Traumatic Brain Injury and Memory Disorder in Slaughterhouse Five Outline

Traumatic Brain Injury and Memory Disorder in Slaughterhouse Five


Introduction 7

Effects of emotional trauma on thoughts

  1. Thoughts and memories develop connections related to reality

  2. Billy is wrought with emotional trauma and tragedy

Emotional trauma and response to external stimuli 8

  1. Extreme emotional trauma results to memory disorder

  2. Memory disorder in Billy

Traumatic brain injury 8

  1. Causes of traumatic brain injury

-Exposure to explosive shock energy

-Prolonged physical, psychological and emotional trauma

-extreme hopelessness and fear

Dresden bombing experience 9

  1. Prolonged exposure to blasts, complete damage of city and life

Psychiatrist view point 9

  1. Post traumatic disorder in Billy’s case

  2. DSM diagnostic technique for PTSD

Significant of psychological view to Billy and real life

Conclusion 10

Works Cited 11

Annotated bibliography

&quotSlaughterhouse Five: Billy Pilgrim and Post-Traumatic StressDisorder (PTSD).&quot& 04 May 2015.&nbsp&lt

The article explores post-traumatic disorder as it is depicted inslaughterhouse five through the traumatizing life of Billy. Thepsychological disorder is an advanced stage o other psychologicaldisorders associated with partially functional or functionless copingabilities of an individual. The article reveals that Billy becameunstuck in time because of the events that he witnessed during WWII.Billy underwent a mental degradation following the horrors andconfusion during the time of war to a point of having delusions. Thearticle is useful to this research because of its in-depth analysisof the psychological status of Billy as it is portrayed in the novel.It provides insights into subsequent and serious stages of mentaldegradation and trauma in individuals.

Dave, Grossman and Bruce K. Siddle. &quotPsychological Effects ofCombat&quot. Academic Press. 2000. Print.

The article looks at the psychological concerns of combat, especiallythe processes and the negative impacts that are involved. Thepsychological traumas are experienced by individuals even long afterthe war has ended as permanent scars are left in the minds ofsoldiers or survivors. Further, the article addresses the widespectrum of combat’s psychological effects. Further, the articlerecognizes that there are positive aspects to combat, which impactthe psychological wellbeing of individuals. Most importantly, thearticle holds the position that psychological effects of any combatsituation are felt at individual levels and they play a central rolein causing traumatic brain injury in extreme cases of exposure. Theissues result for the impact of physiological arousal, physicaldeprivation horror and fear in combat. The article is important tothis research paper because it provides an examination of the broadspectrum of psychological effects of combat.

DDL. Defining Reality in Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.`s &quotSlaughterhouseFive&quot. 2009. Print.

The article presents a radical and spectacular way of viewing theinner working of the mind, as well as how individuals process andinterpret the concept of reality. Vonnegut uses Bill Pilgrim to tellis story as Bill is confronted with the task of deconstructing hislifetime events. Bill survived the Dresden bombing coupled with othersignificant hardships as prisoner of war in his entire life mayappear to have lost his memory or mind. However, Vonnegut crafts astory for Bill that not only portrays the significant of anindividual’s ability to define reality, but also the effect oftrauma on influencing and changing a person’s outlook on memory andtime. The article is important to the research as it gives lots ofinformation concerning the effects of trauma on individual’smemory.

Vees-Gulani, Susanne. Diagnosing Billy Pigrim: A psychiatric Approachto Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five.

The article provides a critical analysis of the main character in thenovel, Billy, from a psychiatric point of view. Vonnegut sufferedfrom trauma following the destructive bombing of Dresden, and thearticle employs a systematic manner of study into the trauma. Thepsychiatric theories that are explored by the author provides vitalinsights into the studying the novel and the characters, as well asopening a window of opportunity into understanding the author of thenovel. To a larger part, the article examines the trauma and theeffects that lengthy exposure to unpleasant events can have on thebrain and memory of an individual. This article is important to theresearch paper because it shades more light on the psychologicalcontext of slaughterhouse five novel, especially events that led theprotagonist to experiencing brain injury and memory disorder.

Vonnegut, Kurt Jr.&nbsp Slaughterhouse Five.&nbsp New York:&nbspDell Publishing Co., Inc.&nbsp 1984. Print.

The novel is the center of focus for the research paper as the paperseeks to uncover the traumatic events that Billy encountered as aprisoner of war. The novel gives a detailed account of the author’sexperiences during the WWII, which are represented by the mainprotagonist in the novel. The novel presents the reader with handsnarration of the horrors that followed the firebombing of Dresden.The author, who is represented by the main protagonist was exposed totraumatic events during and after the bombing, which resulted to hissuffering from traumatic brain injury and memory disorder. As ithappened, Billy lost his memory and he could not manage the simplesttasks. The same ailments are encountered in soldiers today, soldierswho either served in Iraq of Afghanistan. There is no telling of theseriousness of the psychological effects war or traumaticexperiences, which are long lasting. The novel is important to thisresearch because the research is entirely related to events that arechronologically covered in the novel. In fact, the novel is theprimary source of information for this paper.

