Is Slaughterhouse Five An Antiwar Novel Essay Questions

Antiwar Theme In "Slaughterhouse Five" Essay

The dictionary defines that the word 'war' is a prolonged state of violent, large-scale conflict involving two or more groups of people. Though war is a huge impact to people in many ways. The author of novel "Slaughterhouse-Five" is also written by a person who had miserable experience about the war but also inspired by war. In the novel "Slguterhouse-Five", the author Kurt Vonnegut portrayed his feeling on war. In other words, this entire novel depicts an antiwar theme and demonstrates his own sentiments throughout the novel with the use of irony, satire, and dark humor. Some saying that this categorize as science fiction or autubiographical, but it can also be interpreted as an anti-war piece.

The novel "Slaughterhouse-Five" can be interpreted as an autobiographical novel, therefore, this story relates with author's life and experience. Kurt Vonnegut is an American novelist from Indianapolis, Indiana, born in 1922. A very importantpart of Vonnegut's life was when he served in WWII, and was a prisoner of war in Dresden, Germany. During that time he experienced the firebombing of Dresden, which affected him hugely. This event had around 135,000 causalities, which is about twice the number killed in atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Many people claim that his experience in the army is what made him write "Slaughterhouse-Five." In the novel, Vonnegut created the main character Billy Pilgrim to express his point of view thorough the character. Vonnegut uses Billy to deliver the audience his antiwar views. According to Vonnegut, "I have always rigged my stories to include myself" (American Writers 753).

The novel "Slaughterhouse-Five" can be interpreted as an antiwar book. Also, the novel includes black humor that entertains the audience. Black humor is seen in describing the main character as a "filthy flamingo" or when Billyattempted to publish his encounter with the Tralfamadorians. Both are slightly satirical, and when this style is employed in parts of the book about war, it enforces a sense thatthese ideas are, "nothing tragic, but inexplicable and absurd" (Novels for Students 270). Vonnegut uses this black humor to the satire of self-satisfaction that he felt resultedfrom the war. This dark humor is a way to express his feelings against war. The novel, "about war and the cruelty and violence in war" (Vit), is written in no particular time, which can also serve as a metaphor of antiwar. Vonnegut did not provide the audience particular order of the events. According to Novels for Students, "unstuck in time" (264) is a metaphor for the sense of alienation and dislocation which follows the experience of World War II and also a metaphor for feeling dislocated after war.

The antiwar message also depicted with the ironies. In the novel, a one of prison of war survives the fire bombing, but dies afterward from the dry heaves because he has to bury dead...

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This is a great question to consider. I would argue that this book does succeed as an anti-war book. Let us remember that throughout all of Billy's toing and froing, the main focus of the story is on Billy as he nearly dies of asphyxiation during the firebombing of Dresden, which was one of the most questionable "atrocities" in the war after the Holocaust. The fact that this act was committed by the allies really makes us think about war and its inherent destructiveness. Many times the narrator seems to struggle to state the purpose of his story, for example saying about his short, simple style of writing:

It is so short and jumbled and jangled, Sam, because there is nothing intelligent to say about a massacre. Everybody is supposed to be dead, to never say anything or want anything ever again. Everything is supposed to be very quiet after a massacre, and it always is, except for the birds. And what do the birds say? All there is to say about a massacre, things like “Poo-tee-weet?”

The war-time atrocities that Billy witnessed were so shocking that the author is rendered silent, and all that is left in the aftermath is birdsong. This is perhaps one of the most open anti-war statements in the book.

We also might like to think about the way in which Billy's life post-war is shown to be shallow and destroyed. Let us remember that the apparent success he enjoys after returning from Europe is only as a result of conditions beyond his control and is only superficial. Perhaps the whole reason that he dreams up his alien abduction is because his life remains traumatised through his war time experiences, and he remains a very powerful testimony of a life that is wrecked by war.

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