Slaughterhouse Five Essay

1899 words - 8 pages

Where innumerous catastrophic events are simultaneously occurring and altering the mental capability of its viewers eternally, war is senseless killing. The participants of war that are ‘fortunate’ enough to survive become emotionally distraught civilians. Regardless of the age of the people entering war, unless one obtains the mental capacity to witness numerous deaths and stay unaffected, he or she is not equipped to enter war. Kurt Vonnegut portrays the horrors of war in Slaughterhouse Five, through the utilization of satire, symbolism, and imagery. The main occurrence in the novel was the nonsensical bombing of the culturally enriched and beautiful city in Dresden, Germany. On February 13, 1945 amidst World War II this city was attack and recorded among the worst air attacks in history with a casualty of approximately 135,000(Cox). The main character in the novel, Billy Pilgrim, witnesses the bombing in Dresden and other war horrors that leaves him unable to function normally. His telling of the war and his life after creates an inconsequential plot that is hard to follow filled with time traveling sequences. Post World War II however from the gathering of events at the end of the story, Billy has a seemingly normal life with wife and children and a career in orthopedic surgery (Moss).
Slaughterhouse Five is based on the author, Kurt Vonnegut, and his real life experience as a prisoner of war in World War II, and witnessing of the Dresden bombing. In the first page of the novel he says, “All of this happened, more or less”, to give validity to some of the accounts the novel discusses (Vonnegut 1). Best Anti-war piece After writing Slaughterhouse Five ,Kurt Vonnegut became an established American author creating one of the best anti- war pieces and evolving into a prominent and influential 20th century author(Moss).
Vonnegut’s atrocious experiences in the war lead to his creation of Slaughterhouse Five, an anti-war novel using satire to represent his beliefs. Satire describes the literary technique that combines dark humor and irony to criticize and expose humanity's stupidity. The purpose is to entertain readers with perverted humor while illustrating the horrors of war that Vonnegut consistently describes, “anyone who seeks glory and heroism in war is deluded” (Vonnegut 26).
The humor found in Slaughterhouse is full of satire, creating laughable scenes that embody unconventional humor. When Billy Pilgrim is drunkenly searching for the steering wheel of his car “He was in the backseat of his car, which is why he couldn't find the steering wheel"(Vonnegut 48). This scene creates dark humor; while it is funny that he is looking for something where he clearly won’t find it, depicts the derangement and detrimental effect war causes on the mental stability and capacity of its participants such as Billy Pilgrim. The Gutless Wonder is Kilgore Trout’s book about a ruthless killing robot that people dislike due to his bad breath; ignoring...

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