Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five: Do You Can Change The Past?

Superior Essays
In Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Slaughterhouse-Five the main character, Billy Pilgrim, is a time traveler; he is constantly recalling his past. The moment he time travels, he develops a deeper meaning of the current event, due to his awareness of new details in his life; these moments make him into the man he is. When he lives in the moment of either the past or present; feelings arise and he develops a sense of beatitude, satisfaction, regret, and contentment; this helps with the development of the theme which is that you cannot change your past but you can change the future with your present decisions. When Billy Pilgrim had time traveled to the past when he had been reminiscing about the time in which he lived in the ghetto; he had felt a sense …show more content…
Billy did not show any antipathy towards Valencia but when he harkens back to the time he had proposed to Valencia, he had deeply regretted it. The narrator stated,” Billy didn’t want to marry ugly Valencia. She was one of the symptoms of his disease. He knew he was going crazy when he heard himself proposing marriage to her, when he heard himself proposing marriage to her, when he begged her to take the diamond ring and be his companion for life” (107). He did not show any antipathy towards her, though he knew that when he proposed to her he will not be happy with his life as time goes on. When Billy looks back to the time he proposed to her he was conscious of the thought that she promotes his disease which is post traumatic stress disorder. Valencia is always asking questions about his time in the war and he knew that she fantasizes about his tellings during sex. He regrets telling her his past because his pain and loss is being used by someone he is supposed to ‘love unconditionally’ in a vulgar fantasy. He soon stops telling her stories because it just makes him remember the horrible events that had left an imprint in his mind. He regrets marrying Valencia because she does not bring the best out of him and she exploits the …show more content…
During those moments he had traveled back to the time when he was taken to planet Tralfamadore and was displayed in a zoo; he felt at that time contented. In the novel is states,” He was forty-four years old, on display under a geodesic dome. He was… naked. The tralfamadorians were interested in his body-all of it” (111).The tralfamadorians wanted to see all of him, his good and bad qualities. The Tralfamadorians asked him, “ Are you happy?” (113) and Billy responded,” About as happy as I was on Earth” (114). Billy was glad to be there because the ‘zoo’ was his sanctuary; it was a place where he can be his true self because the Tralfamadorians were there to observe not to judge. He was safe there because no one was there to harm him, not not like on Earth where everyone is fighting each other. The zoo became his new home for those few months. He learned more about himself because he lived a secluded life where he was safe to be his true self with no influence from the outside. During those few months he felt contented, he accepted himself for who he was which contributed to the theme. He started to develop more respect for himself so he can lead a fulfilling life as time goes

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