Overview Of Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five

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What is one to think when facing a book that seems science fiction on the surface, yet faces the harsh realities of a very real war within World History? Kurt Vonnegut, an American novelist, deals with various interwoven ideas and themes that are so contrasting to one another it is a wonder how he managed to work everything into one novel that spans just over two-hundred pages long. Slaughterhouse-Five is a diverse, intricate work that can be looked at from a multitude of perspectives. For the purpose of this essay, we will only analyze a few of the abundant aspects of this novel. The following paragraphs will analyze the prevalent themes of war, free will, and the illusion of time within the novel. On the subject of war, Slaughterhouse-Five …show more content…
Also, predestination is seen as a myth and it is thought that people have full control of their lives, their actions, and their futures. However, Billy Pilgrim and the alien race of the Tralfamadorians have an opposing view. They both think that free will is nonexistent and that our entire lives are already planned out or have already happened, rendering them unchangeable. “Among the things Billy Pilgrim could not change were the past, the present, and the future” (58). This quote embodies this entire belief as Billy truly believes he has no control of what has happened, what is happening, nor what will happen. This leaves him feeling helpless, but some see this as only a scapegoat for his actions. When one believes that their fate is sealed and out of their hands, they no longer claim responsibility to their …show more content…
Vonnegut calls attention to man’s proclivity towards war and the public’s blatant insensitivity and misinformation of warfare. He forces his reader into a new perspective on the subject of free will and calls into question our beliefs in destiny or predetermination. And lastly, he turns his reader’s attention on the thing we all seem to disregard, time. We are forced to question if multiple plains of time may exist or if our universe really is as linear and straightforward as we had thought. Rarely has a novel thrown me into such an existential crisis as this novel has and for that, Kurt Vonnegut is a

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