The Struggle In Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five

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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. Later in the novel the author writes, “Billy went on weeping as he contemplated the cripples and their boss. His doorchimes clanged hellishly. He closed his eyes, and opened them again. He was still weeping, but he was back in Luxemburg again” (Vonnegut 127). Vonnegut did this so we can see just how serious the issue Billy faces and wants us to …show more content…

This quotation is from a letter he had written from a book called Armageddon in Retrospect, “I am, as you know, a Private….I was their leader by virtue of the little German I spoke. It was our misfortune to have sadistic and fanatical guards” (Newsweek). This explains the setting and maybe even the reason for the theme of this novel. This quote explains his thoughts on when he was a PoW; prisoner of war, “he was once--to paraphrase only slightly--scared sh**less in Germany (decades after he had witnessed the horrors of Dresden in World War II)” (Thomas Wolfe Review). This might explain why added the events of Drezin and what happened to the PoWs in the novel. Vonnegut’s experiences might have had a major role in his choice of setting, theme, and description in the novel, Slaughterhouse

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