"Slaughterhouse Five" By Vonnegut Essay

2264 words - 10 pages

When one begins to analyze a military novel it is important to first look at the historical context in which the book was written. On the nights of February 13-14 in 1944 the city of Dresden, Germany was subjected to one of the worst air attacks in the history of man. By the end of the bombing 135,000 to 250,000 people had been killed by the combined forces of the United States and the United Kingdom. Dresden was different then Berlin or many of the other military targets which were attacked during World War II because it was never fortified or used for strategic purposes and, therefore, was not considered a military target. Because of it's apparent safety, thousands of refugees from all ...view middle of the document...

His guilt is in many ways comparable to the guilt felt by the survivors of the Holocaust. Many Holocaust survivors had to face their own 'Why me?' question. However, many Holocaust survivors were able to reconcile their feelings of guilt or put it out of their minds. This solution was never viable for Billy Pilgrim. Billy's guilt made life so unbearable that he could no longer live with himself and he rejected the life that had been granted to him. There was no answer to Billy's question because war is not logical, nor is it just. Never could one give a justification for the fortuitous slaughtering of the innocent, which claimed the lives of Dresden's inhabitants. This idea is exemplified in the secondary title Slaughterhouse Five is known by, The Children's Crusade. The Children's Crusade was one of the many Christian 'Holy' Wars which aimed on destroying the Muslim people. The Children's Crusade was really a ploy by entrepreneurs to sell Christian children into slavery. Thousands of children were killed on ships en-route to the slave market and many others were sold, never to be seen again. Vonnegut gives the Children's 'Crusade' as an example of the atrocities and in-humane acts which transpire under the auspices of War. That is why Billy Pilgrim invents a world where a justification can be given, where life and death are meaningless and feelings of guilt disappear. The only way Billy Pilgrim can confront this guilt is to excuse his survival and trivialize the gift of life and the cruelty of death. He creates a new world where he can be free from his guilt. That world is called Tralfamador.The Traflamadorian world provided Billy Pilgrim with the escape that he needed from his guilt. The Traflamadorian people are not locked in a three dimensional realm. They are not locked in the frames of time to which the human world is forced to live in. Traflamadorians can 'shift' through time as seamlessly as humans can walk towards a point. This ability allows them to focus on the pleasant moments in the history of the Universe and ignore the aspects of time they dislike. Thus, the fire-bombing of Dresden is just a tiny frame in the vast space time continuum. The guilt of Billy's being saved is reconciled by eliminating the existence of a past, present, and future. Since any fraction of time is accessible in the Tralfamadorian world death is just a tiny part of existence that is ignored like the fire-bombing of Dresden. Billy Pilgrim reinvents himself and his universe to gain purpose in his guilt ridden life (Lundquist 82).The Tralfamadorians are real to Billy because without them he cannot live with himself (Lundquist 82). Billy believes that he was taken by a Tralfamdorian ship to be an exhibit of a human being in a Tralfamdorian Zoo. On Tralfamador, Billy is exposed to an entire new way of thinking which neutralizes the 'Why me?' question. In the Tralfamdorian view of the Universe, guilt does not exist because in their view one is not responsible for...

Other Essays On "Slaughterhouse Five" By Vonnegut

Character In "The Yellow Wallpaper" By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

1587 words - 7 pages The short story 'The Yellow Wall-Paper' written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a cry for freedom. This story is about a woman who fights for her right to express what she feels, and fights for her right to do what she wants to do. The narrator in this short story is a woman whose husband loves her very much, but oppresses her to the point where she cannot take it anymore. This story revolves around the main character, her oppressed life, and her

Edgar Allen Poe's View Of Death In "The Fall Of The House Of Usher"

1836 words - 8 pages . 'It is usually admired for its 'atmosphere' and for its exquisitely artificial manipulation of Gothic claptrap and decor'(Abel, 380).Bringing forth the symbolism of death is a major part of this writing. All of the characters in 'The Fall of the House of Usher' are linked to death; by physical objects or by other people. 'There are no symbols of absolute good' (Abel, 382).The physical aspect of the House of Usher symbolizes death, in the chain

Psychoanalysis And Freud

2420 words - 10 pages for a few years, with four to five sessions per week of about 45 minutes each. In this way the psychoneuroses and the narcissistic personality disorders can be treated successfully in a majority of patients. Serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, manic-depressive illness, and the psychoses caused by organic malfunctioning of the brain cannot be cured by psychoanalytic treatment, though the patient can often benefit from psycho

Comparative Essay. "Heart Of Darkness" By Joseph Conrad And William Golding's "Lord Of The Flies"

2729 words - 11 pages It can be said that a certain degree of darkness lies within every person, but this darkness will not surface unless given the correct environment. The darkness, however, can emerge and ultimately destroy the person if not checked by reason. If one's inner darkness does surface, the victim then is given the opportunity to reach a point in personal growth, and to gain a sense of self-knowledge from it. That is, when one's darkness appears, one

