Kurt Vonnegut's Anti-World War Novel

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Inspired by the wife of another veteran, Mary O’Hare, to whom his book is dedicated, Kurt Vonnegut basically invented the genre of the anti- world war novel. This one book shaped the way that America has generally viewed war, in both theory and practice, as evidenced by the major shift in viewpoints between World War II and the Vietnam War. This shift started in centers of higher thinking where novels like this would be read and discussed and spread outwards. Much like the similar reaction to the memory of World War II by students in Paris compromising the 1968 generation, these students were protesting that World War memory in France was a lie and the truth needed to come out for peace and healing. Mary certainly shared the viewpoints of …show more content…
In this way, war was a disruption of reality for its soldiers, going from American life, to basic training camps was already a jump, but then being thrust into a war that was nothing like the training, next being captured and forced to survive in using any means possible, and finally attempting to return to civilian life as if their lives have not been forever altered by the trauma of the war. The impact of this trauma ranges from the short term, in Mills description of freed prisoners of war running between mess halls and eating out of the scraps even though they were stuffed, is an accepted psychological reaction to being starved, because they were still living in their previous reality. Billy Pilgrim copes with American life and war through disruption of reality in the long term. Billy has the curious ability to mentally distance himself from the present using very vivid memories either from his past or delusions from an alien planet where he was kept in a zoo, naked with a Hollywood starlet, and he discovered a fourth dimension where time is not linear and can see the future but no death. Billy’s tralfamadore is a reaction to the trauma of war, that resurfaced when Billy survived a plane crash where many people around him died, and this was similar to the bombing of Dresden.

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