Essay on Slaughterhouse Five-the Novel Vs. the Movie

Essay on Slaughterhouse Five-the Novel Vs. the Movie

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Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five

Vs.

George Roy Hill's Movie Adaptation

For the most part, the movie adaptation of the Kurt Vonnegut novel Slaughterhouse Five is a faithfully adapted version that does not veer horribly far away from Vonnegut's own vision. It is no secret that Vonnegut displayed some extremely obsessive tendencies in this novel due to his own experiences as a prisoner of war. For this reason, I did not believe that the movie would be able to accurately display Vonnegut's own personal feelings regarding these issues. However, I felt that the film did a good job of keeping with what Vonnegut had intended to be seen and felt in his novel.

I was extremely surprised by the way in which Hill's movie managed to successfully portray the ideas of the novel which I believed would be nearly impossible to visualize on screen. I had a hard time imagining how it would be possible to show abstract topics such as "being unstuck in time" on a movie screen. However, I came away extremely impressed with the way that Billy managed to travel around different points in his life as seamlessly as he did in the novel. Throughout the novel I actually had a harder time following Billy's travel through time. I came away surprised by this as I imagined it to be much tougher to follow in the movie.

I think that Hill was able to make the time traveling easier to follow by incorporating an aspect that Vonnegut did not use in the novel. In the novel Billy's travels seemed to be completely at random, with him at the mercy of time itself. Hill's tactic for disguising what seemed to completely random and without any rhyme or reason was by making it so that whenever Billy traveled to a different portion of his life, it alwa...


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...hotic man, hell bent on making people thinking he is far superior to them, when in reality he is no better at all then even a chaplain's assistant as helpless as Billy.

Generally, the movie adaptation of the Kurt Vonnegut novel Slaughterhouse Five is a faithfully adapted version that does not veer horribly far away from Vonnegut's own vision. Both mediums tell the story of a teenager stuck in war in his past, in a zoo on a planet for aliens in his future, and of a hapless middle-aged optometrist in his present. I loved the novel, and therefore I was skeptical of the movie before watching, because I have never seen a movie adapted from a book that I have read that I felt did the novel justice. However, this case was different. Thanks to the director staying loyal to the novel which he based his movie on, I enjoyed seeing Billy, as much as reading about him.

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