This Is An Essay On The Woman In The Odyssey And Their Influences On His Travels

993 words - 4 pages The Odyssey is an epic about a Greek warrior in the Trojan War whose wanderings around his known world and his perilous encounters are the basis of the story. Odysseus' absence from his home is prolonged by the influences of the women whom he encounters.In this epic, several female characters had a profound effect on the plot. They wielded their influence through typically feminine skills and attributes: seduction, supernatural powers

Title:Aggressive and Passive. Compare characters in the Handmaid's Tail between Hamlet. Offred is aggressive while Ophelia is passive

537 words - 3 pages . Ophelia is also a weak woman in "Hamlet" play. She has no power over anybody. But their fates in the end are quite different. Offred succeeds in escaping from the dystopian socityGilead, while Ophelia dies of drown. Because Offred is affressive but Ophelia is passive.Offred lives in a society where the women are completely powerless. They are all controlled by the commanders. Even though,Offred finds her power, which is sex. Later, when the

Black Boy vs Grapes of Wrath

444 words - 2 pages Even though the books of Black Boy and Grapes of Wrath gave a vivid picture of the past American life to the readers regarding the socio-economic bigotry. Both books are similar in focusing the social and economic discrimination in the family setting. On Grapes of Wrath the California prejudice against the immigrants. Prejudice was a strong word, which leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. It is the prejudice against the migrant workers by the

Leprosy ; includes what bacteria it is caused by, the orgin of the disease, how many people are affected by it in the united states and in alaska during 1999 and 2000, and more. 3 pages long

524 words - 3 pages Leprosy is very dangerous for your personal health. It can make you skin fall off. Leprosy slowly eats away at you body. It is deadly to all genders, all ages, all sizes and all races.Another name for leprosy is Hansen's Disease. Leprosy is caused by the organism mycobacterium leprae. The pathogen that carries it is bacteria. Throughout the years people have suspected that inhaling and touching the bacteria could spread leprosy.Symptoms of

Reality Vs. Appearance - Hamlet

978 words - 4 pages order to uncover the reality behind his appearance.Various characters try to cover their secret intentions with a veneer of a whole other person. One of the most obvious is Claudius. Claudius murdered his brother, the former King Hamlet, in order to become king himself. This murder, which was done in secret, with no one but Claudius knowing that the act was committed by him. Not only is he the King of Denmark, but he is also married to Queen Gertrude

My favorite place

320 words - 2 pages Among the places where I have traveled, I especially like Fort Lauderdale very much. It fills me with beautiful memories. It reminds me of the days when I lived in Vietnam where I was born, especially the coconut trees, the hot and humid weather are like Vietnam. Fort Lauderdale has almost all the tropical fruits like jack fruit, durian, and longan. All these fruits are not grown in California.I usually come to Fort Lauderdale for a vacation. I

Mockery And Superiority In Canzone: Supported By Areopagitica Examines John Milton's Use Of Mockery And Superiority In The Poem Canzone; Supported By Areopagitica

1210 words - 5 pages PAGE PAGE 4 Zimmer Rachel ZimmerProf. GraffMilton: ENGL 420June 10, 2002Mockery and Superiority in Canzone:Supported by AreopagiticaMockery, as well as a sense of pride and/or superiority comes out in many of Milton's works and he exemplifies this by writing in ways that seems to humble himself, charm the subject of the poem, and yet scoff at him/her at the same time as well as prove his high intellect. Milton's often-circular logic

Similar Papers

Book Oral (Slaughterhouse Five By Kurt Vonnegut) Glenwood High School, English Oral

778 words - 4 pages children. He later adopted his sister’s three children too as she and her husband had both died. Vonnegut then took interest in writing, releasing his first novel in 1952. In the following twenty years, he released several novels. However, it was only his 6th novel, Slaughterhouse-Five that made the breakthrough. The anti-war sentiments found in this book resonated with readers amidst the ongoing Vietnam War. This book has won many awards, been rated

Slaughterhouse Five Themes Essay

914 words - 4 pages occurred before. This goes on to explain some incidents in Pilgrim's life proving free will to not be the cause. Slaughterhouse-Five is a very intricately designed story where many ideas help each other be understood. The main theme of this essay comes out powerful and meaningful. Vonnegut does a superb job in writing this novel.sources"Slaughterhouse-Five." SparkNotes. Barnes & Noble. 7 Dec. 2008 .

Dystopia Essay

845 words - 4 pages becomes a dystopian society in Chapter Five. As it says, "At this there was a terrible baying sound outside, and nine enormous dogs came bounding into the barn. They dashed after Snowball, who only sprang from his pace just in time to escape their snapping jaws. In a moment he was out of the door and they were after him. Too amazed and frightened to speak, all the animals crowded through the door to watch the chase. Snowball was racing across the long

Harrison Bergeron, Short Story By Kurt Vonnegut Ulm English 1002 Short Story

2201 words - 9 pages HARRISON BERGERON by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren't only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United