Essay On Slaughterhouse Five Themes

914 words - 4 pages

In this novel, the author explores some themes that prove to be the main ideas of the story. The main themes include the destructiveness of war, the importance of sight, and the illusion of free will. In addition, these themes are presented in a somewhat camouflaged way. The main character, Billy Pilgrim, is a successful optometrist who had been in World War II. He struggles to understand his own life and the reason why people cause destruction and war. In the story, Pilgrim has flashbacks of when he was a prisoner of war and gets transported back and forth through time. He also gets kidnapped by aliens, by whom he is taught about the fourth dimension, where time occurs and reocc ...view middle of the document...

Since Billy Pilgrim is an optometrist, he has the job of fixing other people's vision. On the other hand, he encounters many flashbacks and hallucinations, for example, the Tralfamadorians. "Such a view creates the irony that one employed to correct the myopic view of others is actually himself quite blind" (Sparknotes, 1). Another view of this theme, according to Sparknotes, is that Pilgrim gained knowledge about the fourth dimension further allowing him to cure other people's perception. The Tralfamadorians' view of time - that all moments of time exist simultaneously and repeat themselves endlessly is the same view Pilgrim holds on time (Sparknotes). The third theme present in this novel is the idea of free will. Since the Tralfamadorians have a comprehension of the fourth dimension, they believe that all situations in time have occurred and will occur again simultaneously. With this in their minds, they don't believe in free will but in predestined fate. They feel that only humans have the idea of free will since they have no idea about the fourth dimension and reoccurring time. Billy Pilgrim, throughout the novel, runs into many obstacles that challenge his free will. "When Billy is a child, his father lets him sink into the deep end of a pool in order to teach him how to swim. Much to his father's dismay, however, Billy prefers the bottom of the pool, but, against his free will to stay there, he is rescued" (Sparknotes, 1)....

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