Post Modern Interpretation of Slaughterhouse Five Essay

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Post-Modern Interpretation of Slaughterhouse-Five

Kurt Vonnegut's novel "Slaughterhouse Five" succeeds in putting together diverse elements, ranging from literary futuristic fantasy to aspects involving human condition. As shown by Vonnegut, it is very difficult to write fiction when the main topic that one has to address is warfare. The writer is assisted by postmodernism throughout the novel, as he combines reality with fiction in order to present his readers with the horrible effects that war can have on a human being.

During a period in which people could still feel the aftermath provoked by the Second World War, postmodernism emerged and its climax materialized through books like "Slaughterhouse Five." The novel dealt a massive blow to the people supporting the Vietnam War, as it had been against everything related to fighting. Moreover, it provided significant information relating to the bombing of Dresden, as the general public did not receive much information on the subject until the time. The novel served as a reminder of the Second World War, taking people back and presenting the suffering from the wartime period. One can even go as far as claiming that "Slaughterhouse Five" is more of a wartime novel than it is a work of fiction.

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Evidently, the novel is also presented under a memoir form, and, in some way, it is autobiographical. The narrator is actually the author, as Vonnegut himself mentions this when he presents the sick American soldiers to the reader: "That was I. That was me. That was the author of this book" (Vonnegut). Chapter one mainly consists out of events from Vonnegut's life, and how he came to write the book.

Unlike the other chapters, which are tied to each other via the characters and the action present in them, Chapter One is mostly related to Vonnegut. It is almost as if it a Preface for the novel, and not a chapter that is part of it. While traditional novels usually kept a barrier between the author and the action in them, Vonnegut's book is focused on maintaining a constant connection between him and his work.

TOPIC: Essay on Post Modern Interpretation of Slaughterhouse Five Assignment

The novel comes in discordance with the standards present at the time, as it does not attempt to depict a wartime episode by glorifying it, or by attempting to describe it in the best way possible. Moreover, in a postmodernism typical manner, Vonnegut detaches the novel as much as he possibly can from the Dresden carnage. As he insures Mary O'Hare, his intention is not that of attaining fame through his book, nor is it to have famous actors playing in the potential movie adaptation.

Vonnegut's main intention is to provide narrative on a specific topic, that of the bombing of Dresden. However, throughout the novel, he refuses to do so, as he is perfectly aware that it would be bizarre for one to try and describe a massacre. The author apparently wants fiction present in the book so as to take the reader's mind from the horrors in Dresden and from the thought that everything that is war-related in the book is actually true.

By appealing to the science fiction genre, Vonnegut is actually attempting to ignore the torment in the city of Dresden. As put by Peter Barry, "the 'loss of the real' may seem to legitimize a callous indifference to suffering" (Barry). At the same time that Vonnegut wants to present historical facts, he uses postmodernism in order to challenge concepts such as "history, reality, and truth, for instance" (Barry).

In Vonnegut's opinion, a novel which depicts wartime events should… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Post Modern Interpretation of Slaughterhouse Five.  (2010, May 5).  Retrieved October 21, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Post Modern Interpretation of Slaughterhouse Five."  5 May 2010.  Web.  21 October 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Post Modern Interpretation of Slaughterhouse Five."  May 5, 2010.  Accessed October 21, 2021.