Lot’s wife looked back at the destruction of Sodom because she simply could not help not looking at all of the lives that were taken. Vonnegut references this particular story from the Bible in his first chapter because he is about to look back at Dresden: evil and destruction. Vonnegut looked back at the fiery pits of war by writing Slaughterhouse-Five. Although Cinderella and Billy
In this time, rapid growth of cities and more advanced housing began. However, the horror of WW2 occurred, which Kurt Vonnegut fought in. Around this time also, was when the great depression was sprouting and destroying many companies and families. WW2 and its events that occurred, was most inspiring to his writing “The Slaughterhouse-Five”. During the war, Vonnegut and his POWs were about 60 feet underground inside a slaughterhouse meat locker when the ground above him was bombed.
A twenty-two year old prisoner of war emerges from the slaughterhouse where he works to see a formerly beautiful city reduced to nothing but rubble and embers. This man would go on to remove close to 30,000 corpses before seeing them incinerated. This experience would go on to haunt and plague Kurt Vonnegut for years on end. His experience of this event led him to write Slaughterhouse-Five, the story of Billy Pilgrim, who was also an American soldier who experienced the firebombing of Dresden and lived to tell about it. By drawing parallels between himself and Billy Pilgrim, providing philosophies and points of view, and recalling wartime events from WWII in the wake of a new war, Kurt Vonnegut brings many new concepts to the hypothetical table
Vonnegut’s struggle to write an antiwar novel was actually a struggle to find a suitable perspective to represent an experience that goes beyond human comprehension. Vonnegut in Slaughterhouse-Five narrates and shaped his own life in the similar way he later narrates the life of his main character with reference to Tralfamadorian’s time theory that everything is laid before us to see at the same time. In first chapter, Vonnegut introduces us with his difficulties and struggles he had to remember what had happened and find the right words to illustrate what he had seen during the war. He mentions that he thought the book would be easy to write—all he would have to do is to simply report what he had seen. But this does not work.
It brings the reader's into a world of war and death and makes it normal; Many people see death as a bad thing, if they read this book they would be able to see how uncontrollable it is. Vonnegut writes billy as a very quiet, shy person who experiences about as much death as he had in his lifetime. Death and war are both things that no one can control, death happens to everyone one way or another and it’s how you see death that determines how you react to it. In the war Vonnegut and Billy both experience tremendous amounts of lose in such a little amount of time and when you experience that you are no longer in a state of mind where you feel as though death is unnatural and a horrible thing. they simply know what they can’t control and say this “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom always to tell the difference.”
To begin with, Vonnegut deals with his PTSD by distancing himself from the events that took place during World War II, creating a frame narrative for his novel, as displayed by Harris when he states, “Vonnegut-as-character introduces himself in Chapter One…Then, starting with Chapter Two, he begins narrating his novel, that is, the novel by the author-as-character within the novel by Vonnegut the author” (Harris, “Time, Uncertainty, and Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.: A Reading of Slaughterhouse-Five”). By including himself as a character within the novel and then by having the character narrate another novel, Vonnegut, the author, creates a frame narrative that twice removes him from the main action of the story. Since Vonnegut removes himself from the action, especially the scene at Dresden, he is able to cope with the traumatic incidents. Another way that coping with PTSD is shown in Slaughterhouse-Five, is worded by Chabot, who writes, “…Slaughterhouse-Five is something of a Tralfamadorian novel, and it surely meets many of the specifications. While we cannot read them at once, the novel is built up out of a series of brief fragments or episodes…” (Chabot, “’Slaughterhouse-Five’ and the Comforts of Indifference”).
The main theme of the book is the realization that young and old men that are physically and mentally not ready for the line of duty are being forced to the front lines to fight in WWII, as a result of this they have to experience drastic and life changing events such as, Modern warfare and Prisoner of War (POW) camps. Vonnegut develops his comment on society through the novel by explaining how ill equipped men were sent to fight in the war, the advancements of modern warfare, and the effects that war can have on a person such as Billy Pilgrim. Kurt Vonnegut was born on November 11, 1922 in Indianapolis, Indiana and died on April 11, 2007. Vonnegut studied at the Cornell University from 1940 to 1942 then enlisted in The U.S. army. After he fought in the battle of the Bulge the
In Slaughterhouse 5, the often use of literary elements show how much of a insane and twisted novel it really is. For example, Vonnegut would use satire when talking about war. Satire uses irony and humor to ridicule social conversations. Primarily, this allows the reader to show how destructive of a war is going on meanwhile laughing at some the aspects it contains. Around the beginning of the book, the narrator appears to overstate the problem by saying “Do you know what I say to people when I hear they’re writing anti-war books?
The setting plays a powerful and constant reminder to the reader of the consequences of the human condition. Slaughterhouse Five, taking place around WWII involves many places, one main one being Dresden. It is seen by many as one of the greatest man made disasters in history and was oddly caused by allied forces. As horrible as it might be, Kurt Vonnegut says at the beginning of his book that “I thought, too, that [the book about Dresden] would be a masterpiece―But not many words about Dresden came from my mind then ― And not many come to mind now…” (Vonnegut 2). Having forgotten one of the most important parts of his life, it hints at how pointless war is and how something as big as Dresden can be forgotten as time goes on.
Kurt Vonnegut wrote Slaughterhouse-Five to portray the gruesome scene of World War II and its many flaws. To do this, Vonnegut uses irony as a way of attacking the corruption of war itself. The irony of Slaughterhouse-Five manifests itself through the conversations between Billy Pilgrim and his fellow soldiers during the war. Most of the ironic quotes in this novel speak in relation to Billy's experience in the war. A direct example of this irony is, "Billy went from total dark to total light, found himself back in the war, back in the delousing station again" (90).