Kurt Vonnegut and Slaughter House Five

Kurt Vonnegut and Slaughter House Five

Length: 977 words (2.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓

Kurt Vonnegut and Slaughter House Five


Kurt Vonnegut is one of the favorite dark humorists of the past century. Combining humor and poignancy, he has become one of the most respected authors of his generation. For twenty years, Kurt Vonnegut worked on writing his most famous novel ever: Slaughter House Five. The novelist was called "A laughing prophet of doom" by the New York Times, and his novel "a cause for celebration" by the Chicago Sun-Times. However, Vonnegut himself thought it was a failure. He said that, just as Lot's wife turned into a pillar of salt when she looked back, so his book is nothing but a pillar of salt. Kurt Vonnegut tied in personal beliefs, characters, and settings from his life into the novel Slaughter House Five.


Kurt Vonnegut grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana. He alluded to Indiana in his writings frequently and considered himself a Midwesterner. There were three traumatic experiences Vonnegut talked about in this novel that happened to him as he was growing up. One was when his father took him to the pool when he was young and taught him to swim by the "drown if you don't" method. Another time, he and his family went out to see the Grand Canyon. As he was looking over the edge his mother touched him and he wet his pants. The third experience he mentioned was when his family was touring a cave, he was very scared and then the tour guide asked everyone to turn off all their lights and it was pitch black except for two glowing red dots from his dad (Modern Critical Interpretations 4). These experiences showed through Vonnegut's novel as his alienation from others throughout the book (Novels For Students 464).


Kurt Vonnegut's personal beliefs in life, we also in Slaughter House Five. Vonnegut believes that only heart believes in freewill but it is non-existent. In his novel he writes about a group of aliens called tralfamadorians who come and take Billy to their world and put him in a zoo (Kurt Vonnegut Jr. 75). While Billy is with them, they teach him this also, and they are obviously the far superior race. Another belief that Vonnegut has, is that war is horrible, he says "war is not an enterprise of glory and heroism, but an uncontrolled catastrophe for all involved" (Novels For Students 265).

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Kurt Vonnegut and Slaughter House Five." 123HelpMe.com. 15 Dec 2019

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Kurt Vonnegut and Slaughter House Five Essay

- Kurt Vonnegut and Slaughter House Five Kurt Vonnegut is one of the favorite dark humorists of the past century. Combining humor and poignancy, he has become one of the most respected authors of his generation. For twenty years, Kurt Vonnegut worked on writing his most famous novel ever: Slaughter House Five. The novelist was called "A laughing prophet of doom" by the New York Times, and his novel "a cause for celebration" by the Chicago Sun-Times. However, Vonnegut himself thought it was a failure....   [tags: Biography Biographies Essays]

Free Essays
977 words (2.8 pages)

Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughter House Five Essay

- Slaughter House Five Expaination Based on Kurt Vonnegut Jr.'s book by the same name, Slaughterhouse Five has been described by many as one of the best anti-war novels of the 20th Century. In Slaughterhouse Five, Billy Pilgrim finds unstuck in time jumping between several periods of his life. From his experience as a prisoner of war in World War II to his suburban family life in the 1950s and 1960s, and his experience as a human specimen in an alien zoo on a distant planet, Billy seemingly has no control over these transitions, many seemingly coming without warning, others may be provoked by events at hand....   [tags: Essays Papers]

Research Papers
500 words (1.4 pages)

George Roy Hill's Movie Adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut's "Slaughter-House Five"

- George Roy Hill's movie adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut's novel Slaughter-house Five is a fairly accurate version that stays relatively close to Vonnegut's own vision. Throughout Vonnegut novel Billy Pilgrim, a WWII soldier who was captured by the Germans and held captive as an American POW (prisoner of war), demonstrates several extreme compulsive tendencies due to the horrific events he witnessed as an American POW victim. After reading of Billy’s experiences, I did not have faith in the movies ability to accurately present Vonnegut's own personal feelings....   [tags: Cinema]

Research Papers
1090 words (3.1 pages)

Essay about The Downside of War in Kurt Vonnegut Jr.'s Slaughter House Five

- The Downside of War in Kurt Vonnegut Jr.'s Slaughter House Five Many people view soldiers in war to have nothing more than a duty that they must perform; so they see war as being outrageous or ridiculous. In the novel Slaughter House Five (1968),written by Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Billy Pilgrim, who is a soldier in World War II, is captured and becomes a prisoner of war. Billy is seen as the protagonist. He is moved to various prison camps until he finally ends up in Dresden. Dresden is bombed and leads to the freedom of Billy Pilgrim....   [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five Essays]

Research Papers
528 words (1.5 pages)

Welcome to the Monkey House, Harrison Bergeron, and Slaughterhouse-five, by Kurt Vonnegut

- Kurt Vonnegut was a man of disjointed ideas, as is expressed through the eccentric protagonists that dominate his works. Part cynic and part genius, Kurt Vonnegut’s brilliance as a satirist derives from the deranged nature of the atrocities he had witnessed in his life. The reason Vonnegut’s satire is so popular and works so well is because Vonnegut had personal ties to all the elements that he lambasted in his works. Vonnegut’s experience as a soldier in WWII during firebombing of Dresden corrupted his mind and enabled him to express the chaotic reality of war, violence, obsession, sex and government in a raw and personal manner....   [tags: Satire, Elements, Literary Analysis]

Research Papers
1220 words (3.5 pages)

Essay on Analysis Of ' Slaughter House Five '

