A Critical Analysis Of Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five

1130 Words5 Pages

Vonnegut’s struggle to write an antiwar novel was actually a struggle to find a suitable perspective to represent an experience that goes beyond human comprehension. Vonnegut in Slaughterhouse-Five narrates and shaped his own life in the similar way he later narrates the life of his main character with reference to Tralfamadorian’s time theory that everything is laid before us to see at the same time. In first chapter, Vonnegut introduces us with his difficulties and struggles he had to remember what had happened and find the right words to illustrate what he had seen during the war. He mentions that he thought the book would be easy to write—all he would have to do is to simply report what he had seen. But this does not work. Too many other …show more content…


In more general terms, the metafictional strategies which the opening chapter offers for a successful co-authoring of the inset story and an imaginative reconstruction of the meaning of history are the regressus ad infinitum as a narrative equivalent of epistemological doubt, the blurring between fact and fiction as an expression of ontological insecurity, and the accumulation of multiply cross-referenced repetitions as an indication of man’s imprisonment in the ruling linguistic discourses.

Peter Freese in Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five or How to storify an atrocity analyses that it’s characteristic of postmodern’truism that serious storytellers can no longer depict a shared reality and thus are incapable of recreating a historic event ‘as it really was.’ Confronted with competing realities that depend upon the perceptions and value systems of their individual projectors, Vonnegut takes recourse to the science-fiction strategy of the Martian perspective and makes use of the opposition between Earthlings and Tralfamadorians to demonstrate the dubiousness of the ontological distinction between fact and fiction. Another consequence of such radical idealism, convincingly thematized in Borges’ fictions, is the discovery that there is no prima cause, that every cause of an effect is in turn the effect of a previous cause and that every author of a fictional character is himself a character in the …show more content…

That was me. That was the author of this book”. Vonnegut begins his novel with himself as the narrator, keeping the promise he gave to Mary. Vonnegut’s own appearance in his novel also allows for its metafictional attributes, meaning that the novel draws attention to its own structure and telling. Harold Bloom in his book Bloom’s Modern Critical Interpretations on Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five examines the similarities with Vonnegut and Norman Mailer making himself a character in The Armies of the Night, Vonnegut used his own real-life experience in surviving the Dresden bombing to establish authorial legitimacy.

Like Mailer, also Vonnegut discusses the reasons why he was writing this book and the difficulties he encounter remembering war experiences. When Vonnegut appears as

Show More
Open Document