From Ancient Greek playwright, Euripides, ("To die is a debt we must all of us discharge" (Fitzhenry 122)) to renowned Nineteenth Century poet, Emily Dickinson, ("Because I could not stop for Death/ He kindly stopped for me -/ The carriage held but just ourselves/ And Immortality" (Fitzhenry 126)) the concept of death, reincarnation, rebirth, and mourning have been brooded over time and time again. And with no definite answers to life's most puzzling question of death being given, it only seems natural that this subject is further explored. Kurt Vonnegut is one of many modern writers obsessed with this idea and spends many of his novels thematically infatuated with death. His semi- autobiographical novel, dealing with his experiences in Dresden during WWII, named Slaughterhouse Five, The Children's Crusade or A Duty Dance With Death, is no exception to his fixation. "A work of transparent simplicity [and] a modern allegory, whose hero, Billy Pilgrim, shuffles between Earth and its timeless surrogate, Tralfamadore" (Riley and Harte 452), Slaughterhouse Five shows a "sympathetic and compassionate evaluation of Billy's response to the cruelty of life" (Bryfonski and Senick 614). This cruelty stems from death, time, renewal, war, and the lack of compassion for human life; all large themes "inextricably bound up" (Bryfonski and Mendelson 529) in this cyclically natured novel that tries to solve the great mystery of death for us, once and for all.
Billy's life had revolved around these ideas from the time he was a child. At the age of twelve Billy "had undergone the real crises of his life, had found life meaningless even if he could not then articulate that concept, an...
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...Vol. 12. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1980. \
Bryfonski and Phyllis Carmel Mendelson, eds. "Kurt Vonnegut, Jr." Contemporary Literary Criticism. Vol. 8. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1978.
Fitzhenry, Robert I., ed. The Harper Book of Quotations. New York City: Harper Collins Publishers, 1993.
Gurton and Jean C. Stine, eds. "Kurt Vonnegut, Jr." Contemporary Literary Criticism. Vol. 22. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1982.
Riley and Barbara Harte, eds. "Kurt Vonnegut, Jr." Contemporary Literary Criticism. Vol. 2. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1974.
Riley, Carolyn, ed. "Kurt Vonnegut, Jr." Contemporary Literary Criticism. Vol. 3. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1975.
Shepard, Sean. "Kurt Vonnegut and Slaughterhouse Five." http://erme.bgsu.edu/~jdowell/kvandsh5.html
Vonnegut, Kurt. Slaughterhouse Five. New York City: Laurel Books, 1969.
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- Imagine experiencing the events of your life in a random order. How would you view your life if it seemed more like a collection of moments rather than a story. In Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five, Billy Pilgrim is a chaplain’s assistant during World War II who claims to be "unstuck in time." Billy seemingly jumps from one moment in his life to the next without his control or consent. Billy also believes that aliens, known as Tralfamadorians, abducted him. These events may seem silly considering all of the serious and grim experiences that Billy faces in the war, but they are far from comical.... [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut, Time travel]
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1430 words (4.1 pages)
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- In the 1960s, music and literature were commonly used to promote anti-war messages. People used novels, pamphlets, and songs, among other things, to get their opinions out into the world. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut is considered one of these anti-war novels, “one of the greatest anti-war novels ever written” (The Folio Society) in fact, though it is not necessarily one of them. It tells the tale of war, without heroes; however, many individuals still consider it an anti-war novel because of this hero-less portrayal.... [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut, Kilgore Trout]
1221 words (3.5 pages)
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2023 words (5.8 pages)
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1232 words (3.5 pages)
- 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]
1867 words (5.3 pages)
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1207 words (3.4 pages)
- 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]
1077 words (3.1 pages)
- Science, Technology, and Human Values
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