What Is The Theme Of Pain In Slaughterhouse Five

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War can hold a great deal of pain in the soldiers involved in a conflict, causing them to have existential crises in their future. Slaughterhouse-five is an account of Billy Pilgrim's thoughts and feelings as he travels back to his past experiences during war, to the present, then to his false reality world of aliens. In the years following the war Billy Pilgrim comes into contact with this fantasy world; that is all in his head, where he lives his best life in a zoo while being watched by aliens; Tralfamadorians. In this world he is at peace, making it a place he frequently goes back to, along with ‘time-traveling’ into his time spent in WWII. His memories at war are bringing up Billy's past which is only bringing back how Billy felt in those …show more content…

It is difficult for many people to talk about their past, especially war veterans. War veterans can feel as though they aren't entitled to share how they feel because of the stigma that the military has created around soldiers. “Americans don't like talking about trauma. We tend to twist it into heroism and move on.”(Caplan). Soldiers are meant to be perceived as strong both mentally and physically, but when it is talked about people tend to move on and ignore the problem. Any amount of time no matter how big or small spent in war will affect veterans. But for Billy Pilgrim it has affected him mentally and physically along with damaging his relationships with his family; specifically his daughter. While Billy continues to move on from his past in the war and settling down to start the new part of his life, his issues started to become apparent. He marries into a wealthy family purely for the benefits it will bring him; a nice job, a nice car, and a mediocre life. Billy and his wife, Valencia start their new life together and have a daughter, Barbra, who ends up resenting Billy. Billy begins to go on radio shows and tell everyone about his adventures on …show more content…

This is because of the poor treatment the army gives an active soldier, especially when they come to their superiors for help. The military limits the veterans ability to function normally after leaving that environment because of the lack of support they give. “Military ethos discourages soldiers from talking about their fear, frustration, helplessness, and uncertainty about the progress of the war.”(Caplan). Military ethos are a set of rules put into place by the army to keep their soldiers ‘in place’. These rules can make it hard for soldiers to feel their emotions and have a proper way of coping. Instead it makes soldiers believe that they can't leave or they will disgrace their country, that they can't speak up about how they feel or they are weak and overall a depiction that these soldiers are only supposed to be strong and can't be vulnerable. Although Billy and other soldiers had the resources to reach out for help in and out of war, they chose not to. This is because “for the men, it was unmanly. For the women, it proved that women should not be soldiers.”(Caplan). This stigma that soldiers of any race or gender should be strong and not show emotion or they will appear weak has caused a great deal of damage to people. It will only make it less likely that people will feel comfortable to get help to fix their illnesses either in or out of the war. Billy experienced

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