Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five Should Not Be Banned

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Slaughterhouse Five Should Not Be Banned
Tools are important. Hammers, screwdrivers, and drills all help to make improvements. Tools do not necessarily have to be hardware, however. Books, for example, are also tools. Books are some of the greatest tools in education. They relay information, present new ideas, and provide examples of great writing. Although the books that teachers select for classroom use are valuable resources, many people often attempt to ban them from schools. One such book is Slaughterhouse Five, a novel by Kurt Vonnegut that explores the implications of America’s bombing of Dresden during World War II. While it is often praised for its message and unique form, it is also challenged often. Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse
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Marvin points out that “mixing brutal realism with science fiction, Slaughterhouse Five challenges readers to make sense of a world gone mad” (113). The use of science fiction presents real events in a new way, one that can reveal more truths than a historical account could. Students can benefit from this by seeing how different genres can be used to portray the same ideas, and how some genres are more effective than others for conveying certain messages. Slaughterhouse Five is similar to Picasso’s Guernica in that it uses surrealism and fiction to portray the harsh reality of war (McNelly). Vonnegut’s use of science fiction can be compared to the works of Picasso and other abstract artists to show the connections and similarities between literature and art. The humor in Slaughterhouse Five is another example of how Vonnegut’s method achieves a purpose. Students can learn how to use humor in their own writing to make topics easier to understand, and easier to digest, especially in the case of heavy topics like death and war. Literary critic Robert Scholes says that this humor is what allows Vonnegut “to contemplate the horror he finds in contemporary existence.” Using humor “does not disguise the awful things he perceived; it merely strengthens and comforts [readers] to the point where such perception is bearable” (Scholes 451). Vonnegut’s use of humor and science fiction are perfect examples of how authors use certain techniques to achieve a purpose. Because these literary devices are used well and make readers contemplate the issues at the heart of the novel, the work is a perfect tool for teaching students about these devices and about their own

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