Similarities Between Never Let Me Go And Vonnegut

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In the novels Never Let Me Go and Slaughterhouse-Five, Kazuo Ishiguro and Kurt Vonnegut depict characters who lack stable identities, and feel lost. In Never Let Me Go, the Hailsham students are clones who have been deprived of the ability to pick their own futures, because they have been bred to become organ donors from birth. Without the freedom to discover themselves, they become confused about their own identities and look for clues, in their “possibles,” as to who they may be. Similarly, in Slaughterhouse-Five, Billy Pilgrim is thrown into war, and labeled as weak and useless by those around him, and in turn he lacks the motivation to give his life purpose. Billy and the Hailsham students both have been defined by society, ergo they have …show more content…
Early on in Slaughterhouse-Five, it is clear that society views Billy as weak: “Billy was a chaplin’s assistant in the war. A chaplin’s assistant is customarily a figure of fun in the American Army. Billy was no exception. He was powerless to harm the enemy or to help his friends. In fact, he had no friends. He... expected no promotions or medals, bore no arms” (Vonnegut 30). In society, Billy is labeled as weak, and given the lowly position of chaplin’s assistant, which holds virtually no power. When Vonnegut writes, “He was powerless to harm the enemy or help his friends,” it proves that Billy cannot benefit the army in any way, and thus he is a unessential to society. Due to the fact that Billy is seen as close to useless in society, he allows himself to be so. When Billy is stuck with Roland Weary, he becomes a burden on the group: “Billy stopped and shook his head. ‘You go on,’ he said… ‘You guys go on without me. I’m alright…’ Weary kicked and shoved Billy for a quarter of a mile… ‘He don’t want to live, but he’s gonna live anyway’” (Vonnegut 48). When Billy is “kicked and shoved” by Weary, even though he does not “want to live,” it shows that he has become a burden upon others in society, further proving to others that he is worthless. Billy does not even try to save himself and instead simply says “go on without me” because he gives his life absolutely no value. Billy’s apathy towards living stems from the idea that society has taught him that his purpose is insignificant. In the end, Billy becomes mindless, simply going through the motions, not caring whether he lives or dies, and he ultimately allows others to assign him his

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