Essay on Slaughterhouse Five Is Not Written As An Anti War Story

Essay on Slaughterhouse Five Is Not Written As An Anti War Story

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Slaughterhouse Five is the ideology of the 1960’s counterculture poured into a fictional autobiography, creating one of the most powerful anti-war books in history. This story is the fictional memoir of Kurt Vonnegut, a WWII veteran, who has suffered the effects of war on the human psyche. Slaughterhouse Five is not written as an anti-war story, however its portrayal of the destruction as a story leaves the reader with a sense of disgust. Vonnegut created this story during the counterculture’s rebellion against the Vietnam Conflict, several counterculture ideas are apparent throughout his story. These ideas are the voice of an entire people speaking out against the monstrosity of war, its unfairness, and ability to affect everyone. During the counterculture, not all focus was given to the devastation of war, new morals and ideologies were created during this time. Civil rights were sought out, rejection of religion was apparent, and through music a new outlook on life was created.
“All time is all time. It does not change. It does not lend itself to warnings or explanations. It simply is. (Vonnegut 109)” Introduced early in the story is the theme of “seeing the big picture”; the story does not occur in a linear timeline, but rather starts toward the ending of the protagonist’s life then skips around in time. This view helps us gain an “omniscient” perspective of war, we have seen the destruction and death that the war has caused in the “future” yet we still must live through its malice in the present; regardless of who is the victor, several thousands of men, women, and children die whether by accident or by deliberation. Our philosophers, the Tralfamadorians, are experts in this view, creating their “books” as an image, seeing i...


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.../the counterculture’s character.
Slaughterhouse Five itself is a statement of the counterculture period; Vonnegut created his own story structure, uses a style of writing not associated with normal English mechanics, and has written the book as a story meant to be heard. This expresses the counterculture’s break from the norms of society and its ability to express itself. The style of the book is made to be a personal interaction with the reader, something the counterculture sought. Empowerment to the individual, personal expression, and frankness of thought are attributes of the movement Vonnegut represented.
Slaughterhouse Five is quite appropriately the voice of a culture rising up against the tragedy of war. Vonnegut has aptly represented the resentment of the Vietnam conflict in his fictional autobiography, the seeking of optimism, and the explanation of life.

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