran of World War II. Billy was captured and became a prisoner of war, during the time of the Dresden Firebombing. The prisoners of war are forced to collect the bodies of the people killed. These events affect Billy in an un-reparable manner that will change his life forever. Post traumatic stress is defined as a psychological reaction occurring after experiencing a highly stressing event (1).
The Iraqi soldiers describe how death becomes the new norm; soldiers tend to lose the value behind taking someone’s life after so many years fighting in combat. The various soldiers express how they feel: There is guilt for taking another man’s life, guilt for being okay when their fellow soldiers suffering from serious combat accidents, and guilt for reporting home while the rest of the combat team is still stuck fighting in the Iraq War. In conclusion, “Soldiers’ Stories” and “Hiroshima” are very similar; they use the victims’ stories of war to send you on a journey through different viewpoints about the evils of war. John Berger’s story “Hiroshima” focuses on how the evils of war affect the average innocent civilian while “Soldiers’ Stories” by various authors illustrate how the evils of war affect
The brutal description of the dead man along with his dead hopes and dreams was very emotional. I was surprised with how O’Brien humanized the enemy and talked about his fears and emotions. Furthermore, O’Brien looks at how both men were driven to fight in the war not because they wanted to but because of the pressure put on them by society. Although originally my paper was going to be about Slaughter House Five, reading that chapter and the subsequent chapters drove me to write about O’Brien’s book. In his book, Tim O’Brien He talks about the effects of war on both sides in particular the man he killed.
Slaughter House Five was written by Kurt Vonnegut, during the year of nineteen sixty nine. It is a story centered on war, however unlike other war novels written during his time, his book is antiwar. In the story Billy the protagonist struggles through World War II and his free will is constantly overruled by fate. He also has an arduous time accepting the idea that people can suffer so much in life and be forced to do things they are not willing to do. This due to the fact that he can relate to this.
It didn’t take Billy long to realize after being a POW in Germany that there is no good outcomes when it comes to war. After he returned home from the war he tried to distance himself from everyone around him. He would constantly have flashbacks thinking about his experiences and the pain he went through. When Billy was engaged in the Battle of the Bulge he realized the only way he could cope with the hard times was to use death as an escape. When times got tough after the war he also turned to death as an escape.
In the words of Vonnegut, “they made war look stylish, reasonable and fun.” Another interesting thing that Vonnegut does is that he frequently uses the phrase “So it goes,” after every death or mention of dying in the novel. He uses the phrase very often, and after a certain amount of time, it begins to remind the reader that the reader is powerless to stop all the killing that is going on. Vonnegut uses irony very often to strengthen the readers’ contempt for war. Edgar Derby, the well-liked high sc... ... middle of paper ... ...me soldiers refuse to fire a shot due to the great personal conflict within them to kill another human being. Normal human beings cannot kill in cold blood.
PTSD prevents Billy from living a healthy life, which shows readers that the war does not stop after the fighting is over and the aftermath is ongoing. Billy Pilgrim’s story portrays the bombing and war in a negative light to readers, as Vonnegut shows the damaging effects of war on an individual, such as misperception of time, disconnect from peers, and inability to feel strong emotions, to overall create a stronger message. Billy Pilgrim time travels to various moments in his life at random, which suggests he has no power over his mind and the memories that haunt him. He “is spastic in time, (and) has no control over where he is going next” (Vonnegut 43), as he struggles to make sense of his past. Billy’s ability to remember events in an erratic sequence, mirrors the happenings of war.