The Destructiveness of War in Slaughterhouse-Five

Topics: Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut, Bombing of Dresden in World War II Pages: 4 (1383 words) Published: December 21, 2008
“There is nothing intelligent to say about a massacre” (Vonnegut, 19). Kurt Vonnegut experienced first hand the Dresden Fire Bombing of World War II. The Dresden Fire Bombing was a massacre that was designed by the allies to kill as many German civilians as possible. Because of Vonnegut’s war torn mind, it took him nearly 25 years to write Slaughterhouse-Five, a fictionalized account of the fire bombing of Dresden and about the destructiveness of war. Slaughterhouse-Five has been widely criticized and condemned, and according to June Edwards, “The book is an indictment of war, criticizes government action, is anti-American, and is unpatriotic.”(Schmidt, 121). These charges and accusations just help support Vonnegut’s idea that different political ideologies help fuel war and its horrors. In Slaughterhouse-Five the main character, Billy Pilgrim, becomes unstuck in time, moving in and out of World War II and other events in his life that relate to how war has made him insane. Kurt Vonnegut shows the destructiveness of war in Slaughterhouse-Five through the characters, the setting, and through his own personal experiences. Vonnegut uses the characters in Slaughterhouse-Five to show the destructiveness of war and the psychological affects it has on people. This is mostly seen in the novel’s main character Billy Pilgrim. Billy is a good character for an anti war book because before he is even in the war he is already very weak, which can be seen by his father throwing him in to the water when he is young to teach him how to swim, but Billy prefers sinking to swimming. Billy is then pushed into war with very little preparation, with no weapons, and wearing only a toga with a small coat. The irony of this is how he survives while thousands of other more well equipped soldiers die (SparkNotes). And from his state of shock and exhaustion, Billy becomes unstuck in time traveling through all the events in his life. It is in this time traveling that one sees...
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