The Concept Of Fate In Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five

Improved Essays
In the twentieth century, a riveting new genre of children's books emerged. These books, often referred to as “choose your own adventure” novels, provided the reader an array of decisions to make. While it was not always clear which path was the best to take, it was the audience’s personal duty to craft their own conclusion. Comparably, the theme of fate versus free will is addressed frequently in Kurt Vonnegut’s novel, Slaughterhouse Five. As the protagonist, Billy Pilgrim, proceeds through life, he is burdened with a peculiar destiny, and his response to the given situations is a direct comment on the concept of predetermination. Essentially, Vonnegut utilizes Billy Pilgrim to explore the idea that it is foolish to assume one’s fate is …show more content…
After all, the book advises the audience to “Ignore the awful times, and concentrate on the good ones” (Vonnegut 225). Advice such as this may convince readers that Vonnegut actually wants everyone to accept God’s will and let come what may. Basing an argument about Vonnegut’s beliefs on insignificant lines such as this one, however, reveals poor literary analysis skills. When reviewing how Billy’s adherence to predetermination affects the most crucial plot points, it always proves to have a detrimental impact. There are ultimately enough examples of him undermining the idea of predetermination throughout the novel that it is clear he doesn't agree with the …show more content…
He argues that people cannot blame their misfortunes on others because everybody has the ability to control the outcome of their own existence. Similarly, In Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Slaughterhouse Five, Billy Pilgrim is used to exhibit the harm of thinking one’s fate cannot be altered. The adversity he experiences is a direct result of him lacking the motivation to modify his own destiny. Vonnegut emphasizes Billy’s misfortune to express that people must shape their own lives and make deliberate decisions that will better themselves. It is idiotic to live a passionless life in which one does not care about what happens to them. To truly succeed in this world, one must never be afraid to choose their own

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    He aims to test Adam and Eve’s strength by allowing Satan to inflict his deception on them. Adam and Eve both fail the test and that saddens God, but it also shows that the couple were not loyal to him. Biblical writers support this idea by saying, “genuine love cannot exist unless freely given through free choice to accept God’s love or to reject it,” (McDowell) and thus God allows evil to exist and enter Edan. Milton finally allows readers to understand his purpose for writing Paradise Lost, and his passion for it. Milton had written Paradise Lost to justify the ways of God to men, and did so poorly.…

    • 873 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    I will first discuss its reliance on the asymmetry argument and the Utilitarian view of morality. Throughout his book, “Better Never to Have Been: the harm of coming into existence” (2006), we can see how he reiterated in different circumstances the “badness” of coming into existence. He says, “Each one of us was harmed by being brought into existence. That harm is not negligible, because the quality of even the best lives is very bad—and considerably worse than most people recognize it to be. Although it is obviously too late to prevent our own existence, it is not too late to prevent the existence of future possible people.” (Benatar, 2006,…

    • 1970 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    The phrase “a person cannot change,” based solely off of this novel, is contradicted by the character of Arthur Dimmesdale. his genuine traits were atrocious, but with heavy thought with deep understanding of the type of person he should be, he proved the phrase, to be wrong. Being presented with conflicts is what gives structure to an individual. Without having to handle any, they would not have any character, much to say any knowledge. Despite what people will say or what they are willing to do, no one should have to live with the burden of hiding their secret because they feel like they are saving themselves from deep agony and torture.…

    • 1408 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Hosea 4:6 says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge” The Bible also says in Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” Like our examples showed us, we cannot always rely on our own senses. Sometimes what we perceive is different than what the eyes of someone else has perceived. The only time we should be uncertain of our beliefs is if we cannot prove it or support it. However, our beliefs should never be uncertain because they are supported by the everlasting Word of God. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is alive and powerful.…

    • 809 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Appetitive souls believe that the secret to happiness is self-interest and ignorance of all other aspects of life. Plato would have Tony2 described Calvin’s happiness as a path leading to self-destruction, something that we can see happening to Calvin at the end. Appetitive souls are ignorant of any dangers, and they do so little to take caution because the rational part of their soul is overridden. This kind of individuals tends to learn less from their mistakes. For instance, Calvin tells Hobbes that he does not want to learn anything from experience meaning that he can willingly do it again.…

    • 907 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    High School Tips Essay

    • 1590 Words
    • 7 Pages

    Remember what is important to you, no matter what anyone else thinks about it. Changing your personality and all the things that matter to you to fit in not only is an utter waste of your time, but is a lie of who you really…

    • 1590 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    For example, John had no one to relate to being an outcast in both the Savage Reservation and the Brave New World. He was not dictated a place in society like everyone else, who seemed to have an explicit purpose in life, so in a way he was treated as a misplaced object as opposed to a lost soul, which resulted in a life of disapproval and misunderstanding of himself and of the society as a whole. As a part of human nature, without receiving the acceptance of others, one cannot truly accept himself or his flaws, though in the eyes of Huxley, posing John as an outcast held significance within the underlying plot scheme. With the simple intentions of John foiling each character physically, mentally, emotionally, and at times verbally, Huxleys demonstrates the evolution of the selfish side of the human condition, which is achieved by stripping people of their personal emotions, consciousness, and independence in order to enslave the bodies, deceive the minds, and dictate life for personable gain. In other words, Huxley is cautioning the readers the potential society has to morph the pure thought of a human into a mindless, mechanical, breathing…

    • 772 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    He stood against the leaders and scholars of this society when no one else even dared to think of it. Ayn Rand states in her essay “How to Lead a Rational Life in an Irrational Society” that “Nothing can corrupt and disintegrate a culture or a man’s character as thoroughly as does the precept of moral agnosticism, the idea that one must never pass moral judgment on others, that one must be morally tolerant of anything,” (Rand “How to Lead”). This is saying that someone must pass moral judgment and assessment of someone else’s character to keep your own character from shriveling away into nothing. Moral assessment and judgment is exactly what Equality 7-2521 did with the society’s leaders. Although, if and when you do judge peers and authority figures, you have to be prepared to be judged, because if you are going to be the final decision on the essence of someone’s character, then “one must possess an unimpeachable character” (Rand “How to Lead”).…

    • 959 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Deontological Moral System

    • 1419 Words
    • 6 Pages

    They fight authority and try to cheat the system to benefit themselves no matter the means. An article from Value Inquiry Book Series called Value and Obligation of that, “Consideration of consequences is compatible and consistent with a deontological ethics that stresses action, instead of intent.”(McDonald, 2014). Following ethical theory is not a presentable reason to prohibit these policies that will end the suffering for so many people by allowing mercy to them. What kind of life would someone have if they relied on someone to feed them, clothe them, and do everything for them because they are completely helpless? A person would not want to life with the humiliation and a diminished quality of life.…

    • 1419 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    I conclude that all is well.” This teaches that life is not truly meant to be full of indifference. Life can be pointless and often told as futile. Recognizing the absurdity and reflecting upon it allows you to see the values of the truth. That is how you can overcome the depression of life and actually live it, not make an escape. The faith of life does not rest in the hands of one sole purpose.…

    • 943 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays