Essay PreviewMore ↓
Futile Search for Answers in Slaughterhouse Five
The book, Slaughter House-Five, written by Kurt Vonnegut, is based on the main character named Billy Pilgrim who is a little "lost" in the head. Billy is always traveling to different parts of his life and rarely in the present state. Throughout the book Billy mainly travels back and forth to three big times in his life. In each different time period of Billy's life he is in a different place; his present state is in a town called Illium and his "travels" are to Dresden and Tralfamadore. When Billy is in Illium he is suppose to have a "normal" life; he is married, has two children, and works as an optometrist. Then Billy travels back to Dresden where he was stationed in the last years of WWII and witnessed the horrible bombing. When Billy travels to Tralfamadore he is in an "imaginary" state, everything that happens to him is more like a dream. Through Billy's travels in time he shows that he is striving to find meaning in the events that happened in his life that he is afraid to acknowledge. As Billy says himself, "All moments, past, present and future, always have existed, always will exist," (1) this just proves even further that fact that Billy cannot ever forget any event in his life.
The main event that leads Billy to all his confusion is the time he spent in Dresden and witnessed the fire-bombings that constantly pop in his head along with pictures of all the innocent people Billy saw that fled to Dresden the "safe spot" from the war before the bombing. When Billy sees the faces of the innocent children it represents his fear of the situation. Billy can't acknowledge the fact that they were innocent and they were killed by Americans, Americans soldiers just like himself. The biggest issue Billy cannot come to grasp with is why the bombings took place. That question has no answer; it's just something that happened that Billy couldn't get over. During all Billy's travels back to Dresden he couldn't change what had really happened there although that was the closure he was looking for. Dresden purely represents Bill's past and fears of the truth about what happened.
How to Cite this Page
"Futile Search for Answers in Slaughterhouse Five." 123HelpMe.com. 22 Nov 2019
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Critics often suggest that Kurt Vonnegut’s novels represent a man’s desperate, yet, futile search for meaning in a senseless existence. Vonnegut’s novel, Slaughterhouse-Five, displays this theme. Kurt Vonnegut uses a narrator, which is different from the main character. He uses this technique for several reasons. Kurt Vonnegut introduces Slaughterhouse Five in the first person. In the second chapter, however, this narrator changes to a mere bystander. Vonnegut does this for a specific reason. He wants the reader to realize that the narrator and Billy Pilgrim, the main character, are two different people.... [tags: Kurt Vonnegut Essays]
985 words (2.8 pages)
- Critic Roland Barthes has stated that “Literature is the question minus the answer.” In literature, the author of a story always presents a central question and several themes. The readers of a story are forced to create their own opinions and interpretations about the themes of the book in order to answer the central question. In Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, the story introduces the central question: Is war a result of humanity’s fate or humanity’s free will. The author’s treatment of this question is important to the reader’s understanding of the work as a whole both literally and figuratively by allowing for the development of several important themes throughout the story.... [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut]
1044 words (3 pages)
- In his satirical novel Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut details the amusing, awful, and absurd happenings in the life of Billy Pilgrim. Not only does Vonnegut entertain the reader with the story of Billy Pilgrim, but he also conveys to the reader his own ideas including the irrationality of war and the concept of fatalism, all with a humorous tone. The entire novel, including its themes and its comedy, can be encapsulated in the scene in which Billy Pilgrim, having been placed in the prison compound for captured British soldiers, goes outside at night and unknowingly wanders to the latrine.... [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut, Kilgore Trout]
1343 words (3.8 pages)
- 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.... [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut, Kilgore Trout]
1813 words (5.2 pages)
- 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.... [tags: Religion, God, Christianity, Slaughterhouse-Five]
936 words (2.7 pages)
- Futile Search for Identity in Jane Eyre According to the university psychology department, "The human brain is most emotionally affected in childhood." As a child, many experience numerous great events, however one negative event can undermine all of the great events that the brain would have remembered. The traumatizing occurrences that take place in people's lives are catastrophic in childhood, and have a long lasting effect in adulthood. These events can cause a lack of love being provided, and not provide the experiences essential for adult relationships.... [tags: Jane Eyre Essays]
