"Billy is spastic in time, has no control over where he is going next, and the trips aren 't necessarily fun. He is in a constant state of stage fright, he says, because he never knows what part of his life he is going to have to act in next." (23)
Throughout the novel, Billy expresses his ability to time travel throughout different moments of his life, including his experiences with his own death and the creatures of Tralfamadore, (which appears to be his only way of escaping the horrific events). Billy continuously proves throughout the novel that he is not mentally stable; therefore, leading many to believe his experiences are merely coping mechanisms used to deal
with his trauma associated with the Dresden bombing. Post traumatic stress disorder is a very common aftermath of war and can be triggered by many horrific accidents that follow. Billy’s character displays all of the symptoms, aside from his ability to “travel through time”, he is also depressed, dissociative to reality, hopeless, and develops the inability to clearly discuss the events going on through his mind. Kurt Vonnegut suggests his reason for writing the novel is to illustrate the terrors of the Dresden bombing – yet only really focuses on Billy Pilgrim’s life altering ability through unrealistic (scientific) ...
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...gives Billy Pilgrim the sense of control he’s lacked his entire “spastic” life.
As Billy Pilgrim strives to cope with the haunting memories of the Dresden bombing, he creates a label for his irrational experiences: time-travel. It has been found that it is a lot safer for Billy to live in a universal atmosphere full of fantasy and sporadic memories than the reality he’s been submitted to. “The sudden ruptures that Billy Pilgrim experiences – the ones that send him reeling from present to past to present again – are best understood when read as traumatic memory, because the latter offers the most coherent way to understand the former.” (Wicks 5) Due to the continuous slaughters and horrors witnessed during the Dresden bombing, Billy Pilgrims mental state forced him to ultimately become stuck in an eternal internal war where time travel is the only escape from PTSD.
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