Honors English III pd 5/6
Independent Novel Essay - "Slaughterhouse-Five" by Kurt Vonnegut
The science fiction novel, "Slaughterhouse-Five" was published in 1969 by a brilliant man named Kurt Vonnegut. This book was known as his masterpiece, it depicted the horrific cruelties of war and was inspired by his own experiences in WWII. Vonnegut wrote several other novels, short stories, and plays, and it seemed that in most, if not all, of these writings that he created his own, unique world that included unusual characters, such as the alien race, known as the Tralfamadorians in "Slaughterhouse-Five." In this book, Vonngut had many different thems, including The Destructiveness of War, The Illusion of Free Will, The Importance of Sight, Time and Memory, Acceptance, and many more that aren't just towards the story, but could also be used and thought about in others lives as well.
To start off, there are many similarities between "Slaughterhouse-Five" and Kurt Vonnegut's life in actuality. Kurt Vonnegut was born on November 11, 1922, in Indianapolis, Indiana. He studied at Cornell University and then was enlisted in the U.S. Army and fought in WWII. While serving in Europe, after minimal training, Vonnegut fought in the Battle of the Bulge. He was captured by the Germans during this battle and became a Prisoner of War (POW). Lastly, he witnessed the firebombings and the complete devastation that occurred in Dresden, Germany. The main character in Slaughterhouse-Five, Billy Pilgrim, has all of these things in common with the author of the book, Kurt Vonnegut, except for the fact that he wasn't born in Indianapolis, Indiana, even though he was born in the same year. There was a character in the story named Vonnegut that fought alongside Billy in the war, but the story wasn't actually about his life, it was about Billy's in general. Including real life experiences in Vonneguts' books seem to fit his style perfectly, seeing as he has a ton in this novel.
"So it goes." A line that gets heard very often in "Slaughterhouse-Five," seems to be repeated after something really bad occurs or if someone dies. I feel as if acceptance is one of the ways that Vonnegut goes about things in his life. He just accepts the fact that you cannot go back and change the past. This is a way that he goes about situations, by learning and experiencing that bad things actually happen to the best of people, and this helps him to accept what has happened, deal with death, appreciate his life, and to be able to move on quicker than most people. This is a great characteristic because it allows you to move on in life and be more productive, rather than dwelling on events that occured in the past.
Next, the symbol of the bird in the story could also go hand-in-hand with Vonnegut's life. The bird occurs many times in the story and every single one of these moments repeats the same line, which is "Poo-tee-weet." This line only seems to be said and/or repeated after the tragities of war, the firebombings, and just the complete devastation of Dresden are brought up. I feel as if this birds line represents the fact that no one really has a response or anything good to say about any of these awful events that occurred in the past. The bird basically just fills in the silence at the moment by speaking this gibberish, revealing his lack of intelligence. In real life, when people would start talking about war or anything else that includes so much violence, maybe Vonnegut feels as if there is an awkward silence afterwards because of the simple fact that no one really knows how to respond to it, they are just shocked and devastated in general.
"So, I suppose that the idea of preventing war on Earth is stupid, too." This is a line that Billy Pilgrim says to the Tralfamadorians on the planet of Tralfamadore. This basically states exactly how he feels about war in general. The author, Kurt Vonnegut, and the main character, Billy Pilgrim, share a similar take on the war, in which they feel like war is an awful thing and that every human-being should do as much as possible in order to prevent war. Obviously, Vonnegut was in WWII and witnessed a lot of horrific events himself that people who are not in war or involved in war would never be able to see. This is a huge influence on how Vonnegut feels about war, and he wouldn't want anyone else to have to go through the devestation that he had to go through once in his life.
Lastly, when Valencia questioned her husband, Billy Pilgrim, "Do you ever think about the war?" Billy had one, simple response, "Sometimes." In my opinion, this basically states that Billy hated basically everything about the war and never wants to think about and/or relieve those times, unless he absolutely has to. Vonnegut, the author, definitely has similar thoughts, seeing as he was a Prisoner of War and served for the U.S. Army. If you are never actually in a war or a part of it, you wouldn't see or witness the things that Vonnegut has, which would definitely be a major reason why he hates the idea of war. A lot of people are disgusted with war that were never even a part of it and just see what occurs on television or they read about it in newspapers.
All in all, Kurt Vonnegut is a brilliant author who includes many themes in his books that could be used in everyones daily lives. One of his greatest achievements/novels, "Slaughterhouse-Five," includes many similarites that can relate to Kurt Vonneguts actual life in reality. There are many similarities between authors and what information they actually include in there books, most of the time, you just have to dig deep to find them. Kurt Vonnegut had a very interesting life, that could be viewed as tough from some peoples eyes, but "Slaughterhouse-Five" and himself, will always be remembered.