Theme Of Flashback In Slaughterhouse Five

730 Words 3 Pages
Davis Thalhuber

Mrs. Boston

AP Language and Composition


Slaughterhouse Five Essay:

Structure (flashback, chronological): The structure of Slaughterhouse-Five is written in a flashback where the main character, Billy Pilgrim, goes back and forth of when he was apart of the bombing of Dresden. Billy Pilgrim has PTSD, in which he goes from his present life of being a successful optometrist while having two children too his past life of joining the army and being captured at a prison camp in Dresden. These flashbacks are present throughout the book. One of Billy’s first flashbacks occurred like this, “Billy Pilgrim first came unstuck in time. His attention began to swing grandly through the full arc of his life” (54; ch 2). This
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The symbol of the horse appears at the end of the novel where Billy returns to Dresden after the bombing to realize all of the devastation it has caused. He finds two dead horses on the side of the road and the narrator exclaims, “Their hooves have cracked and broken so that every step is agony… Billy weeps for the first time and last time during the war at the sight of these poor, abused animals” (251-252; ch 9). These horses symbolize the pain that not only the suffering of the horses but the suffering of Billy and the other POW’s as well. Like Billy, the animals are the innocent victims that are affected by war without understanding why. The second symbol is the stars. Not only do the stars appear throughout the Tralfamadorian novel, but they also appear in the actual text of Slaughterhouse-Five separating and concluding paragraphs. The Tralfamadorians, the aliens, view the stars as short messages to create one beautiful scene. As a result, the stars symbolize how the book is told out of chronological order in which coincides with the Tralfamadorians concept of time. Lastly, the slaughterhouse where Billy and his comrades were held ironically symbolizes shelter. Billy is spared by the onslaught of the bombing of Dresden by the allied forces because of the slaughterhouse, although many animals and humans were killed there. Vonnegut uses symbolism throughout the novel to engage the reader into pondering deeper ideas and concepts through the horses, the stars, and the

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