Kurt Vonnegut in Slaughterhouse-Five depicted that war is not going to be ever justified because innocent lives are always compromised. The text has three themes: the destructiveness of war, the illusion of free will and inevitable death.
Destructiveness of War
For the setting of the story, Dresden was juxtaposed Trafalmador. The former was hell on Earth and the latter, heaven. After Dresden was bombed and the soldiers emerge out of a slaughterhouse, Dresden was devastated. According to Vonnegut, it was clear that the intention was to kill everyone in Dresden. The civilians were supposed to all end up dying or the design will be considered at flaw. The total number of people who died in Dresden was 135,000, which is double the number of the deaths in Hiroshima.
This showed the author’s point and theme: that war is always disastrous and destructive. In fact, Dresden soldiers were viewed as dead right from the start. They are depicted by the author as riding in a "coffin-shaped green wagon" (Vonnegut 194). War was in the first place already absurd because Dresden was an open city with no military relevance, yet it was still deem worthy to be bombed.
The non-chronological structure of Slaughterhouse-Five also strongly portrayed the author’s views on war. As Billy Pilgrim travels all over time periods of his life without a clue to where he will go next, the author showed the true nature of war: which is both chaotic and disorganized. The fact that the author himself was narrated by Vonnegut showed his attempt to reconcile his experiences with war. He is an author who hate war because he has a extensive experience of it. The story closely resembles the author’s experience of being a prisoner of war. He was captured by ...
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...powerless, helpless, and impotent…What Vonnegut would have us do is develop the wisdom to discriminate between what we can or cannot change, while developing the courage to change what we can. We have met Billy Pilgrim and he is us" (Harris 277) People are encouraged to rethink the notion that war is inevitable because such thinking is dangerous.
Works Cited Page
Cox, F. Brett. "Criticism: Essay." Novels for Students. Ed. Diane Telgen and Kevin Hile.
Vol 2. Detroit: Gale, 1998. 270-272.
Harris, Charles B. "Criticism:Essay." Novels for Students. Ed. Diane Telgen and Kevin
Hile. Vol 2. Detroit: Gale, 1998. 272-274.
Reed, Peter J. Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. New York: Warner, 1972.
"Slaughterhouse-Five." Novels for Students. Ed. Diane Telgen and Kevin Hile. Vol. 2.
Detroit:Gale, 1998. 258-277.
Vonnegut, Kurt. Slaughterhouse-Five. New York: Dell, 1969.
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