Slaughter House Five

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Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Slaughterhouse Five shows the life of Billy Pilgrim through a twisted tunnel of reality. Pilgrim is raised in Ilium, New York and grows up to become an optometrist but shortly after is drafted into World War 2. This soldier’s life is not shown as a straight line where you’re born in the beginning and die at the end but rather as a scatter plot of time due to Billy’s time traveling ways. “ Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time. Billy has gone to sleep a senile widower and awakened on his wedding day” (Vonnegut 29). With Billy unstuck in time it leaves his body traveling back and forth through time. Kurt Vonnegut also uses elements of science fiction to highlight the ills of modern society and the perils of warfare. The use of modern society in Slaughterhouse Five can be seen as a way Vonnegut tried to get his antiwar idea through to the people. Vonnegut uses the 1960’s as his time of modern day and uses the Vietnam War as a backdrop to his novel. The ills of modern society are evident in Slaughterhouse as Vonnegut uses science fiction to tie the book back to reality and to the real world. “ Robert Kennedy, whose summer home is eight miles from the home I live in all year round, was shot two nights ago. He died last night. So it goes”(Vonnegut 268). The death of Senator Kennedy is used to show the ills of Vonnegut’s so called modern society. Martin Luther King’s death is also tied into the novel as a way to connect the reader to the occurring events that the writer was dealing with while completing his masterpiece. Pilgrim also has to deal with the pressures of being a father to his delinquent son Robert, later in his life. After failing in school, Robert Pilgrim becomes a green beret in the Vietnam War to try and clean himself up. “The person who was performing the introduction was telling the major that Billy was a veteran, and that Billy had a son who was a sergeant in the Green Berets- in Vietnam” (Vonnegut 77). Roberts...
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