Theme Of Free Will In Slaughterhouse Five

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In Slaughterhouse Five written by Kurt Vonnegut, the plot focuses on a man who tends to regress back to his childhood, and earlier life using three important themes. These important themes are the destructiveness of war, the illusion of free will, and the importance of sight. In this novel, Kurt Vonnegut reflects on his experiences in the war in 1945 as a prisoner of war. This man is named Billy Pilgrim. Billy Pilgrim is a former prisoner of war who tends to be stuck in the same mindset as before. Billy is seeking forgiveness for his past, so that one day he can reach an oasis of serenity. Serenity is the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled with life. In order to reach serenity, Billy Pilgrim comes across a prayer. The prayer of serenity…show more content…
In the novel, Kurt Vonnegut proposes the question of whether free will exist or not. The Tralfamadorians live with the idea of the fourth dimension. The fourth dimension contains occurring and reoccurring events, considering that they believe all moments have already passed. According to the Tralfamadorians, there is only free will on Earth, considering humans only think of time as a linear progression. Billy regresses back to events as a child, and remembers when his father let him sink to the bottom of the pool where he prefers to be, but he was rescued. As a young adult, Billy was drafted into the war against his free will. Even as a soldier in the war, Billy is not taken solemnly by the other soldiers. Billy comes to the conclusion that even if he trained hard, and became a good soldier he’d still die like the other soldiers in Dresden who are much better than him. Billy’s real world on earth seems to be taken into bits and pieces into the Tralfamadorian world where Billy thinks is error free. Although the serenity prayer is directed towards God, Billy directs it towards the Tralfamadorians instead. This prayer is significant to this theme, because Billy is trying to live up to the standards of the Tralfamadorians, which is nearly impossible and
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