Slaughterhouse 5: Purpose and Effect of the Plot Structure on the Overall Meaning

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 127
  • Published : May 13, 2013
Open Document
Text Preview
What is the purpose and effect of the novel’s plot structure in the overall meaning of the book?

In the novel Slaughterhouse 5 written by Kurt Vonnegut, it can be perceived that the overall plot structure does not follow the expected chronological order of most other novels. Normally, the life of Billy Pilgrim would be represented as a linear story. This means that it would show the order of events as they happened in time. The lack of chronological order in the novel and the abrupt and random changes in time are used by the author to represent how the life of a soldier is affected after the war. Throughout the novel, Vonnegut implements this structure also to define Billy’s personality and characteristics. Vonnegut uses the ideals and beliefs of the Tralfamadorians to influence the structure of the novel. The Tralfamadorians believe that “there is no beginning, no middle, no end, no suspense, no moral, no causes, no effects. What we love in our books are the depths of many marvelous moments seen all at one time”. The author represents this idea in the structure by alternating between stories and times, telling the story as Billy lives it, to show what he thinks of life and death after war. Vonnegut successfully writes the novel in this style to allow the readers to consider these ideals in their own lives. This is portrayed in the novel when Billy says repeatedly “so it goes” when someone dies; meaning that he doesn’t look at death like an end, it just look at it like another part of life. Vonnegut succeeds in showing the readers the elements of the novel all at once using random changes and skipping from one event to another abruptly. The author also gave this particular structure to the plot of the novel because it represented the bombing of Dresden as an event that kept going forever. The fact that the bombing of Dresden didn’t have much historic attention, although it was a real massacre, encouraged Vonnegut to describe it as Billy Pilgrim sees it:...
tracking img