Underlying Themes Unveiled in Slaughterhouse Five

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Underlying Themes Unveiled in Slaughterhouse Five

Born in 1922, a contemporary novelist named Kurt Vonnegut has achieved great success as a writer in modern society. He got his start in writing during 1948 by contributing his time and efforts to the Shortridge High School student newspaper, the Daily Echo. While attending Cornell University in 1940, Kurt worked on the school’s Daily Sun. He joined the U.S. Army two years later. In 1947, Vonnegut worked for the General Electric Corporation as a research laboratory publicist. This job was obviously not what he wanted to do forever, so he decided to leave and devote his full time to writing in 1950. He published Slaughterhouse-Five in 1969.

Slaughterhouse-Five, also known as The Children’s Crusade, A Duty Dance with Death, deceivingly appears to be a simplistic story after reading the opening chapter. It is a personal novel about the author, Kurt Vonnegut, and his struggles and experiences during World War II and how they impacted his life. Upon reading into the latter chapters of the novel, you can see that the first impression of the book’s content is defunct because cleverly intermittent themes, contrasts, and morals can be identified. Through a simple man named Billy Pilgrim, Vonnegut disguises a lecture against war and an acceptance of death.

The story begins with a warning that the novel was hard for Vonnegut to create. “This one is a failure”, he writes, “since it was written by a pillar of salt” (Vonnegut 22). In the story, we find that Billy idolizes an unpopular science-fiction writer named Kilgore Trout. Trout’s unpopularity parallels with Vonnegut’s own humble perception of his abilities. Just as Trout does, Vonnegut keeps writing his works ...

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...ame thing out of curiosity. Even though she turned into a pillar of salt for doing this, Vonnegut feels as though it was the right thing to do just because it was human and possibly her fate. The reason that we cannot change is because God himself put us in this amber.

The lesson learned from this book is to open your mind to new ideas. Maybe everything is not the way that we have always envisioned it. Death is not as horrible as it may seem because your life will be remembered by others; therefore, we are immortal in the hearts and minds of others.

Works Cited

Klinkowitz, Jerome. Contemporary Writers-Kurt Vonnegut. London: Methuen, Inc., 1982.

Lundquist, James. Kurt Vonnegut. New York: Frederick Ungar

Publishing Co., 1977.

Vonnegut, Kurt. Slaughterhouse-Five. New York: Dell

Publishing Co., 1969.
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