Existential Themes In Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five

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"Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt."(Vonnegut 122). Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut is a rather strange book that recounts the life and happenings of Billy Pilgrim, a veteran of WWII, and an optometrist. It contains war, bombings, syrup, bullies, and human zoos on alien planets. The quote at the beginning is what Billy Pilgrim wanted to be on his headstone, even though he was part of one of the worst air-raids in all of war. Billy was generally a timid, laid-back guy, and we can learn a lot from his experiences. What we can learn could be parallel to the themes of Slaughterhouse Five, but that is for the reader to decide. The themes for Slaughterhouse Five are as such in the writers humble opinion, there is no free will, there is no freedom, and war should be avoided at all costs.

Firstly, there is no free will. This a very existential theme, likely there will be no one who can, or will …show more content…

This one is probably the least depressing of all these themes, but it is worth mentioning. Vonnegut does not showcase any heroes in this book, which he explicitly states at the beginning, when his wife yells at him for it. Which is one of the reasons it's particularly strange. The main way he does this is he shows off the fire-bombing of Dresden, of which Vonnegut was part of. The fire-bombing of Dresden was a bombing run that took place over Dresden in order to "shorten the war", as the Generals put it. About 132,000 people were killed there, most of them civilians, some of them American prisoners of war. It's a central part of the book, and Vonnegut describes Dresden after the bombing as, the surface of the moon. Later in the book Billy Pilgrim is at a dinner in Ilium, where he works, and a man is talking about Dresden. He describes it as a necessity due to war. This is where Vonnegut makes his point, there didn't have to be war. Germany didn't have to invade Poland, and they should not have. That is the third

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