The Slaughterhouse V as Antiwar Rhetoric

Topics: Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut, Bombing of Dresden in World War II Pages: 3 (1049 words) Published: January 15, 2013
Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five as an Antiwar Rhetoric

An American writer, Kurt Vonnegut was inspired by war to write Slaughterhouse-Five, which reffers to a science fiction or semi – autobiographical novel. Above all, I believe, this book should be seen as an antiwar novel. Vonnegut transmits his anti-war feelings to the readers through the novel's main character, Billy Pilgrim, the liteary techniques of the novel, namely black humour, irony and Tralfamadorians.

The very beginning of the novel tells the readers that the novel is an anti-war rhetoric. Kurt Vonnegut as the minor character writes in his own voice and agrees that his novel would be an anti-war book in a conversation with Harrison Starr. In spite of the fact that such a book would be an anti-glacier book because a war just as a glacier cannot be stopped,what is suggested by Star, Vonnegut persues his idea. Kurt Vonnegut was a prisoner of war and experienced the firebombing of Dresden in Germany and the main character of Slaughterhouse V, Billy Pilgrim, shares the experiences with the author. I can truly say that by means of Billy's point of view of the war, Kurt Vonnegut wanted to show his own perception of the war.

In the first chapter, while giving his book about Dresden to Sam, Vonegut says: "It is so short and jumbled and jangled, Sam, because there is nothing intelligent to say about a massacre." And he adds that everyone is supposed to be dead and everything is supposed to to be quite after a masacra, except for the birds which say: "Poo-tee-weet" (Vonnegut 14). This statement clearly shows Vonnegut's feeling against war and the nonsense of it. The birds' "Poo-tee-weet," which actually means nothing, may also present the absurdity of war which is illogical like the birds words. The clearest message and Vonnegut's attitude towards war might be summed up in the incoherent words of birds.

An important element suggesting Vonnegut's negative attitude towards war might be Billy's...
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