11.07.2019 in Book Review

Slaughter House-Five Essay

Kurt Vonnegut, the author of slaughter house five explores the encounters during Second World War of one Billy Pilgrim. He is seen as inexperienced and allergic to fighting and is held at ransom during war by the enemies, Germans, and put behind bars. Together with others, they are locked in a dilapidated slaughter house stinking like hell so the title of the book. Billy later meets his death in a strange twist of circumstances. With all these taking place, the author addresses such thematic issues as destiny, free will among others.

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The major thematic concern by the author is destiny or commonly known as fate. Billy’s life seems to be headed for the rocks. This is greatly contributed by his nature of being cowardice and seems to have succumbed long before his death. He seems not to know what will happen to him next. He admits that there is no making of ones choices and most people engage in issues because circumstances force them. This is apparently echoed by one Tralfamadorian who admits to have walked greatly in other areas which do not support life and concluded that the world is the only place where people talk of freedom to make choices. Vonnegut by far looks at the idea of defeatism, as being left with no choice. Tralfamadorians strongly stand for this as far as battle is concerned. This he explicitly expound, basing his argument on one protagonist Billy.

Human nature is equally addressed in this book with Billy as the case study. On encountering the Tralfamadorians he shares a lot with them. He admits the several instances that would have made him loose his life and seems to come to terms with them. Most individuals unlike Billy struggle within trying to shift so much focus on what has already taken place rather than to simply move on. The past, as Billy observes is irreversible, as he recalls what happened to him while young. He almost lost his life at one time when his father was training him how to dive in water only for him to drawn. He is said to have been forced into the battle field against his wish and luckily survives as he has no expertise besides war equipment. He is said to have not struggled to secure this job as a soldier and this portrays him as a weak man who is indolent.

Billy is trusted with the responsibility of amending vision of those with sight hardships. Going beyond the literal meaning of this duty, we can see Vonnegut exposing Billy with diverse spectacles to rectify the global almost blur vision. The most outstanding way of doing this is through wisdom acquired with his Tralfamadore encounter. He agrees with their argument that all that happens seems to be repeated sometimes in future. He therefore purports to be aware of future happenings as all has taken place. In the same breath, Billy seems to have no vision as he engages in battle and is challenged upstairs eventually. He tends to over imagine things by having been kept with animals after which he is sent back to the world. With all these, Billy appears to have gone nuts and all that he sees is purely hallucinations due to past encounters. This clearly shows him as one who has lost vision and exists in a world of his own totally confused.

Vonnegut paints his artistic work in first person perspective on his encounter with battle. This clearly shows he likes imaginative work and integrates this with his personal experiences. When that happens, Billy is brought in and Vonnegut comes in action. Billy has been used largely to represent the otherwise ever struggling persons. Besides other themes like destiny and ability to make choices, the destruction caused by war is equally addressed by far in German city of Dresden.

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