Critics often suggest that Kurt Vonnegut’s novels represent a man’s desperate, yet, futile search for meaning in a senseless existence. Vonnegut’s novel, Slaughterhouse-Five, displays this theme. Kurt Vonnegut uses a narrator, which is different from the main character. He uses this technique for several reasons.
Kurt Vonnegut introduces Slaughterhouse Five in the first person. In the second chapter, however, this narrator changes to a mere bystander. Vonnegut does this for a specific reason. He wants the reader to realize that the narrator and Billy Pilgrim, the main character, are two different people. In order to do this, Vonnegut places the narrator in the text, on several occasions. “An American near Billy wailed that [Billy] had excreted everything but his brains...That was I. That was me.” This statement clearly illustrates that the narrator and Billy are not the same person. The narrator was the
American disgusted by Billy. Vonnegut places the narrator in the novel in subtle ways. While describing the German prisoner trains, he merely states, “I was there.” By not referring to Billy as I, Billy is immediately an individual person. I is the narrator, while Billy is Billy. Their single connection is that they were both in the war.
Kurt Vonnegut places his experiences and his views in the text. He begins the book by stating, “All this happened, more or less. The war parts, anyway, are pretty much true...I’ve changed all of the names.” Viewing war as a sen...
... middle of paper ...
...t or the future. With this information, Billy begins to learn about the future. “I, Billy Pilgrim will die, have died, and will always die on February thirteenth, 1976.” Billy is in fact right with this prediction. Realizing everything is planned out, Billy ends his search for meaning. He understands that he can do nothing to stop the senseless acts, which take place. Like the Tralfamadores, he must try to concentrate on the good moments and not on the bad ones. He could do nothing to stop them or to change them.
Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five suggests that a man cannot change his fate. Any attempts to change the past or the future are meaningless. Therefore, there is nothing to search for, and the search for meaning is futile.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Futile Search for Answers in Slaughterhouse Five The book, Slaughter House-Five, written by Kurt Vonnegut, is based on the main character named Billy Pilgrim who is a little "lost" in the head. Billy is always traveling to different parts of his life and rarely in the present state. Throughout the book Billy mainly travels back and forth to three big times in his life. In each different time period of Billy's life he is in a different place; his present state is in a town called Illium and his "travels" are to Dresden and Tralfamadore.... [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five Essays]
834 words (2.4 pages)
- Slaughterhouse-Five Critics often suggest that Kurt Vonnegut's novels represent a man's desperate, yet, futile search for meaning in a senseless existence. Vonnegut's novel, Slaughterhouse-Five, displays this theme. Kurt Vonnegut uses a narrator, which is different from the main character. He uses this technique for several reasons. Kurt Vonnegut introduces Slaughterhouse Five in the first person. In the second chapter, however, this narrator changes to a mere bystander. Vonnegut does this for a specific reason.... [tags: essays research papers]
976 words (2.8 pages)
- March 26, 1905 marked the birth of Viktor Frankl in Vienna. He was a son to Gabriel Frankl and Elsa Frankl from Marovia. He was the second born in a family of three and wanted to become a physician when he grew up. He was turned to study psychology by his liking for people. He met Freud in 1925 on his way to graduating and published an article “Psychotherapy and Weltanschauung”, which was followed by the use of the term “logo therapy” in a public lecture the following year. This led to his refining of his particular brand of Viennese psychology.... [tags: Man's Search for Meaning]
1385 words (4 pages)
- The eight elements that brought meaning to Victor Frankl’s life was his intense inner life, camaraderie, his manuscript, spiritual well-being, his attitude, humanity, faith, comforting or soothing images of the past, and fate. Intense inner life: I believe that Frankl was constantly in the mindset of the doctor he was. He was continually thinking of ways to keep his mind busy. Helping others, thinking of ways to ration his bread, obtaining medicine for the typhus patients, inspiring others, or hiding comrades Frankl kept his mind busy.... [tags: Man’s Search for Meaning]
2311 words (6.6 pages)
- Dr. Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning 'He who has a why to live for can bear any how.' The words of Nietzsche begin to explain Frankl's tone throughout his book. Dr. Frankl uses his experiences in different Nazi concentration camps to explain his discovery of logotherapy. This discovery takes us back to World War II and the extreme suffering that took place in the Nazi concentration camps and outlines a detailed analysis of the prisoners psyche. An experience we gain from the first-hand memoirs of Dr.... [tags: Man's Search for Meaning Frankl Essays]
1059 words (3 pages)
- Futile Search for Identity in Jane Eyre According to the university psychology department, "The human brain is most emotionally affected in childhood." As a child, many experience numerous great events, however one negative event can undermine all of the great events that the brain would have remembered. The traumatizing occurrences that take place in people's lives are catastrophic in childhood, and have a long lasting effect in adulthood. These events can cause a lack of love being provided, and not provide the experiences essential for adult relationships.... [tags: Jane Eyre Essays]
1766 words (5 pages)
- The Use of Fragmentation in Slaughterhouse-Five In the novel Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut uses fragmentation of time, structure and character in order to unify his non-linear narrative. Vonnegut's main character, Billy Pilgrim, travels back and forth in his own life span "paying random visits to all events in between" (SF 23). The result is Billy's life is presented as a series of episodes without any chronological obligations. This mirrors the structure of the novel which has a beginning, middle and end but not in their traditional places.... [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five Essays]
1478 words (4.2 pages)
- Annie Dillard's A Pilgrim At Tinker Creek and Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five Throughout history people in general have tried in countless ways to explain the presence of a ‘higher being’. It is basic human nature to wonder about such things. Each and every one of these people has come up with a different explanation for their interpretation of the spiritual power. Annie Dillard and Kurt Vonnegut have given wonderful examples of how these interpretations can differ in their respective books A Pilgrim At Tinker Creek and Slaughterhouse-Five.... [tags: Tinker Creek Slaughterhouse essays]
1267 words (3.6 pages)
- The Parallel Plot Lines in Slaughterhouse-Five Kurt Vonnegut is and will always in my eyes and in the eyes of many others the writer who made the science-fiction genre safe for not only mainstream appeal, but also critical acclaim and intellectual contemplation. Even though Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey and Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker series were released in roughly the same timeframe as Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five, none has held the same aura of respect and significance to the literary zeitgeist as Vonnegut's monumental masterpiece.... [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five Essays]
1211 words (3.5 pages)
- Analysis of Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five Section One- Introduction Slaughterhouse-Five, written by Kurt Vonnegut Junior, was published in 1968 after twenty-three years of internal anguish. The novel was a "progressive work" after Vonnegut returned from World War II. Why did it take twenty-three years for Kurt Vonnegut to write this novel. The answer lies within the book and within the man himself. Kurt Vonnegut served in the Armed Forces during World War II and was captured during The Battle of the Bulge.... [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five Essays]
2383 words (6.8 pages)