Through the portrayal of the Tralfamadorian principles regarding the predestined nature of all events in time and Billy’s naive belief in these notions, Vonnegut shows that humankind can improve the future through purposeful actions in the present. He also emphasizes the dangers of complacency through Billy’s gullible and apathetic character. Vonnegut shares his contempt of complacency with Albert Einstein, as well as the view that the exertion of free will can bring greater peace to the
Throughout Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut intertwines reality and fiction to provide the reader with an anti-war book in a more abstract form. To achieve this abstraction, Kurt Vonnegut utilizes descriptive images, character archetypes, and various themes within the novel. By doing so, he created a unique form of literature that causes the reader to separate reality from falsehood in both their world, and in the world within Vonnegut’s mind. Vonnegut focuses a lot on the characters and their actions in “Slaughterhouse Five.” Within the novel characters are stripped of their human identity. Soldiers are forced to be naked and bare, and pornography or sexual dialogue plagues the interactions between many of the characters.
This being said, Vonnegut scrutinizes the philosophical aspects of time, and memories that restore a being. To convey this message Vonnegut displays Billy Pilgrim, the protagonist, as uncompetitive character, who learns a unique perspective of time and memory, which leads to his character progression.
Vonnegut’s narrator brings the reader on a roller coaster ride, alternating between war, and common everyday life. Billy’s constant transitions in time are discussed right from the start of his story, “Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time” (Vonnegut, 12), alternating between the present, the past, and seemingly, the future. The juxtaposition of suffering, with life, death and absurdity seems to reflect how war and disaster can drop in suddenly, a disruption to the routine that can seem to completely wreck a person’s life, or arguably cause them to have a very different worldview, in the case of Billy. The story is difficult
This being said, Vonnegut scrutinizes many philosophical aspects of time, and memories which provides a being with a sense of strength to live through Billy Pilgrim, the protagonist of this book, and the events that occur to shape his character. Although in the beginning Billy has not much of a character. Billy is
Vonnegut allows the audience to understand that the society that these humans are living in is supposed to perfect, but is not as flawless as it seems. One supporting quote from the story that supports this claim is when this exert from the story stated, “‘Must be nice to be able to make pictures that look like something,’ said the orderly. The painter’s face curdled with scorn. ‘You think I’m proud of this drab? You think this is my idea of what life really looks like?’” This supports how the world the characters are living is far from paradise when the painter paints the mural of a beautiful garden.
In the novel, Slaughterhouse Five, the author, Kurt Vonnegut uses a very unique way of making his readers both understand and feel Billy Pilgrim’s experiences. He does this by beginning the novel in a somewhat usual way (no novel is ever the same) and then shocks us by making Billy travel through his past and future and his present. Proof of this would be when Billy, on the night of his daughter Bernadette’s wedding, waits an hour to be abducted by the aliens. Then after asking the aliens “why him?”, he is transported to the moment when he and other war prisoners are in a freight car trying to sleep; although Billy sleeps standing because he screams and kicks in his sleep. The author does this so we can understand Billy’s struggle throughout the novel.
How did Kurt Vonnegut use postmodern approaches to create an antiwar antinovel in Slaughterhouse 5? When Slaughterhouse 5 was published, it could have been considered as an outsider in the literary world. In the midst of the Vietnam war, it was preaching antiwar notions, and in a time where straightforward linear storylines dominated the media, Slaughterhouse 5 presented a challenging nonlinear plot. The nonlinearity in plots would later on become a staple of postmodern literature but Kurt Vonnegut missed the peak of the postmodern era publishing the novel in 1969; a decade before the peak in the 1980's. Even so, the novel rose to popularity and became critically acclaimed.
Vonnegut, himself included as a character in the novel outside and inside and participates in its creation in both roles. At one point, the character-sitting in Midland city, the characters are talking and take a debate what to do with them. Sometimes it may confuse the readers where they
Kurt Vonnegut employs metafiction in writing Slaughterhouse Five, the novel was a fuse of both fact and fiction. Billy, the protagonist, was an unexpected war survivor in the bombing of Dresden and had illusory fantasies to cope with his unspeakable trauma. I am interested in examining how history is represented in metafiction and how mnemonic symbols of traumatic experiences can be redefined in metafiction. Carl Jung’s The Concept of the Collective Conscious leaves me with questions that I would like to examine in the course. One of which is the question of whether a post-war trauma archetype pre-exists and the relationship between remembered memories and collective