Slaughterhouse-Five By Kurt Vonnegut: A Literary Analysis

2000 Words 8 Pages
For many veterans, war is not a heroic story or a means to achieve political ends instead it is a palpable reality in which they cannot escape. Kurt Vonnegut created his novel Slaughterhouse-Five not merely as a fiction narrative; it studies the profound and extensive influence on the historical and contemporary nature of human interaction situated in times of war: its moral, mental, and physical components and demands. Since the novel’s publication in 1969, Slaughterhouse-Five continued its popularity and relevance in our contemporary world. As one literary critic states: “When the novel first came out it was read by young students who were caught up in the peace movements of the 1960’s. This moment in time was crucial to the novel’s success …show more content…
Considering the attention devoted to understanding the causes of war, we still know surprisingly little about individual soldiers’ recollections. Vonnegut in his opening chapter, claims that his novel debuted as “jumbled and jangled...because there is nothing intelligent to say about a massacre. Everybody is supposed to be dead, to never say anything or want anything ever again. Everything is supposed to be very quiet after a massacre, and it always is, except for the birds” (24). Vonnegut claims that his novel is “jumbled and jangled” because he is reminiscing on an event that is supposed to be forgotten about. However, it is important to note that Vonnegut is no longer remaining quiet about the past; he has specifically decided to look back on his experiences in World War II and advance them into the present day. More specifically, Vonnegut claims, “People aren’t supposed to look back” but doing “was so human” (28). In the years subsequent to war, the distinction between repressed history and publicity proves to be overly simplistic, neglecting or adhering to one’s memory has more to do with consciousness rather than character. When focusing on military actions, we commonly regard them as something freely chosen; it is within the soldiers’ character to readily anamnesis or suppresses these memories. However, Slaughterhouse-Five explored how “It wasn’t a famous air raid back then in America. Not many Americans knew how much worse it had been than Hiroshima, for instance. I didn’t know that, either. There hadn’t been much publicity” (12). When Slaughterhouse-Five debuted in 1969 at the height of the Vietnam conflict, this notion would be forever

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