Slaughterhouse Five

Topics: Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut, Kilgore Trout Pages: 3 (1056 words) Published: November 23, 2009
To most people today, aliens are seen as creatures made up in a short story of a Goosebumps novel in order to scare young children. To others, aliens are real and out there, living far off on another planet. What if they were real? What if there were aliens out there who knew more about earth then those who live on it? What if there were aliens out there who knew what the future would hold? In Kurt Vonnegut's novel, "Slaughterhouse Five", there are aliens, better known as tralfamadorians, that do exist and serve many purposes. Through the characterization of the tralfamadorians, Vonnegut expresses his own views and opinions on time, fate and free will, and memory. He does so by direct use of these aliens, them being his voice in the novel. Their ideas of time, fate and free will are stemmed from inside Vonnegut and his ideas on those parts of life. Through the tralfamadorians ideas of time, the readers see that Vonnegut himself believes that the human interpretation of time is constricted to just a sliver, a single moment. Vonnegut also uses the tralfamadorians to show that his beliefs in fate are stronger then his beliefs in free will.

First, through Vonneguts use of the tralfamadorian's perception of time, it is shown that the author believes that humans, or "earthlings", are restricted in regards to time. They are only being able to see a single moment, and once that moment passes it is forever gone. Tralfamadorians, unlike humans, are able to see time as a whole. They can see the past, present and future all at once, whereas humans can only see the now, a single moment. Vonnegut clearly demonstrates his view on time through the tralfamadorian tour guide's metaphor of a human being having "his head encased in a steel sphere which he could never take off. There was only one eyehole through which he could look, and welded to that eyehole were six feet of pipe" (115). The author's use of this metaphor paints a clear picture to the reader's of how time is...
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