Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five

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Slaughterhouse-Five Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death, is a satirical postmodern novel published by Kurt Vonnegut in 1969. By following the events of the fire bombing of Dresden in the Second World War and intertwining the war narrative with absurdist elements of science fiction, Vonnegut weaves together a novel that explores themes of free will versus inevitability and presents the unequivocally destructive nature of war, all while maintaining a mockingly serious tone that targets the senselessness of war and the inner darkness and brutality of human nature. Though the title of the novel is often shortened to "Slaughterhouse-Five" for simplicity and practicality, each piece of the full three-part title functions to further Vonnegut's message about the evil of war, the focal point of the novel. The first, and most well known, part of the novel's title is derived from the name of the shelter where Vonnegut - and his protagonist - are kept as American prisoners of war in Dresden: Schlachthof-Fünf, or Slaughterhouse-Five. Considering the underlying antiwar messages scattered throughout the book, it is possible that the word "slaughterhouse" also refers to Vonnegut's …show more content…

Billy's experiences in the war have caused him to experience a severe form of PTSD, and it is only by imagining alien life forms and time travel that he can rationalize the war and everything that he has gone through. Billy is a victim of the events that surround him. Even Vonnegut states, "Billy is spastic in time, has no control over where he is going next, and the trips aren't necessarily fun" (Vonnegut 23). Though Billy was never presented as being an assertive or decisive person to begin with, PTSD has caused him to lose the limited amount of control he previously had over his own life, and ultimately, he ends up his losing his own mind as a result of

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