Slaughterhouse Five

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Topic 2: Slaughterhouse Five

In Slaughterhouse Five, Vonnegut shows a lot of hopelessness in showing continuous death and war. He breaks the notion that there are “good guys” and “bad guys” in war by showing that all humans have a capacity for evil. In addition, he gives us the notion that people are capable of doing incredibly evil deeds. We can see this in Lazarro when he tells a story to Billy about a time when a dog bites him. Lazarro acting in revenge sticks razor blades into a steak and feeds it to the dog, then looks on with vicious joy as the dog goes into pain, bleeding internally. Vonnegut used this character to express how wicked people can be when Lazarro says, “‘anybody asks you what the sweetest thing in life is…it’s revenge’” (177). Despite this inevitable truth of humans having an inner capacity for doing evil in this world, Vonnegut also sheds light upon humanity’s capability of good. Such as in the scene in when Billy along with ninety-nine other POWs and four German guards survive by hiding in an underground meat cellar. A blind innkeeper, who was fortunate not to have his hotel destroyed by the bombing, welcomes all the men to stay in his stable overnight, “‘Good night, Americans,’ he said in German. ‘Sleep Well.’” (232). This shows that Vonnegut projects a message that there should be a conviction of that people must treat each other well, if humankind is ever going to overcome such hard times. Hence, in this implication we know that he didn’t want to emphasize to his readers that the human race is a lost cause. That there is good in this world but it all depends on the human condition. This is in relation to the coherent biblical references Vonnegut embeds in this story where we see that Adam and Eve revolve around this idea of the human condition. This condition is of good and evil, depending on what the heart is rooted upon.

In this story Vonnegut embeds hope into his message which is having free will. The Trafmadorians talk about...
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