1766 words (5 pages)
- The Parallel Plot Lines in Slaughterhouse-Five Kurt Vonnegut is and will always in my eyes and in the eyes of many others the writer who made the science-fiction genre safe for not only mainstream appeal, but also critical acclaim and intellectual contemplation. Even though Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey and Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker series were released in roughly the same timeframe as Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five, none has held the same aura of respect and significance to the literary zeitgeist as Vonnegut's monumental masterpiece.... [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five Essays]
1211 words (3.5 pages)
- Analysis of Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five Section One- Introduction Slaughterhouse-Five, written by Kurt Vonnegut Junior, was published in 1968 after twenty-three years of internal anguish. The novel was a "progressive work" after Vonnegut returned from World War II. Why did it take twenty-three years for Kurt Vonnegut to write this novel. The answer lies within the book and within the man himself. Kurt Vonnegut served in the Armed Forces during World War II and was captured during The Battle of the Bulge.... [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five Essays]
2383 words (6.8 pages)
- The Poweful Message of Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five From Ancient Greek playwright, Euripides, ("To die is a debt we must all of us discharge" (Fitzhenry 122)) to renowned Nineteenth Century poet, Emily Dickinson, ("Because I could not stop for Death/ He kindly stopped for me -/ The carriage held but just ourselves/ And Immortality" (Fitzhenry 126)) the concept of death, reincarnation, rebirth, and mourning have been brooded over time and time again. And with no definite answers to life's most puzzling question of death being given, it only seems natural that this subject is further explored.... [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five Essays]
2201 words (6.3 pages)
- The Search I used to work for the F.B.I., in the Portland office. It was my childhood dream to be the one who gets the bad guy. My fiftieth birthday was in just three months. I had a wife and three children, still do, and the same job I'd had since my graduation from Quantico. We were living just outside Portland. My oldest son, John jr., was in his third year at Washington. The twins were high school seniors at this time and my pride and joy, daddy's little girls. Carolyn and I had celebrated our twenty- fifth anniversary, that's the silver one I think, the previous Thursday night.... [tags: Creative Writing Search and Rescue Essays]
4126 words (11.8 pages)
Even in Billy's everyday "normal" life in Illium little things reminded him of Dresden. For instance, one day Billy was driving down the road and it was a scene of desolation and Billy thought, "It looked like Dresden after it was bombed-like the surface of the moon," (2). Illium also reminds Billy of the war because Billy's wife died there and death brings him tears, tears that go back to Dresden and all the deaths that happened in Dresden. Billy often finds himself "weeping instead of sleeping," (3) which doesn't allow Billy to be happy and prosper in Illium. Even though Billy was born in Illium and grew up there, got married there, raised his children there, he still cannot live there in the present because his present is his past in so many ways.
When Billy travels to his "imaginary" state he travels to a place called Tralfamadore. In Tralfamadore Billy meets these creatures that are called Tralfamadorians, "they were two feet high, and green ...their suction cups were on the ground, and their shafts, which were extremely flexible, usually pointed to the sky;" (4). Tralfamadore is like traveling to the future for Billy who is trying to get as far away from his past as he can. In is head Billy has made this place an "ideal society," the Tralfamadorians have knowledge, insight, and beliefs that are stunning and though provoking; "When a Tralfamadorian sees a corpse, all he thinks is that the dead person is in a bad condition in that particular moment, but that the same person is just fine in plenty of other moments," (5) this is just on example of how stunning the Tralfamadorians beliefs are. When Billy talks about Tralfamadore he says, "The most important thing I learned on Tralfamadore was that when a person dies he only appears to die. He is still very much alive in the past, so it is very silly for people to cry at his funeral," (6)
What Billy saw during his six months on the battlefield and in Dresden as a prisoner still dominates his life. He has no escape, past, present, future, Dresden; Dresden will always exists in every moment of time Billy travels through. Billy's prescription for dealing with time is not dealing with it at all. He has to way to deal with it he is "unstuck in time, in 1944, when WWII was in progress," (7) he is spastic in time and no prescription to cure it. As Billy continues to travel from time to time and place to place he will continue to strive to find the meaning of the events that happened in his life that he is still afraid to acknowledge.