Slaughterhouse Five Rhetorical Analysis

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Throughout Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five an anti-war tone is prominent without being blatantly stated. Instead, Vonnegut uses characters, events, and descriptions to clearly relay his opinion to the reader. He reveals the true horrors of wars by exposing the romantic delusions of war and how this misconception affect those fighting and the world around them.

Vonnegut confronts the previously valiant outlook of going to war by illustrating people who held those beliefs and then highlighting their misconceptions. Vonnegut uses the character Roland Weary, a senseless, hateful soldier taken prisoner by the Germans along with the novel’s main character, Billy Pilgrim, to show how unrealistic the expectations of the war would be of a common
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Vonnegut utilizes the character, Billy Pilgrim after he joins his fellow British prisoners of war to show disprove the coming-of-age quality of war. A British soldier is in disbelief of Billy’s state and he “touched him exploratorily here and there, filled with pity. ‘My God—what have they done to you lad? This isn't a man. It's a broken kite’” (123-124). The broken kite represents a fall from innocence and boyhood because of the war. Vonnegut resents that the Europeans expect the Americans to fulfill their heroic expectations and save them in the war. But they dehumanize the Americans and forget that these Americans are the same age as the boys they sent out to war. Vonnegut also pushes how overwhelming and destructive the war is when he describes the firebombing of Dresden. Instead of using very literal language, Vonnegut describes the bombing in a very dramatic way by saying, “There was a firestorm out there. Dresden was one big flame. The one flame ate everything organic, everything that would burn” (227). Vonnegut uses Dresden to represent the entirety of the war and to show his dislike for how it dominates and exhausts everything. Through his use of repeated words, Vonnegut gives the reader a distinct picture of the complete destruction of Dresden. That not only people are killed in its demolishing, but all life. Throughout the book, Vonnegut describes Dresden as a beautifully untouched city, unadulterated by the devastating effects of the war. Because he illustrates the destruction of such a peaceful place to be completely total, he shows that even many years later while writing this novel, that the image of the bombing of Dresden still haunts him. Through his depictions of Billy Pilgrim and the firebombing of Dresden, Vonnegut shows his contempt for the effects of

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