Kurt Vonnegut 's Slaughterhouse Five Probes Essay

Kurt Vonnegut 's Slaughterhouse Five Probes Essay

Length: 1886 words (5.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Time travel has been one of most thrilling topics in the science fiction novels. Some characters possess the ability to travel through time without any limitations. They can change the course of history. While their time travel ability fascinates their readers, time travels further provoke readers’ deliberate thinking about their own lives without the precious ability of time travel. Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five probes into precisely these questions about time travel. In his immensely popular book, the protagonist, Billy Pilgrim, is a World War II veteran who “has come unstuck in time” (Vonnegut 29). Pilgrim travels through time back and forth between war period and post war period. Because of this, he knows that he will be the only survivor after the bombing of Dresden, that knows that he will survive an airplane crash, and even that he claims that he has been kidnapped by being from the planet Tralfamadore who have the ability to see their lives in the fourth dimension, time. Despite the fact that Vonnegut depicts characters who embody the philosophical ideas of absurdism in his book, Slaughterhouse-Five, a work of fiction, in fact, satirically criticizes the indifferent human attitude toward life, despises people who believes in fate, and, most imporatantly, loudly denounces the brutality of war, especially modern, mechanized warfare on the scale of World War II.  
In his book, Vonnegut uses the story of Billy Pilgrim as a satire to rail against the indifferent human attitude towards life. Billy Pilgrim comes unstuck in time (Vonnegut 29), and since he moves back and forth in time, he knows what will happen in his life, such as surviving both the bombing of Dresden and an airplane crash. Nonetheless, his tragedy in Vonne...


... middle of paper ...


... human fat. Therefore, Vonnegut through Billy Pilgrim’s voice detests such hypocrisy when facing the survival pressure in the war and regards it as one of human evil.
As has been mentioned, Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five successfully conveys Vonnegut’s anti-war messages to his readers in a satirical way. Meanwhile, there are many places in Slaughterhouse Five that symbolized elements of absurdism like Nietzsche’s nihilism and Camus’ notion of revolting. As a final note, human race now stands at the summit of civilizations; however we are unable to win over time. Past cannot be changed and the future cannot be foreseen. Time travel has always been alluring but unapproachable for the human race. Nevertheless, it may be fortunate not to be able to do so because, without time travel, human potential is unfathomable and the thirst of pursuing can thus be preserved.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Kurt Vonnegut 's Slaughterhouse Five Essay

- What would happen if one possessed the ability to travel through time without any limitations. What kind of person this person would become. Time travel has been one of most thrilling topics in the science fiction novels. Questions about time travel always provoke readers’ deliberate thinking about their own lives. Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five has been always a popular book that probes into these questions about time travel. In the book, the protagonist, Billy Pilgrim, is a World War II veteran who “has come unstuck in time”....   [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut, Kilgore Trout]

Better Essays
1844 words (5.3 pages)

Kurt Vonnegut 's Slaughterhouse Five Essay

- “How nice – to feel nothing, and still get full credit for being alive” (Vonnegut 50). In Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut introduces the genuine danger war implements on the innocent minds of soldiers by introducing Billy Pilgrim as a prisoner and Dresden bombing survivor. Kurt Vonnegut’s anti-war novel appropriates around a science fiction theme where Billy Pilgrim becomes “unstuck” in time. This allows Billy to experience his life disorderly. "Billy is spastic in time, has no control over where he is going next, and the trips aren 't necessarily fun....   [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut]

Better Essays
1430 words (4.1 pages)

Essay about Slaughterhouse Five By Kurt Vonnegut

- Slaughterhouse-Five, written by Kurt Vonnegut, is an anti-war book about the firebombing of Dresden, which the author witnessed in World War II. In the book, the reader is introduced with the main character Billy Pilgrim, who seems to have come "unstuck in time," rendering him the ability to travel or relive the past, present, and future (Vonnegut). Billy learns later on, from an alien race named the Tralfamadorians, that all time exists simultaneously. Vonnegut begins the book, however, with anecdotes from when he was just starting to write the book and how writing it led him to develop new ideas on war....   [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut]