- By looking at Billy’s condition during the war, we can see that the war was not as glorious as the countries wanted you to think which at the time was not obvious. This adds a critical and significant point of view on the war to Vonnegut’s anti-war book. During WWII, the fighting countries didn’t want to show how terrible war really was, instead they showed images of patriotic men fighting in the war. In reality, these “men” were just kids out of high school and some from college, not ready to fight battles in a war....   [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut, Billy Pilgrim]

Research Papers
1057 words (3 pages)

An Analysis Of Slaughterhouse Five By Kurt Vonnegut Essay

- An Analysis of Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut Karol T. Bista ENH 110 Mr. M. W. Hickman October 12, 2015 An Analysis of Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five features numerous characters, some of which are major, and others minor. Primarily, the major characters, in no particular order, starts off with Billy Pilgrim, arguably the main character and hero of the book itself. Billy Pilgrim is almost like a funny looking, ragdoll or tool-like character during the course of the book....   [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut, Kilgore Trout]

Research Papers
1441 words (4.1 pages)

Views on War in Vonnegut's Slaughter House Five Essay

- Views on War in Vonnegut's Slaughter House Five   Many people returned from World War II with disturbing images forever stuck in their heads. Others returned and went crazy due to the many hardships and terrors faced. The protagonist in Slaughter-House Five, Billy Pilgrim, has to deal with some of these things along with many other complications in his life. Slaughter House Five (1968), by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., is an anti-war novel about a man’s life before, after and during the time he spent fighting in World War II....   [tags: Slaughter House Five Essays]

Research Papers
1322 words (3.8 pages)

Looking Into the Past in Vonnegut's Slaughter House-Five Essay

- Looking Into the Past in Vonnegut's Slaughter House-Five In the spring of 1945, near the end of World War II, American and British bombers rained a hail of fire upon the city of Dresden, Germany. With an estimated 135,000 dead, Dresden is known as one of the deadliest attacks in History, nearly twice as many deaths than the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Kurt Vonnegut was among the few who lived through the firestorm; he wrote a book about it in fact. Slaughter House-Five (1969) is a fictional recount of his experience of the war....   [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five Essays]

Research Papers
1018 words (2.9 pages)

Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five Essay

- Kurt Vonnegut’s anti-war science fiction novel entitled, Slaughter House Five otherwise known as “The Children’s Crusade” or “A Duty Dance with Death,” is a classic example of Vonnegut’s eccentric and moving writing capabilities.Originally published in 1969, Slaughterhouse-Five pays tribute to Vonnegut’s experiences in World War Two, as an advanced scout in the 106th infantry division, a prisoner of war and witness to the firebombing of Dresden on February 13th, 1945 in which 135,000 people were killed, making it the greatest man-caused massacre of all times.This novel illustrates the cruelties and violence of war along with the potential for compassion in human nature and all that it encomp...   [tags: Classic Literature]

Research Papers
560 words (1.6 pages)

Related Searches

Vonnegut believes very strongly on this point because he was in the war and saw himself what it can do, he realizes it is ineffective and uses that as a strong point in his book (266). Probably the strongest theme in the novel is about death. Kurt Vonnegut wrote that the tralfamadorians can really see time, they see it as you would see a mountain range, they can look anywhere they like and focus on the good parts so death really isn't anything, you will always exist in the past. But they believe humans can only see through a tiny hole and have to see everything in chronological order, so when someone dies that's the last they will ever see them. In this novel Billy the main character learns this, and the way tralfamadorians treat death, is when they see someone or something dead they say so-it-goes. So does Billy throughout the book, he says so-it-goes over one hundred times which is a lot of talk about death (Kurt Vonnegut 74). Kurt Vonnegut has seen people use patriotism as an excuse for mass murder. In his novel the also do this. An example would be Betrand Copeland Rumfoord who in the novel defends the Dresden raid. He says it was for his country, this character was based on someone Kurt really knew (Novels For Students 265).


A lot of the characters are people Kurt really knew or based on people Kurt really knew that made and impression on him. An example is Paul Lazzaro, he was friends with Roland Weary who didn't like Billy and told Paul that Billy killed him, so during the war Paul promised that he would kill Billy after the war. Which is ironic because they were in the middle of war where everyone was dying, why kill more people? Kurt really did know someone in the war that threatened to kill his personal enemies after the war. Another example is Edgar Derby, Edgar was mostly in the story because of his death, he was caught for taking a teapot in the rubble of Dresden as a souvenir, the soldiers that caught him shot him. Kurt really did meet a man that was shot for taking a teapot (266). Bernard O'Hare was Vonnegut's old friend from the war that he visited to help think of memories to write about in his novel. He writes about this in his novel and about meeting his wife who is upset that he is writing it because she thinks it will be a pro war novel and turn into a "Mel Gibson " movie. He assures her that it will not be and even dedicates the novel to her. Gerhard Muller was a taxi driver that became friends with Bernard and Kurt as they were driving to the Slaughter House where they were held. This novel was also dedicated to him (266).


In this novel, Vonnegut's talks about himself, Billy is a German prisoner of war and a man walks by him and says something. Then it says, "That was I, that was me. That was the author of this book."(Slaughter House Five 160). Then it goes on to a new paragraph and keeps telling the story as if nothing happened. However some people still say that Kilgore Trout, a character in this novel, still represents him. In the novel Kilgore Trout is a science fiction writer who isn't very popular but has a couple very strong fans.

Return to 123HelpMe.com