Kurt Vonnegut 's Slaughterhouse Five Essay

Kurt Vonnegut 's Slaughterhouse Five Essay

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In a world that has become callous to cruelty and harshness, authors began to develop characters which embodied those who were struggling to cope with growing inhumanity and impassivity. Such authors are as postmodernists. Fragmentation and paradoxes characterize their novels. Within postmodernism, the use of science fiction allows the writer to demonstrate worldviews while avoiding the imposition of perverted casualty upon the subject. One author who has mastered the era of postmodernism is Kurt Vonnegut. Frequently using fantastical elements, Vonnegut created a connection between a time of skepticism and one of faith marked by novelty and youth ("Kurt Vonnegut, Jr."). Also, his writing often contains a pessimistic and satirical tone. These are prominent in his novel Slaughterhouse-Five, the narrative that marked the beginning of his period of depression. The years spent in depression were the result of traumatic life experiences such as surviving the Dresden Firebombing. Cast into a state of disillusionment from his experiences in World War II, Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Slaughterhouse-Five uses a postmodern, satirical approach to express the chaos and disorganization of the universe.
Many advanced thought processes began to develop as a result of the World War II period. One of these became known as postmodernism. This genre is a direct challenge to many of the modernist themes. For example, the human ability to use reason to address any fundamental truth of physical and social conditions and make them amenable to rational control was central to modernism but disputed within postmodernism (Salberg, Daniel). Marked by silence, deconstruction, antitheses, schizophrenia, and immanence, postmodernism was an intensely emotional respon...


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..., Slaughterhouse-Five serves many purposes. It is a historical narrative centered on real events as well as an opportunity for Vonnegut to tell his story and possibly gain some closure with the brutality that he witnessed. The messages within Slaughterhouse-Five are powerful because this novel was written purely to bring light to a critical and often disregarded experience which distinctly defined his life. To enforce the understanding of the increasing indifference towards violence in the world, Vonnegut masterfully uses absurd qualities and highly satirical rhetoric. His past lead him to the philosophies of humanism which are prevalent in all of his novels. It is the combination of all of the stylistic elements in Vonnegut’s writing that earned him a name in American literature and is perhaps the reason that his narratives remain impactful nearly fifty years later.

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