The Destructiveness Of War In Slaughterhouse-Five

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Although told in an oftentimes quirky and odd manner, Slaughterhouse-Five gives an intriguing perspective on World War II and the lasting effects that it had on the men who fought through it and went on to live out their lives in “normalcy”. The author, Kurt Vonnegut, uses irony, dark humor, and spontaneity to create an unorthodox depiction of the life of one of these said soldiers, Billy Pilgrim, the main character in the novel. In this light, he uses Pilgrim’s experiences in World War II to demonstrate the true nature of war to those who were fortunate enough to never experience it for themselves. The novel’s main theme, the destructiveness of war both internally and externally, is portrayed through Vonnegut’s illustration of the destruction …show more content…
Also, the civilians in the book were being bombed, invaded, and occupied all against their will. This highlights the idea the free will is an illusion. These civilians are suffering and dying at the hands of privates who are following orders they do not understand. The total amount of casualties for the Americans comes in at 89,500 with 19,000 dead, 47,500 wounded, and 23,000 missing. While Vonnegut does not give a substantial amount of details about the battle, it is significant that he chooses to use this battle as the battle Billy was captured …show more content…
About half the deaths that occurred during World War II were the deaths of innocent civilians, somewhere between a staggering 40 million and 50 million. Vonnegut covers this death and destruction well in Slaughterhouse-Five. Numerous people Billy knows die throughout the novel including the two scouts protecting Billy in the beginning, Roland Weary who dies from an gangrene in his foot, Wild Bob, the homeless man on the POW train, and Edgar Derby who is shot by firing squad after looting the possessions of dead Germans after the bombing of Dresden. Billy knew all of these men, and as mentioned above, Billy witnessed first-hand the murder of thousands during the firebombing. In the novel the phrase, “so it goes” is repeated every time there is a death, which is significant in supporting the theme of anti-war. The phrase equalizes all death and makes it seem insignificant. In reality, death is emotional and very significant to those who lose a loved one. However, this phrase highlights the idea that death is a part of war and is nothing special. Additionally, the quote “Poo-tee-weet” is another comment about war and the idea that no one has anything intelligent to say that justifies war. Not only is there a lack of intelligent comments, but this quote is said by birds and not humans. This

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