Analysisof Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
In this novel, thewriter- Kurt Vonnegut delivers his experiences that he collected fromthe fire-bombing of Dresden, Eastern Germany, in the World War 2 whenhe was a prisoner of war. The novel depicts a true story line,especially the war sections of the book.
Chapter one of thebooks is generally autobiographical rather than being a part of thenovel, as it is normally done. It is similar to the preface part of abook. Vonnegut introduces us to the rest of the book in thatcontextual manner, and this makes a reader want to conclude that hewrote the Chapter one after writing the rest of the novel. He lets usget the idea plan of the book, prior to laying down the story. Hischoice for making this a contextual content part rather than anintroductory part reflects how deep his life is connected to thestory that the novel relates. Vonnegut gives a clear description ofthe process of writing the book and the events connected to itsconception. He made himself the leading character in his own novel.In this Chapter one, Vonnegut introduces the words “So it goes”,after Gerhard Muller the taxi driver’s mother was incinerated inthe Dresden attack. The words are used in subsequent chapters of thenovel after the death report of someone. His conception of the storyis outlined on a wallpaper roll, thereby bringing the reader’s mindto intricacies and story fabric of the novel. The horrors of hisexperiences are conveyed in a writing fashion that reflects back theconfusion and fatality of his feelings about the tragic war. Theseveral passages in Chapter one reveals the essence and importance oftime in the book. A lumberjack song has its first line similar to itslast line, creates an endless loop in, as a notable sample of thecircularity of time. More so, as Vonnegut’s waits in a Boston hotelroom to leave for Dresden, and ironically time refuses to pass on, itseems to him that time is dragging slowly. The Chapter one is briefyet also deep just like the rest of the stories. The following directquote illustrates the complexity of war as told in the Chapter:
It is so short and jumbled andjangled, Sam, because there is nothing intelligent to say about amassacre. Everybody is supposed to be dead, to never say anything orwant anything ever again. Everything is supposed to be very quietafter a massacre, and it always is, except for the birds. And what dothe birds say? All there is to say about a massacre, things like“Poo-tee-weet?”
In the Chapter two,we are introduced to Billy. He was the only survived optometrist in aplane crash in Vermont, but his wife died while Billy was recovering.The Chapter questions the possibility of human dignity in a centurymarked by unprecedented holocausts and technological developments inmass murder of civilians as well as fighters. The initial experienceof Billy in the war reveals a man that was deprived off the dignitythat he deserved. He did not have the proper military attire and thehonest comrades who would sacrifice their lives for him. Billy putson a worn out combat uniform and quickly fell into a friendship withRoland Weary, who saved Billy only to feed his delusional fantasiesof attaining recognition and heroism. His dad also died in a huntingaccident before Bill had to travel for a combat mission.
An overarching irony in Slaughterhouse-Five isthat death does not discriminate.