Better Essays
2023 words (5.8 pages)

Slaughterhouse Five By Kurt Vonnegut Essay

- Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut is an anti-war historical fiction novel about the bombings of Dresden, Germany in 1945 at the end of World War II. Slaughterhouse-Five succeeds as a historical fiction novel because it is fictional and imaginative but also set in the past, rooted in factual information about that time period and the events that took place in Dresden. Much of the historical information in Slaughterhouse-Five is considered eye-witness information because the novel is semi-autobiographical because Kurt Vonnegut was a prisoner of war in Dresden and he also survived the fire bombings....   [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut]

Better Essays
1232 words (3.5 pages)

Essay on Slaughterhouse Five, By Kurt Vonnegut

- Most novels are not able to adequately present two distinct themes that oppose each other; Slaughterhouse-Five is not most novels. It is unique in almost every way, especially with respect to its themes. In Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut develops, to the surprise of the reader, the themes of both the necessity of the concept of free will and its illusion. While these themes seem to contradict each other, they are also complimentary. Kurt Vonnegut’s unique writing style enables the reader to perceive both of these themes in the text....   [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut]

Better Essays
1867 words (5.3 pages)

Slaughterhouse Five By Kurt Vonnegut Essay

- One of my favorite books is Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut and I think that it is an excellent example of finding order in disorder. Vonnegut uses the main character, Billy, and the Tralfamadorians’ sense of time, to find order in the chaos that was the bombing of Dresden. Vonnegut has given me a new outlook on my life heading into the future and has helped me to find order in the chaos that is life’s misfortunes. Vonnegut starts off the book by saying “I thought it would be easy for me to write about the destruction of Dresden.” This is important because Vonnegut is acknowledging that he can’t just write about what happened to him during Dresden because “There is nothing intelligent t...   [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut, Death]

Better Essays
1077 words (3.1 pages)

Kurt Vonnegut 's Slaughterhouse Five Essay

- 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....   [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut]

Better Essays
1666 words (4.8 pages)

Kurt Vonnegut 's Slaughterhouse Five Essay

- Critic Roland Barthes has stated that “Literature is the question minus the answer.” In literature, the author of a story always presents a central question and several themes. The readers of a story are forced to create their own opinions and interpretations about the themes of the book in order to answer the central question. In Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, the story introduces the central question: Is war a result of humanity’s fate or humanity’s free will. The author’s treatment of this question is important to the reader’s understanding of the work as a whole both literally and figuratively by allowing for the development of several important themes throughout the story....   [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut]

Better Essays
1044 words (3 pages)

Essay on Slaughterhouse Five, By Kurt Vonnegut

- Kurt Vonnegut has built a universe for Billy Pilgrim in Slaughterhouse-Five where Billy’s cruel, unforgiving reality is contrasted by a philosophical utopia where he has learned to operate without the pains of being human. Within this self-described ‘telegraphic’ and ‘schizophrenic’ novel, Vonnegut manages to swing the reader halfway across the galaxy to a planet inhabited by a plunger-like race called the Tralfamadorians, take them into the harrowing depths of a POW camp, and show you a man who is increasingly coming undone at the seams after having lived with the psychological terrors of the Dresden bombing....   [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut, Kilgore Trout]

Better Essays
2076 words (5.9 pages)

Essay about Slaughterhouse Five By Kurt Vonnegut

- How has Slaughterhouse Five borrowed from other texts to emphasize the theme of war. The novel Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut is a narrative about a man named Billy Pilgrim. Billy participates in World War II and the novel follows his life and focuses on his reaction to the war and his travels to an extraterrestrial planet called Tralfamadore. Many speculate that this book reflects Vonnegut’s feelings about war and have drawn parallels between Vonnegut and Billy Pilgrim. Kurt Vonnegut has the characters read various texts throughout Slaughterhouse Five to emphasize his feelings about war....   [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut, Kilgore Trout]

Better Essays
807 words (2.3 pages)