Magical Realism In Slaughterhouse Five Analysis

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Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse 5 is a postmodern anti-war novel that was written to detail what happened in Dresden. The protagonist, Billy Pilgrim, becomes “unstuck in time” (27) and ends up randomly travelling to different points in his life. Billy ends up meeting aliens that are known as Tralfamadorians. The Tralfamadorians live in the fourth dimension, leading to time simply being an illusion for them. They teach Billy that there is no such thing as free will and that everything in life is predetermined. The novel solely focuses around Billy as he repeatedly jumps between different moments in his life. Slaughterhouse Five is different from other Anti-War novels such as Night and All Quiet on the Western Front because it does not go into …show more content…
Magical Realism is described as the introduction of fantastic or impossible elements into a narrative that is otherwise normal. The use of the Tralfamadorians is an example of the use of magical realism in Slaughterhouse Five. “Billy 's will was paralyzed by a zap gun aimed at him from one of the portholes. It became imperative that he take hold of the bottom rung of the sinuous ladder, which he did” (Vonnegut 76). It would be unrealistic to have aliens actually visit Billy, but their contact serves to reinforce the message that free will does not exist. The Tralfamadorians use a zap gun to freeze his will, suggesting that he originally had free will, which contradicts the message that fate is predetermined. Once he returns home and accepts the Tralfamadorians views, Billy decides that he should take it upon himself to spread the message of the Tralfamadorians (Vonnegut 26). By making the choice to spread the word, Billy’s actions contradict everything he is saying about the lack of free will; he proves that humans do, in fact, have free will. The usage of the Tralfamadorians is a postmodern technique that Vonnegut attempts to use to improve his anti-war message; however, contradictions render this argument

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