Novels are written to give a message to the world; this message can be good or bad, important or superficial, critical or supportive, but every story needs an initial purpose. Slaughterhouse-Five, written by Kurt Vonnegut, was published post World War II and follows the life of Billy Pilgrim who witnesses the fire-bombing of Dresden, Germany during that time. On the surface, the story seems to be just a jumble of confusion and chaos without any significant insight into life, war, or human nature. However, it is by means of the perspectives and details of the novel that Vonnegut brings about his point. Through Slaughterhouse-Five, Vonnegut portrays both mankind's constant struggle to try to control life and also its inability to actually change anything when it comes to the past, present, and future.
On the most basic level, by looking simply at the novel's written structure and obvious conflict, being the war, Vonnegut shows that life cannot be hindered or changed because a person desires it. One way he does this is by skipping around in Billy Pilgrim's life at random intervals going anywhere from his childhood to his death. In one part of the story, Billy is a boy caving with his parents and experiencing complete darkness one second and then the next "[he] went from total darkness to total light, found himself back in the war, back in the delousing station again" (86). Though there are a many leaps like this throughout the story, this particular example is significant in how it shows an innocent child becoming a man in the most horrific war of all time in instant sequential order. Seeing it this way, one can acknowledge that nothing was going to or ever would stop Billy from ending up in Dresden, in the war. The random jumps in time in the novel magnify how life itself is random. Through having WWII be the reoccurring backdrop of the novel, Vonnegut also shows that the quest for power and control of one's life is both hopeless and pointless. When...
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