Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut Term Paper

Pages: 2 (559 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Literature

Slaughterhouse Five

In Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut vividly recalls living through the 1945 firebombing of Dresden during World War II. Much like the novel's hero Billy Pilgrim, Vonnegut was caught in the firestorm that consumed the city. Like Billy Pilgrim, Vonnegut only survived the bombings by chance.

During the Allied bombing of Dresden, Vonnegut was already a prisoner of war. He was confined by his captors in a meat locker inside a slaughterhouse. The well-sealed confinement shielded Vonnegut from incineration and suffocation as the firebombs consumed all the oxygen. After the firebombing, the author was then captured and put to work digging charred bodies out of the burnt rubble.

Because of the parallelisms between Vonnegut's experiences and Billy Pilgrim's ordeal, many critics contend that Slaughterhouse-Five should be read as a memoir. However, even though Slaughterhouse-Five was hatched in events vividly recalled by the author, it does not fall neatly into the genre of the memoir. Rather, the book is better classified as an autobiographical novel.

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Much like a memoir, an autobiographical novel often stems from an important period in an author's life. However, the techniques used to narrate these events vary between these two related, but distinct literary genres. In a memoir for example, an author uses first-person voice in order to draw the reader deep into their narratives, creating a story that reads with power and immediacy. The tradeoff, however, lies in the limited time span covered by the memoir. Furthermore, a memoir writer would not be able to explore the insights and point-of-view of other characters.

TOPIC: Term Paper on Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut Assignment

Parts of Slaughterhouse-Five read like a memoir, particularly where Vonnegut uses the first person voice, using the character of Billy Pilgrim to… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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