Free Will In Billy Pilgrim's Slaughterhouse-Five

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In the novel Slaughterhouse-Five the author begins with a struggle of remembrance of the things that were experienced while in Dresden but soon finds a way to explain through the eyes of Billy Pilgrim. Billy is introduced and recalls his time in Dresden much of which he spent abducted by aliens known as Tralfamadorians, the Tralfamadorians are described as having plunger bodies and have eyes that are in the palm of their hands. Along with having a physical difference from humans they also have different ways of how their society runs and their philosophical views. The input of the Tralfamadorians is a way for the author to question the idea of whether free will exists or not and challenges the idea for humans. The idea of free will is used…show more content…
From a young age Billy’s free will is almost mocked which better proves the thought process of the aliens. Billy is thrown to the bottom of the pool as a young child by his father to learn to swim in a “sink or swim” situation. Billy of course doesn’t know how to swim and finds himself at the bottom of the pool but he finds comfort in the bottom of the water; his free will to stay there is taken when he is rescued from the situation. Another instance where Billy’s free will isn’t considered is when Billy is drafted to the war where he shows that he is clearly unprepared for “He had no helmet, no overcoat, no weapon and no boots… He didn’t look like a soldier at all, he looked like a filthy flamingo” (Vonnegut 33). This description of pilgrim in the war showed that he did not belong in the war as he was unprepared for it. Many prepared soldiers of the war die but somehow Billy who is unprepared survives, this part of the story helps to backup the Tralfamadorians way of thinking. The ability to act at one’s own discretion is what free will is and the author uses the background of Billy Pilgrim to prove that there is no such
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