Billy Pilgrim: Sane or Insane?

Topics: Slaughterhouse-Five, Kilgore Trout, Kurt Vonnegut Pages: 3 (1142 words) Published: April 2, 2013
SlaughterHouse-Five is a book about a man named Billy Pilgrim who is stuck in time, and constantly travels throughout different events in his life. Billy accepts different values and sees traumatic and morbid events differently than others. Billy accepts a way of life that is not perceivable to other humans. Many would argue that Billy’s experiences make him insane, but Billy’s experiences with the Tralfamadorians actually allows him to preserve his sanity, and stay a very intelligent man.

Many argue that Billy is completely insane. Their position may include the fact that Billy never mentioned the planet Tralfamadore before he got into the plane crash. This is a great point because an event such a plane crash could very well leave Billy mentally unstable, and this is hard to argue against. One could argue that when Billy got in the plane crash in the beginning of the book, that he was just experiencing a memory, and acted as he should. It can get very confusing thinking about Billy, and the Tralfamadorians way of viewing time.

Throughout the book, Billy witnesses traumatic events that would scar a normal man. For example, when Billy is in a plane crash in the beginning of the book. “The plane crashed on top of Sugarbush mountain in Vermont. Everyone was killed but Billy. So It goes”(Vonnegut, 31). Billy underwent an event that would traumatize most men. Normally, when a man has witnessed a traumatic event, and sees a group of his close friends die, he would be permanently different. Billy has learned from the Tralfamadorians that these things just happen, and there is nothing that he, or anyone else can do to stop it. The Tralfamadorians say that you should focus on the good memories in life, and not the bad.

Another example of Billy experiencing an inconceivable event would be while Billy is in the hospital. “While Billy was recuperating in the hospital in Vermont, his wife died accidentally of carbon monoxide poisoning. So it goes” (Vonnegut, 31)....
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