Slaughterhouse Five Term Paper

Pages: 3 (1006 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Mythology

Slaughterhouse Five

Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five is a postmodernist text which focuses on war and on mankind's potential for cruelty. The narrative leaps from historical accounts of the bombing at Dresden, for example, to science fiction reports of Billy Pilgrim's time traveling and of his adventures on Tralfamadore.

The nameless narrator of the story is one of the main characters in the book. Despite his playful and, at times, absurd manner of storytelling, I think that he should be given an award for his humanism. His voice is very particular and wise, despite the easy, matter-of-fact tone he takes up. His account of the events is filled with his anti-war sentiment and with the feeling that one cannot actually talk coherently about war and death. The narrator's conclusion is that there is nothing intelligent to say about a massacre, hinting thus at the absurdity of war. Also, each time the narrator mentions death in his story, he feels compelled to add, "So it goes," a phrase that, as he claims, belongs to the inhabitants of Tralfamadore and that is used to convey the idea that death is unimportant and that it does not really exist. This device emphasizes the need to escape the unacceptable idea of definitive or permanent death. Also, through his ironical and playful tone the narrator manages to unmask the incredible cruelty of war and at the same time its absurdity, which often goes unquestioned and is accepted as such.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Term Paper on Slaughterhouse Five Assignment

Billy Pilgrim is the main character in Slaughterhouse Five. Although seemingly a regular, unexceptional man, Pilgrim is a very interesting character. His main particularity is that of being able to see things differently than most of the people. The first thing that the narrator tells about Billy is that the latter has become somehow "unstuck in time": "Listen: Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time."(Vonnegut, 13) as such, he is able to travel back and forth in his own life and witness everything in a random order, as if he were an actor of his own destiny. Pilgrim's views of war are not very dissimilar to those of the narrator himself. Billy's award would be the recognition of his activity as an optometrist, in a figurative way. Billy Pilgrim's training as an optometrist authorizes him to prescribe corrective lenses to his patients. However, more than his matter-of -fact activity, Pilgrim symbolically tries to change people's vision of reality: "He was doing nothing less now, he thought, than prescribing corrective lenses for Earthling souls. So many of those souls were lost and wretched, Billy believed, because they could not see as well as Ws little green friends on Tralfamadore."(Vonnegut, 16) He does this by opening a new view of time and death primarily. His awkwardness and his inadequacy as a soldier are obvious all through the account of his experiences: "He didn't look like a soldier at all. He looked like a filthy flamingo."(Vonnegut, 19) the comparison with a "filthy flamingo" is significant, as it offers a romantic view of Billy as… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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Slaughterhouse Five.  (2008, January 24).  Retrieved September 25, 2021, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/slaughterhouse-five/3555533

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"Slaughterhouse Five."  Essaytown.com.  January 24, 2008.  Accessed September 25, 2021.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/slaughterhouse-five/3555533.