Essay about Slaughterhouse Five By Kurt Vonnegut

Essay about Slaughterhouse Five By Kurt Vonnegut

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In Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut tries to make sense of a seemingly meaningless world by creating a novel whose narrative is more a conjunction of events instead of a linear story. Vonnegut beings his novel with a confession about why he wrote this book, he starts, “all this happened more or less” (Vonnegut 1). As a reader it is alarms are signaled when the author themselves makes an omission about the reality of the tale about to be told. He spends the first chapter giving an autobiographical view into what shaped his life and how this book needed to be written. Vonnegut says he thought he would have a lot to say about the bombing in Dresden that “all [he] would have to do would be to report what [he] had seen” (2). But instead “not many words about Dresden came from [his] mind then—not enough of them to make a book, anyway” (2). So here Vonnegut makes it clear this novel is not explicitly an anti-war book but rather an attempt at making sense of how life goes on after traumatic experiences. Therefore, his main character Billy Pilgrim becomes a vehicle for an exploration into a world Vonnegut can’t make sense of. He tackles the question of there being life after witnessing massive destruction and the result is as Vonnegut describes, “so short and jumbled and jangled…because there is nothing intelligent to say about a massacre” (19).
The first chapter gives an insight to how the structure of the book will be presented to the audience. He begins to jump from point to point, not following any sort of predetermined end. It becomes this sort of cycle that just keeps going. This is what shapes the whole novel. The idea of time jumping becomes one of the focal points Billy experiences. Officially, the story starts off in chapter t...


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...l and nothing out of the ordinary, so why not suspend belief on what is assumed to be reality and give into the narrative given by the book. By refusing to look at things with a different perspective, we as readers are limiting the experiences that Billy gives insight to. If this novel is considered purely as science-fiction it should not prevent the ideas from coming through. It’s like religion, followers choose to believe what some might see as outlandish or incomprehensible, excluding those who are simply narrow minded, people can still accept other’s and what they believe in without it becoming an issue. We get the same lessons because the philosophy doesn’t change. Kur Vonnegut doesn’t provide a clean cut answer to the question presented, instead he uses this book as an outlet, to try and make sense of humans destroying others for seemingly unimportant reasons.

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