Slaughterhouse Five Literary Analysis Essay

Slaughterhouse Five Literary Analysis Essay

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Baruch Spinoza once said “Experience teaches us no less clearly than reason, that men believe themselves free, simply because they are conscious of their actions and unconscious of the causes whereby those actions are determined.” He compared free-will with destiny and ended up that what we live and what we think are all results of our destiny; and the concept of the free-will as humanity know is just the awareness of the situation. Similarly, Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five explores this struggle between free-will and destiny, and illustrates the idea of time in order to demonstrate that there is no free-will in war; it is just destiny. Vonnegut conveys this through irony, symbolism and satire.
Time concept is a complex idea that resist full understanding thus we can only percept it and determinism is a belief that is adopted by whose can percept time better than the others. In Slaughterhouse-Five, Billy Pilgrim is kidnapped by Tralfamadorians, who are aliens that can see the fourth dimension. While he was explaining the notion of time to Billy, he uses simile “seeing all time as you might see a stretch of Rocky Mountains.”(85). Kurt Vonnegut indicates that what people live in the present is just an allusion of time. He juxtaposes Billy with Tralfamadorians to show this allusion. While Billy only sees in three dimensions, Tralfamadorians can see the fourth dimension as well. And in the mountain example Billy can only see the 3 side of the mountain, whereas Tralfamadorians see 4 side of it, but they all live in an allusion, because time is such an idea that it is made of infinite sides. It is impossible to dispose of this allusion and see the whole perspective. Vonnegut uses the symbolism in order to show that free-will is jus...


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...hat they could tell the truth and false whether they would like. There is no free-will, Tralfamadorians are managed by their leaders. In fact it is also be satirical because, the fake board and the ticker tape are symbols of the propaganda used by both sides during World War Two like the way the government controls the news that gets to people, the aliens on the planet that controlled the board could tell their prisoners anything they wanted to, whether it was true or false.
Throughout the Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut displays the clash between free-will and destiny, and portrays the idea of time notion in order to substantiate that there is no free-will in war; it is just destiny. Vonnegut crafts this through irony, symbolism and satire. And he successfully manages to prove that free-will is just a hoax that adopted by people that cannot percept time fully.

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