Comparing Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five And The Vietnam War

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The differences between the World War II era and the Vietnam era are easily identified in the music. Television shows, and literature of the two time periods. One of the greatest texts published during the Vietnam era, Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, encompassed many of the anti-war ideas feeling that were involved with the Vietnam War. Although Vonnegut began writing Slaughterhouse Five as soon as he arrived home from World War II, it was the time that he allowed himself to write the novel that helped him compose and reflect his post-war ideas through the main character, Billy Pilgrim. If Vonnegut had not taken as long as he did to compose his feelings and write them into the novel, publishing it for the World War II generation, it …show more content…
The candor of Slaughterhouse Five is actually an aspect of the book that sets it apart from many of the other war books in existence. “…He [Vonnegut] has resisted the temptation to overdramatize it [Slaughterhouse Five], to raise it to an apotheosis of the sort of Hemingway did of his wounding in World War I at the Italian Front,” according to William Rodney Allen. Overtime, Vonnegut had to develop the self-control to not portray Billy Pilgrim’s experiences in the war in a fictitious manner, but instead develop them with as much realism as possible. The blatant, truthful, hopeless style of Slaughterhouse Five is often what leaves the most prevalent impact on readers. As exhibited in a scene when Billy is riding a train to a German prison camp, “Human beings in there were excreting into steel helmets which were passed to the people at the ventilators, who dumped them…Human beings in there took turns standing or lying down,” (Vonnegut 90). The fact that Billy’s experience wasn’t embellished helps fully depict the inhumane incidents soldiers had to go through. If Vonnegut had given in to the temptation to falsify parts of Slaughterhouse Five in order to publish it for the World War II generation, he may have misrepresented certain aspects of war that remain some of the most portent parts of Slaughterhouse

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