Kurt Vonnegut was one of the most prominent writers of the early twentieth century. He based a majority of his writings on World War II, which he took part in. In his book “Slaughter House 5”, Vonnegut effectively uses his techniques of characterization, symbolism, and theme to establish the major themes of the novel.
Vonnegut constantly uses characterization throughout his novel. Vonnegut described one of his characters Billy Pilgrim as “...like a rock” (Vonnegut 8). He says this to show how Billy is a hardened veteran. Throughout his life, Billy runs up against forces that go against his free will. When Billy was a kid, his father let him sink into the deep end of a pool in order to teach him how to swim. Much to his father’s dismay, however, Billy prefers the bottom of the pool, but, against his free will to stay there, he is rescued Later, Billy is drafted into the war against his will. Even as a soldier, Billy is a joke, lacking training, supplies, and proper clothing. He bobs along like a puppet in Luxembourg, his civilian shoes flapping on his feet, and marches through the streets of Dresden draped in the remains of the scenery from a production of Cinderella. he phrase “So it goes” follows every mention of death in the novel, equalizing all of them, whether they are natural, accidental, or intentional, and whether they occur on a massive scale or on a very personal one. The phrase stands for a kind of comfort in the Tralfamadorian idea that although a person may be dead in a particular moment, he or she is alive in all the other moments of his or her life, which coexist and can be visited over and over through time travel. At the same time, though, the repetition of the phrase keeps a tally of the cumulative force of death throughout the novel, thus pointing out the tragic inevitability of death. “Billy is the man of this town” said by his barbara on pg 18 be captured at war would be horrible you do not know if you would survive or not. “He is a...
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