Essay about Tralfamadore: An Escape To Sanity

Essay about Tralfamadore: An Escape To Sanity

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Kurt Vonnegut is considered by many to be the greatest American author of the twentieth century. He was born in Indianapolis, Indiana on November 11, 1922 to Kurt Vonnegut, Sr. and Edith Vonnegut. His father was a prominent architect in Indianapolis, and provided well for his three children until the Great Depression hit in 1929. The Depression put Kurt, Sr. out of work, and harmed his spirits in such a way that he essentially gave up on life. His wife, Edith, ultimately resorted to alcoholism and prescription drug abuse as an escape from the troubling times the Depression brought upon the Vonnegut household. These habits eventually resulted in her death in 1944. At age 20, Kurt, Jr. was deployed in Germany to serve during the Second World War. He witnessed firsthand the firebombing of the German city, Dresden, which accounted for the deaths of around 60,000 persons. His experiences in Dresden, as well as his troubling home life, have resulted in his signature satirical, black comic voice, which permits Vonnegut to make his readers laugh no matter how grim the subject matter being described. Vonnegut’s 1969 masterpiece, Slaughterhouse-Five, is widely acclaimed as one of the greatest antiwar novels ever produced. The novel follows the life of Billy Pilgrim, a time-traveling World War II chaplain’s assistant, through his wartime experiences as well as his expeditions to Tralfamadore, the planet where he is taken and put on display by aliens who strongly resemble plungers. The Tralfamadorians teach Billy the concept that time is unalterable, and that any event that happens has happened and will forever happen. There is no free will on Tralfamadore. Destiny is unalterable:
I am a Tralfamadorian, seeing all time as you might ...


... middle of paper ...


...icism. Ed. Roger Matuz and Cathy Falk. Vol. 60. Detroit: Gale Research, 1990. Literature Resources from Gale. Web. 26 Nov. 2013.

Edelstein, Arnold. “Slaughterhouse-Five: Time out of Joint” College Literature, Vol. 1, No. 2 (Spring 1974), pp. 128-139. Web. JStor. 26 Nov. 2013.

McGinnis, Wayne D. "The Arbitrary Cycle of 'Slaughterhouse-Five': A Relation of Form to Theme." Critique: Studies in Modern Fiction 17.1 (1975): 55-67. Rpt. in Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Roger Matuz and Cathy Falk. Vol. 60. Detroit: Gale Research, 1990. Literature Resources from Gale. Web. 26 Nov. 2013.

Lundquist, James. "The 'New Reality' of Slaughterhouse-Five." 1977. Bloom's Guides:Slughterhouse-Five. New York, NY: Infobase, 2007. 71-78. Print.

Shmoop Editorial Team. "The Tralfamadorians in Slaughterhouse-Five" Shmoop.com. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 26 Nov. 2013

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