Theme Of Fatalism In Slaughterhouse Five

1343 Words6 Pages
In his satirical novel Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut details the amusing, awful, and absurd happenings in the life of Billy Pilgrim. Not only does Vonnegut entertain the reader with the story of Billy Pilgrim, but he also conveys to the reader his own ideas including the irrationality of war and the concept of fatalism, all with a humorous tone. The entire novel, including its themes and its comedy, can be encapsulated in the scene in which Billy Pilgrim, having been placed in the prison compound for captured British soldiers, goes outside at night and unknowingly wanders to the latrine. With this passage, Vonnegut provides the reader with not only humor through his description of the latrine, but also insight into the novel 's topics such as fatalism and the absurdity of war.

The first of the themes illustrated in this passage is fatalism, the idea that all events are inevitable and cannot be changed. The passage begins with Billy urinating on the ground outside the compound and then pondering the question, "Where had he come from, and where should he go now?" (Vonnegut 124). This problem
…show more content…
Alongside the main ideas of the passage are the satirical and humorous portrayals of Billy 's experience in the prison. All of these concepts express the postmodernism of Vonnegut, with the latrine representing the terrible realities of life, Billy 's question showing the futility of opposing reality, and comedy being Vonnegut 's alternative response to such unpleasant truths. Within this one section of Billy 's abnormal life, Vonnegut summarizes the postmodernist views upon which the entire novel is
Open Document