Kurt Vonnegut's Armageddon In Retrospect

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Kurt Vonnegut’s Armageddon in Retrospect is a book composed of both short stories and essays about war. Vonnegut was a private in the U.S. Army’s 106th Infantry Division during World War II and was captured by the Germans in mid-December of 1944. In this essay, I examine the ways in which the bombing of Dresden is conflated with sex. Specifically, through a close examination of key metaphors and images, I show how the violent "deflowering" of the virginal city reflects the book's larger view that war is a kind of rape or sexual assault. Known as The Florence of the Elbe, Dresden, Germany, became known as one of the most royal capitals in Europe, in which acclaimed architects designed the Zwinger, Hofkirche and Taschenbergpalais. After the German …show more content…
Through close examination, however, Armageddon in Retrospect reflects a larger view on war; it is a kind of rape, a sexual assault. The bombing of Dresden, the virgin territory, symbolizes the aftermath of a victim of rape. Once untouched and unharmed, she was deflowered by the American soldiers, her perpetrator. She can no longer live in harmony, unable to function, for terror is instilled in her blood. Unfortunately, it was not only Dresden and her virtuous land, resources and innocent civilians that war raped. War raped the soldiers who were involved in the conflict as well, making sure all participants encountered some form of deep suffering. The impact that war has on a soldier’s mentality is similar to the impact that rape has on innocent civilian mentality. “Often, several senses and one’s core personal identity are scarred by traumatizing wartime events” (Webel 87) just as one’s core identity is scarred from rape. Significantly, although war and rape are two independent events, they are linked at the root of their outcome, both causing permanent physical, emotional and personal trauma to their

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