Analysis Of Slaughterhouse Five By Kurt Vonnegut

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People die in ways that can’t be stopped, like falling into a cold lake without knowing how to swim or choking on a piece of chicken that got stuck in their throat. But sometimes you wonder: What if they decided to stay home instead of going to the lake that day? What if they had cut that piece of chicken just a little bit smaller? Questions like that can also leave you wondering in what other ways death can be hampered, for example, in war. Of course, the climate of opinion is that war is not preventable; however, in his anti-war book, Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut uses rhetoric to show how society sanctions war to be cataclysmic and damaging to all those involved.
In the first chapter of the book, Vonnegut describes a visit he had with
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Repeated four times throughout the book is the smell of “mustard gas and roses”. The first three times it was mentioned, the smell was the breath of someone drunk and the first two times it was mentioned was the author’s breath himself. The fourth time the smell is mentioned is in the Dresden corpse mines. “There were hundreds of corpse mines operating by and by. They didn’t smell bad at first, were wax museums. But then the bodies rotted and liquefied, and the stink was like roses and mustard gas” (273-274). People often drink to escape thinking about something. The tragedy of war and what was seen in the corpse mines of Dresden was so disturbing that even when he is drunk, he is still reminded of the terrible smell of the dead bodies the Americans were responsible …show more content…
When Billy discusses the end of the Universe with a Tralfamadorian and learns the Universe’s end will be because a Tralfamadorian test pilot presses a starter button. The Tralfamadorian says, “He always pressed it, and he always will. We always let him and we always will let him. The moment is structured that way” (149). Much like the end of the universe, the Tralfamadorians do not try to prevent war from happening, they simply accept that that is how the moment is structured and do nothing to stop it. This is exactly how Vonnegut believes people on Earth view war: inevitable. They believe that there is no way to stop it. Vonnegut uses the words of the movie-maker, Harrison Starr, to illustrate the popular opinion of society: “Why don’t you make an anti-glacier book instead?” meaning there would always be wars because they are as easy to stop as glaciers (4). But looking closer to the Tralfamadorian’s words, it did not say they couldn’t stop the end of the universe, simply that they don’t. They accept that is what is happening and that is the end without making a true effort to stop it, even though they are very capable of changing time. Society now is also the same way. We choose to believe war is inescapable even though it

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