Slaughterhouse Five Sacrifice Essay

938 Words4 Pages

Kurt Vonnegut's novel, Slaughterhouse Five, explores the horrors of war and its damaging effects on both individuals and societies. The protagonist of the story, Billy Pilgrim, is thrown into a chaotic world and forced to face unfathomable hardships. Through his choices, he demonstrates values such as heroism, resilience and compassion that provide a deeper understanding of the themes in Slaughterhouse Five. His ultimate sacrifice shows how even in dire circumstances one can take charge of their life journey. By analyzing his sacrifice through his values, this essay elucidates how it illuminates an even deeper meaning for Slaughterhouse Five as a whole.
Kurt Vonnegut's novel Slaughterhouse Five revolves around the life of Billy Pilgrim. Though …show more content…

During World War II, Billy survives being captured and put in a concentration camp; despite overwhelming odds he remains determined to survive. On several occasions he puts himself at risk to help others, demonstrating his value of compassion. For example, when Ed Barrow tells him that “we” can leave after the bombing of Dresden begins and save themselves without anyone else if they go now, Billy decides not to abandon their fellow prisoners falling deeper into peril with each passing second: ”Billy shook his head no'' (Vonnegut 102). Even though saving himself would be easy under such desperate circumstances, Billy stays behind due to his conviction of doing what is right above all else. Additionally this act reveals Billy's heroism as he not only stays but also attempts to get some of the men out- sacrificing his own safety for theirs when nobody else will even acknowledge them as human beings. This scene demonstrates how deeply compassionate Billy truly is towards those around him, despite having already gone through adversity himself which again highlights the main theme throughout the book- resilience in the face of adversity. This is seen most notably during its climax when Trafalmadorians abduct him from Earth; instead of succumbing under their control and accepting whatever happens like other characters do throughout their time travel adventures, it’s noted that “Trafalmadorans [are] learning from [him], since nobody had ever thought about staying alive before "(Vonnegut 147). Then comes Billy’s ultimate sacrifice, accepting death for faith in himself. Ultimately, this leads him back home with an embrace of his own mortality and a reaffirmation of his obsession with his own

Show More
Open Document