Billy Pilgrim's Slaughterhouse Five

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While the plot is able to explain what exactly occurs in the novel, the complex nature of the books sentiments are hidden deep beneath the surface. The novel explores heavy topics associated with war, especially death. These examinations soon evolve into an examination of the cynical nature of life in general, and how death is the only constant. However, if death is truly the only constant in life, the question remains why fear its arrival? In Slaughterhouse Five, Billy Pilgrim hypothesizes this very dilemma as a result of his tragic experiences as a soldier in World War II. Consequently, he creates a very negative view life as a whole, something largely attributed to his experiences reliving the trauma as he comes “unstuck” in time. The …show more content…

The book doesn’t overtly state Billy’s condition, however, it is only amplified as a result of the book’s achronological structure. In showing a nonsequential unfolding of events, Vonnegut wishes to unmoor the reader from their preconceived notions just as Billy is unmoored from time and he makes the effect of how war trauma affects an individual’s psyche quite clear through Billy’s example. It is through the book’s structure that one can see Billy’s disheveled state after the war. Him coming unstuck in time is a human attempt to rewrite the atrocities he wishes to unsee, and allows a portrayal of war far less glorified, and more real that the “realist narratives” Rigney speaks of. While the random arrival of Tralfamadorians seems as unrealistic as can be, they are essentially a representation of the Germans, and Vonnegut trying to right the wrongs they had committed against him within his own mind. Countless parallels illustrate the aforementioned. For example, while the Germans imprisoned Billy in a Slaughterhouse, the Tralfamadorians imprisoned him in a zoo. However, the Tralfamadorians were Billy’s attempt to correct the Germans ways, while he was stripped down and forced to wear a woman’s coat as a

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