Slaughterhouse Five Research Paper

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Technological Advancements in Warfare and their Effects on Mental Health
Humans are extremely social creatures. People have an unparalleled capacity to empathize and recognize the emotions of others. However, extreme trauma can severely compromise this ability, particularly trauma inflicted by warfare. As a result of his first hand experience with the government 's use of technology in warfare, Billy Pilgrim of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five loses his ability to control his social interactions, becoming apathetic and disconnected with the world around him, a phenomenon not uncommon amongst those who have seen the immediate devastation of modern warfare technology.
Throughout the novel, Billy has specific experiences with horrific warfare
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More recently developed nuclear weapons prove to not only be more violent than those used during the Dresden attack, but to also be more physically and psychologically destructive. Along with the initial effects of the weapon, which destroys both people and property, deadly radiation from the bomb causes lasting health issues for the survivors, such as leukemia and radiation poisoning (Schull). Furthermore, the evacuation and relocation of those who lost homes and jobs in the area of attack would not only be expensive, but would also have significant negative social repercussions - both of the loss of productivity of the workforce during this time, as well as on the mental health of those forced to abandon their homes and…show more content…
One such mental illness is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. PTSD is already the most common form of mental illness, affecting almost 8% of American adults (PTSD Statistics). PTSD rates are increasing dramatically, particularly among soldiers that see combat, and the use of modern, advanced weaponry (PTSD Statistics). Increases in the rate of occurrence of PTSD in these soldiers can be linked back to this weaponry. Historically, World War I was the first war to utilize the increasingly dangerous methods of warfare such as trench warfare and biological weaponry, which significantly increased the death toll of the war. Accompanying these weapons was the first emphasis on war trauma-related mental illness, with soldiers returning from battle with PTSD, misnomered and misunderstood as ‘shell-shock’. Rates of PTSD climbed steadily after World War II and the Vietnam War as weaponry became more and more advanced, reaching 12% of soldiers who saw direct combat in the Gulf War being diagnosed with PTSD afterwards (cite). Clearly, there is a strong connection between advanced weaponry and mental illness in soldiers, proving that violent weaponry negatively affects those who are forced to encounter
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