The Mastery Of Words In Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five
Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five is a cheerless tale of young Billy Pilgrim’s crusade through World War Two. Billy Pilgrim was an ordinary youth who went on to optometry school and was drafted into the United States Army. However, his life is turned upside down when he is captured by German soldiers during the war and he experiences his first journey through time. Years later, Billy claims to be abducted by the alien creatures from the distant planet of Tralfamadore. They reveal to him their ability to see in the fourth dimension – time – and they reveal how he can do the same. Henceforth, Billy is totally changed. Like the Tralfamadorians, he can now move both forwards and backwards through the events of his life.
Billy continues …show more content…
He carefully selects his words and their connotation so that the reader can genuinely enjoy the story and relate to Billy’s experiences. Due to harsh setting of the novel and the author’s adversity to war, he typically chooses words with grim and sorrowful meanings. For example, “Last came Billy Pilgrim, empty-handed, bleakly ready for death….Wind and cold and violent exercise had turned his face crimson” (41-2). Bitter scenes such as this are commonplace in Slaughterhouse-Five and Vonnegut uses unpleasant words like “bleakly” and “violent” to add more depth to his writing.
The plot of Slaughterhouse-Five advances through both dialogue and narrative. The author uses dialogue to recant important conversations that Billy had and show his interaction with other people. However, the majority of the story is told in a narrative. Vonnegut recounts Billy’s experiences and shows the passing of time between and events and conversations with his own narration. The use of both dialogue and narrative creates a pleasant balance which helps the story flow.
The author utilizes vivid images to fashion scenes within the reader’s mind, allowing the reader to experience each setting as if they were truly present. For …show more content…
His characters speak French sporadically but all of the German characters use their native German language regularly. For example, when the scholar Goethe described the destruction of Dresden he spoke in German: “Von der Kuppel der Frauenkirche sah ich diese leidigen Trümmer zwischen die schöne städtische Ordnung hineingesät…” (22). The use of foreign language creates a strong atmosphere for the reader to experience and contributes to the realism of the story.
The subject, theme, and tone of Slaughterhouse-Five are upheld by the author’s diction. The story revolves around World War Two and all of its sorrow and depravity. Therefore, the author uses diction that adds to the harshness and grief within the story. The theme of hopelessness and predestination is also up by the melancholic expressions Vonnegut employs. Finally, the tone is not only upheld, but also magnified by the harshness of the author’s words. Vonnegut skillfully uses his words to create a consistent environment for his readers to