Use of Literary Devices in Kurt Vonnegut's, Slaughterhouse-Five

Pages: 4 (1418 words) Published: October 2, 2012
Throughout Slaughterhouse-Five, Vonnegut chooses to use special literary techniques that better explain his own encounters in war as well as help his readers bare the horridness of war. Vonnegut adds black humor in his text to benefit readers as well as “an author-as-character” perspective to set barriers and help protect his own memories in the war. Without adding these two specific devices, Vonnegut could possibly have lost reader’s interests in the book or lost his own interest in writing the book.

Vonnegut includes himself in scenes within Slaughterhouse-Five to portray an “author-as-character” unique style. It is in the tenth chapter when Vonnegut switches points of view to reveal himself as one of the soldiers alongside Billy. “Now Billy and the rest were being marched into the rums by their guards I was there O'Hare was there. We had spent the past two nights in the blind innkeeper's stable. Authorities had found us there. They told us what to do.” (Pg. 271) Vonnegut previously wrote in first person when adding himself as a character in the text, but it isn’t till now (the end of the book) he is relating his own experiences with Billy’s experiences. As we know, Vonnegut (just like Billy’s character), was taken prisoner during the Battle of the Bulge, sent to the city of Dresden, stayed in “Slaughterhouse- Five”, worked in a factory that produced nourishing syrup, survived the bombing of Dresden by burrowing in the meat locker, burned the bodies of thousands killed, and watched a friend shot dead for taking a teapot from the rummage of what was left of Dresden. This is the point in Slaughterhouse-Five that readers see the story is not just Billy Pilgrim’s experiences at war but also Vonnegut’s.

What also leads readers to believe that Billy Pilgrim is the disguised bias of Vonnegut was hidden within chapter eight. Thus far- throughout the entirety of the book-Vonnegut wrote Billy’s character to flashback moments in his life: to...
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