`` Slaughterhouse 5 `` : Religion And Its Practises Essay

`` Slaughterhouse 5 `` : Religion And Its Practises Essay

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Introduction: All of the three texts explore religion and its practises, but each approach it from a different perspective. Whilst Owen and Brecht refer directly to the idea of God and Jesus, Vonnegut uses a far more ambiguous approach; the opinion of God in ‘Slaughterhouse 5’ has to be read allegorically, as Vonnegut’s mentions of Christianity are seldom stated. Religion does not have to be seen as only an ideology and references to God are not the necessity needed to create the theme of Religion – it appears through spirituality and communities which follow the same belief. The Thirty Years’ War of 1618 in ‘Mother Courage’, which emerged from a disagreement between Protestant and Catholic believers, is a distinct example of religious communities being an important part of war. In Owen’s poems, religious communities are not a very significant theme, more so, spirituality is mentioned more frequently than any of the other aspects of religion – this is because of Owen’s changing attitude to God; he refuses to stick to the concept of an omnibenevolent God, possibly because of the horrors he has faced during the war.

Religion is often the cause of and the motivation for war; it produces an ideological community which will fight for their beliefs and against the beliefs of others. ‘Mother Courage’ is ‘A Chronicle of the Thirty Years’ War’ which is an ideological fight between a Protestant and a Catholic community, implying that the people are fighting against each other for their religion. During the first scene, the Army Recruiter mentions that religious propaganda is enforced ‘night and day’, yet personally adds that ‘once you’re washed clean of sin, you can sing any song you like’ . This sets the approach towards religion through...


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...ction of God’s omnipresent temporality’ which can be seen by how time is presented in the novel. Although Billy is not battling an army, or another human being, it could be said that Billy is fighting against the effects of PTSD. As it is not openly said in the novel that Billy suffers from PTSD, it can be questioned by many readers weather what is happening to Billy is true, or if it is just happening inside his head. What supports the idea of Tralfamadorians being Billy’s alternative to god, is that the ‘religious’ belief in tralfamadorians allows Billy to overcome suffering and the fear of death, just as much as religion would. Billy Pilgrim is therefore at war with himself, his PTSD and his fear of the future – his ‘religion’ is what keeps him going. However, whilst Billy was taking part in the Second World War, there was no sign of motivation surrounding him.

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