Tralfamadore- Truth or Imagination?

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Can troublesome war experiences really play a role in causing hallucinations? A hallucination is a sensory experience of something that does not exist outside of one’s mind. An individual who suffers from hallucinations is Billy Pilgrim. Billy, a person who can supposedly time travel, jumps between his time on the alien planet Tralfamadore, his experiences during World War II, and his captivity in a German prison camp. His hallucinations may have been caused by the airplane crash that damaged his brain. He believes that there is a planet named Tralfamadore, far from Earth, and that he has been kidnapped and taken there to be studied. Throughout the novel, Billy believes that what he sees is real while many others, like his daughter Barbara, get the impression that it is just Billy’s imagination. In the novel Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, the parallels between Billy’s Tralfamadore and his horrid experiences of war, as well as Tralfamadore's similarities to Kilgore Trout’s science fiction books show that Tralfamadore is just a figment of Billy’s imagination.

Billy's obsession with Kilgore Trout's novels, which depict worlds and ideas similar to those of Tralfamadore, casts doubt on the reality of Tralfamadore. Billy's hallucinations are likely shaped by his fixation on these novels, which is clear in the many aspects of Tralfamadore that are similar to parts of Trout's books. One similarity is in “The Big Board...It was about an Earthling man and woman who were kidnapped by extra-terrestrials. They were put on display in a zoo on a planet called Zircon-212” (201). This shows the biggest clue that Tralfamadore is a figment of Billy’s imagination because his captivity on Tralfamadore is extremely reminiscent of the protagon...

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...ences but also to his other times in the real world.

Hallucinations are usually caused by extreme stress. It comes to the big idea that people let their imagination run wild when they experience horrific events. They are a way of coping with dreadful occasions, such as war, as they allow someone to escape from reality for a time. These delusions often mirror in some way experiences in a person's life, perhaps because the person is attempting to deal with these events psychologically. Billy's terrible experiences with the bombing of Dresden, and throughout the war, force him to seek refuge in hallucinations. His experiences on Tralfamadore are very similar to Trout's books and to his wartime experiences, and this similarity shows that Tralfamadore is a figment of Billy's imagination.

Works Cited

Vonnegut, Kurt. SlaughterHouse – Five. New York: MCA Music, 1969.
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