Dec. 16, 2010
By Kurt Vonnegut
Wars have broken out all over the world, throughout time, and for as longs as civilizations have been around. Most of the population today has not experienced what war is like first hand. For Kurt Vonnegut this was not the case. He was a soldier in World War II and a witness to the infamous bombing of Dresden, Germany. Slaughterhouse-Five is a novel that describes in detail his own personal experience of the war and making them that of Billy Pilgrim’s as well, a character from his novel he uses to express his anti-war beliefs. Although Vonnegut’s style for writing this novel is uncommon, at the very least, it is nonetheless a successful anti-war novel.
There are various parts in the book in which he expresses anti-war feelings. For example, he describes a prayer in his office as his method to keep on going in life although he isn’t enthusiastic about living either. The prayer reads, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom always to tell the difference.” (Vonnegut, 60.) In this prayer, the reflection of his feelings about his life can be seen. Things he cannot change refers to war and how it is impossible to stop any possibility of a war. Things he can change refers to people’s view on war and this novel is his attempt of creating an anti-war belief to instill in those who do care about this major issue. The final words of the prayer, “…wisdom always to tell the difference,” in regards to Billy Pilgrim’s sayings of being “unstuck” in time along with his story of being abducted by Tralfamadorians shows irony. Billy Pilgrim, being a veteran in that particular point in which he is describing these events is showing signs of insanity but yet his views on war are that of a rational person.
Justifying the rationality in war simply does not exist. Vonnegut conveys this when stating, “…there is nothing...