Why Slaughterhouse-Five Is an Anti-War Novel

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Slaughterhouse-Five displays many themes. However, there is a dispute as to whether the book is an anti-war novel or not. Slaughterhouse-Five, the character Kurt Vonnegut explains to Mary O’Hare, is intended to be an anti-war novel, and he says that it shall also be called The Children’s Crusade because of the effect it had on young men who fought in the war. Slaughterhouse-Five is an anti-war novel because Vonnegut, the character, says it is in the first chapter, because it depicts the terrible long-term effects the war has on Billy, and because it exposes war's devastating practices.

The first element to why Slaughterhouse-Five is an anti-war novel is because Vonnegut, the character, says it is. In the first chapter the character Vonnegut speaks with Mary O'Hare, the wife of Bernard O'Hare and antagonist of war, regarding the book that he will write and how it views war. Vonnegut also discusses with Mary why the book will be called The Children's Crusade. Mary says, "‘You will pretend you were men instead of babies...’" (14). Mary is accusing Vonnegut of writing the novel and saying that they were prepared for war because she thinks that he will glorify war by disregarding the fact that he and her husband were just young men not ready to fight in a war. She worries he will instead create characters who were heroes of war and show that they were ready to fight. Vonnegut answers, "‘I'll tell you what,’ he said, ‘I'll call it The Children's Crusade’" (15). He uses this as a response to show that he is writing an anti-war novel because he wanted to emphasize that they were not ready to fight in war and that they should not have fought in the war because they were young and unprepared.

Another reason Slaughterhouse-Five is an a...

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... go down in that stick and work" (214). This scene shows a horrific reality because it exposes the gruesome deaths of many innocent people during the bombing. It also displays the terrible reality that a whole city population could be wiped out in just one bombing.

In conclusion, Slaughterhouse-Five is an anti-war novel because Vonnegut, the character, says it is in the first chapter, the terrible damage it left on Billy, and how it exposes war's horrifying practices. Knowing these elements, one might wonder why people still have wars. Although these anti-war novels cannot completely stop wars, they are important. The role that such novels play is one of raising awareness of war's actions and wrongdoings. Since the role of the novels is important, authors should continue to write them to keep people informed and educated about a problem of such a huge magnitude.
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