War In Poed In Slaughterhouse Five, By Kurt Vonnegut

1207 Words5 Pages
War in itself can affect many people in many different ways, wives take on twice the responsibility, and mothers mourn the loss of their child’s innocence. At the time of this novel there had been no research on what happens when you return from war. Kurt Vonnegut in Slaughterhouse-Five touches on how it is to deal with this mental illness before it was diagnosed as post-traumatic stress disorder. The author uses science fiction’s raw intensity to alter Billy Pilgrim’s imagination after he returns from the war. As he is a victim of this undiagnosed mental illness, he uses science fiction’s effect on him as a coping mechanism. Through the experiences of Billy Pilgrim, Kurt Vonnegut explores the powerful impact science fiction had on a vulnerable…show more content…
Post-traumatic stress disorder, develops after a trauma filled event, and is a recurring reaction, such as distressing memories of the event. Anyone that has experienced two or more traumatic events in a brief setting causes the brain to absolve glucocorticoid, a hormone that controls response to stress. Signs and symptoms of PTSD of veteran is great distress by constant reminders, nightmares or vivid flashbacks that makes it feel real, and emotionally distant from others. The symptoms emanate from an insufficient way of handling extreme stress, such as relieving a stressful situation. With all the traumatizing events veterans faced, it is “estimated that about 30 out of every 100 (or 30%) of Vietnam Veterans have had PTSD in their lifetime” (Gradus). Like many others Billy Pilgrim goes in and out of his WWII experiences, remembering what happened, but for him time becomes shattered into pieces. After the war Billy truly has no control over time, he was sporadic in his thoughts,which is common for people dealing with a traumatic event, over and over again. Imagination and creativity are big keys that Billy uses to “travel” back and forth in time and to deal with surviving the air raid on Dresden. As a “time traveler” Billy keeps going back to Dresden and revisiting the times he had to hide from the violence. He travels in time and creates a whole new dimension of his own as a coping mechanism…show more content…
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 is fond of Trout’s outlook because it brings him comfort from the disappointing reality of the war. Trout is a wild writer of obscure imaginative science fiction, who writes to reinvent the universe to fit a new set rules, something new and unexpected. Some of the works of Kilgore Trout resemble very closely to what Billy is going through, in terms of the Tralfamadorians and use of the fourth dimension, they can be compared to the place most people who suffer from PTSD go to in their mind in order to escape reality. Trout’s novels that simulate components of Billy’s life are: The Big Board where two humans come in contact with extraterrestrials,
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