War in Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut and Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

War in Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut and Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Length: 1089 words (3.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut and Catch-22 by Joseph Heller both have a striking resemblance in the themes of anti-war and of free will. Both don’t come into full force right in the beginning but eventually become more evident. Both novels focus on one character throughout the entire novel, and each protagonist is affected by all the events around them. It changes their perspective and how they view life as a whole. Both Billy in Slaughterhouse Five and Yossarian in Catch -22, dislike war and are known as anti-war heroes. They also believe in the idea that they have free will and that their actions can be controlled. What makes these two novels so different from other war novels is that both protagonists don’t die for their country, they live through the end to see the world around them change.
The idea of free will is savored by everyone. Throughout both novels, each protagonist reaches a certain point in which they have to make a decision. Instead of waiting for that decision to happen, the event happens nevertheless (QUOTE EXAMPLE). In Slaughterhouse Five, Vonnegut proclaims that there is no such thing as a free will and that what will happen cannot be changed. The protagonist Billy Pilgrim was told by Tralfamadorians that they see time chronologically and that nothing can change or be changed. No matter what we chose to do, all the choices we make, are made unconsciously. Similarly in Catch-22, the theory is the same but it’s presented in a different manner. Catch-22 is a paradox, with no clear outcome. No matter what one says or does, escaping is not an option thus there is no free will. The catch is very well described when Yossarian states, “You don’t have to fly anymore missions if you’re crazy, but you have to...


... middle of paper ...


...y. It changes the world around them in a definitive way. In Billy’s case defeating the Germans was a cause of celebration but at the same time it was a time of mourning due to the bombing of Dresden. For Yossarian, countless lives were lost just so that Milo could make some extra cash. Milo took the war as a joke and didn’t care if his country won or lost the war. He was there just to collect profit, which could be seen as an example of Anti-War. The protagonists feel like toys being thrown around in order to do the bidding of commanding officers. The soldiers had no free will as they had to listen to their orders and do as their told. In the end the world around them had changed due to the events of the war.



Works Cited

Heller, Joseph. Catch-22. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1961.
Vonnegut, Kurt. Slaughterhouse Five. New York: Random House Inc., 1969. Print.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five Essay

- Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five Great artists have the ability to step back from society and see the absurd circus that their world has become. Such satirists use their creative work to reveal the comic elements of an absurd world and incite a change in society; examples include Stanley Kubrick’s film, Dr. Strangelove, and Joseph Heller’s novel, Catch-22. Both works rose above their more serious counterparts to capture the critical voice of a generation dissatisfied with a nation of warmongers....   [tags: Kurt Vonnegut Slaughterhouse Five Essays]

Strong Essays
3845 words (11 pages)

Themes of Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt vonnegut and Catch 22 by Joseph Heller

- Themes of Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt vonnegut and Catch 22 by Joseph Heller In the books, Slaughter House 5 by Kurt Vonnegut and Catch 22 by Joseph Heller there are many themes that at first don’t appear to be related but once given a closer look have striking similarities. Both books are about one mans experience through World War II, one being a fighter pilot and another being a soldier. Each man is known as an anti-war hero. They do not agree with the war and do not find it appropriate to fight for it....   [tags: Slaughterhouse 5 Catch 22 Literature Essays]

Strong Essays
1423 words (4.1 pages)

Essay about Slaughterhouse Five By Kurt Vonnegut

- Slaughterhouse-Five, written by Kurt Vonnegut, is an anti-war book about the firebombing of Dresden, which the author witnessed in World War II. In the book, the reader is introduced with the main character Billy Pilgrim, who seems to have come "unstuck in time," rendering him the ability to travel or relive the past, present, and future (Vonnegut). Billy learns later on, from an alien race named the Tralfamadorians, that all time exists simultaneously. Vonnegut begins the book, however, with anecdotes from when he was just starting to write the book and how writing it led him to develop new ideas on war....   [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut]

Strong Essays
2023 words (5.8 pages)

Slaughterhouse Five By Kurt Vonnegut Essay

- Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut is an anti-war historical fiction novel about the bombings of Dresden, Germany in 1945 at the end of World War II. Slaughterhouse-Five succeeds as a historical fiction novel because it is fictional and imaginative but also set in the past, rooted in factual information about that time period and the events that took place in Dresden. Much of the historical information in Slaughterhouse-Five is considered eye-witness information because the novel is semi-autobiographical because Kurt Vonnegut was a prisoner of war in Dresden and he also survived the fire bombings....   [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut]

Strong Essays
1232 words (3.5 pages)

Essay on Slaughterhouse Five, By Kurt Vonnegut

- Most novels are not able to adequately present two distinct themes that oppose each other; Slaughterhouse-Five is not most novels. It is unique in almost every way, especially with respect to its themes. In Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut develops, to the surprise of the reader, the themes of both the necessity of the concept of free will and its illusion. While these themes seem to contradict each other, they are also complimentary. Kurt Vonnegut’s unique writing style enables the reader to perceive both of these themes in the text....   [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut]

Strong Essays
1867 words (5.3 pages)

Kurt Vonnegut 's Slaughterhouse Five Essay

- War novels often depict a war hero facing off against an enemy, with a winner on the other side. However, Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Slaughterhouse Five takes an opposite approach to the telling of a war story. The narrator uses the protagonist, Billy Pilgrim, to display his own anti-war sentiment. Vonnegut’s style of writing as well as his characters help to portray the effect of war on individuals and society as a whole. As the narrator states at the beginning, “there is nothing intelligent to say about a massacre” (19)....   [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut, World War II]

Strong Essays
1221 words (3.5 pages)

Kurt Vonnegut 's Slaughterhouse Five Essay

- In a world that has become callous to cruelty and harshness, authors began to develop characters which embodied those who were struggling to cope with growing inhumanity and impassivity. Such authors are as postmodernists. Fragmentation and paradoxes characterize their novels. Within postmodernism, the use of science fiction allows the writer to demonstrate worldviews while avoiding the imposition of perverted casualty upon the subject. One author who has mastered the era of postmodernism is Kurt Vonnegut....   [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut]

Strong Essays
1666 words (4.8 pages)

Essay about Slaughterhouse Five By Kurt Vonnegut

- How has Slaughterhouse Five borrowed from other texts to emphasize the theme of war. The novel Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut is a narrative about a man named Billy Pilgrim. Billy participates in World War II and the novel follows his life and focuses on his reaction to the war and his travels to an extraterrestrial planet called Tralfamadore. Many speculate that this book reflects Vonnegut’s feelings about war and have drawn parallels between Vonnegut and Billy Pilgrim. Kurt Vonnegut has the characters read various texts throughout Slaughterhouse Five to emphasize his feelings about war....   [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut, Kilgore Trout]

Strong Essays
807 words (2.3 pages)

Essay on Slaughterhouse Five, By Kurt Vonnegut

- Kurt Vonnegut has built a universe for Billy Pilgrim in Slaughterhouse-Five where Billy’s cruel, unforgiving reality is contrasted by a philosophical utopia where he has learned to operate without the pains of being human. Within this self-described ‘telegraphic’ and ‘schizophrenic’ novel, Vonnegut manages to swing the reader halfway across the galaxy to a planet inhabited by a plunger-like race called the Tralfamadorians, take them into the harrowing depths of a POW camp, and show you a man who is increasingly coming undone at the seams after having lived with the psychological terrors of the Dresden bombing....   [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut, Kilgore Trout]

Strong Essays
2076 words (5.9 pages)

Kurt Vonnegut 's Slaughterhouse Five Essay

- 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]

Strong Essays
1044 words (3 pages)