Wood, David. Iraq, Afghanistan War Veterans Struggle With CombatTrauma. Web. Retrieved 5/4/2015 from

The article explores the current state of affairs with regard totraumatic brain injury and post-traumatic disorder in soldiers today.The article establishes that soldiers who served in Afghanistan andIraq struggle with emotional, physical and psychological issues,which have resulted to many of them committing suicide. Unlike otherinjuries with visible wounds, traumatic brain injury does not haveany obvious sign or symptom or any standard techniques for diagnosingthe problem. For that reason, the article establishes that manysoldiers fail to get the required treatment and help with regard totheir psychological problems. The psychologically devastatingsituations in the war front are unimaginable and not many people willever know how intense the situation can become. The article isrelevant to the research as it brings this paper up to speed with thecurrent realities of traumatic brain injury and memory disorder, withcurrent war veterans.

Traumatic Brain Injury and Memory Disorder in Slaughterhouse Five

Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five novel is probably the mostinteresting novel to read, especially because it brings to light thedevastating psychological trauma that people experience during war.Extreme traumatic experiences have been known to result to longlasting if not permanent psychological in individuals who eitherencountered the events or wee victims in search unpleasantoccurrences. Billy happened to be a victim of the Dresden firebombingthat devastated the entire city with lots of casualties. Thecharacter was involved in the aftermath of cleaning the debris andcremating human remains that resulted from the air strike. The eventsof the bombing added to the already existing trauma of the characterwho had remained a prisoner of war for a long time. Even the strongspirited soldiers break at some point at the weight of psychologicaltrauma associated with extreme unpleasant experiences. The briefwrite up seeks to explore the psychological context ofslaughterhouse-five novel with specific interest to the traumaticbrain injury and memory disorder. Although slaughterhouse-five isa novel that can be examined from different contexts, thepsychological context offers the best explanation of the long lastingeffects of traumatic war experiences particularly the permanenttraumatic brain injury and memory disorders from Dresden firebombing.

The novel, through the story of Billy, establishes that emotionaltrauma has the ability to generate particular thoughts and memories.The thoughts and memories develop associations that connect traumaticideas to the reality of an individual (&quotSlaughterhouse Five”5). The story of Billy is wrought with emotional trauma and tragedythat he, however, managed to dismiss in an attempt to move on withhis life. The traumatic life begun when Billy lost his parents,followed by his wife and the massive casualties that resulted fromthe bombing of Dresden. Having witnessed the unpleasant experiences,as it seems apparent, affected the thought process of Billy(Vees-Gulani 23). The character seemed to suffer from memory disorderas he started thinking that has was unstuck in time.

Emotional trauma does possess the capacity to jilt an individual,rattling the emotional foundations of the person. Such rattlinggenerates an extremely lucid responses to the external stimulialtering the several moods in an individual (Dave and Bruce 68). Suchaltered moods can negatively impact memory and most cases result tomemory disorders. Memory disorders occur when an individual,following a series of traumatic events, forgets even the basic thingslike their names or home’s address. In extreme cases of emotionaltrauma, one might literally forget everything thus requiring seriousretraining intervention to at least restore their memory regardingbasic self-care activities (&quotSlaughterhouse Five” 9). The sameforgetting was observed in Billy, who doctors believed wouldeventually die.

A slight change of focus from memory disorders brings the focus ofthis paper to traumatic brain injury. Similar to the former, thelatter is a consequence of direct exposure from exploding shells, aswell as the aftermath of the destruction that is witnessed bysurvivors. Most soldiers who fought in Iraq, especially in dealingwith IEDs, suffer from traumatic brain injury. For the few who weresuccessfully diagnosed and given timely intervention, the effects oftraumatic brain injury were minimized or eliminated entirely (Dave123). However, war veterans who did not receive appropriate medicalattention for traumatic brain injury ended up committing suicide(Wood 14). Similarly, Billy was exposed to exploding firebombs andthe unmentionable number of civilian casualties. The events wereemotional and physically draining. Further, studies on peoplesuffering from traumatic brain injury proved a decrease in theprevious ability of an individual to interpret emotional stimuli(perceived). The problem arises from the trauma related alteration ofthe brain areas that trigger emotions. In some cases, especiallyprolonged extreme exposure to exploding bombs and unpleasantsituations, the brain cells are entirely damaged beyond repair.

During the firebombing of Dresden, thousands of bombs were droppedcontinuously creating enormous explosions and blasts (Vonnegut 68).The shell shock of such explosions might also result to the formationof gas bubbles in the brain cavity of victims. The pressure fromexploding bombs can result to pronounced changes in the behavior andpsychological status of people who are exposed to the danger(Vonnegut 34).

From a psychiatric point of view, Billy could be described assuffering from post-traumatic disorder following his war experiences,as well as his experiences as prisoner of war. In this light, Billywas experiencing mental images and haunting memories of his past(Dave 67). As it turned out, the character would remember every awfuldetail of the war, the burning city and casualties that resulted fromthe destroyed city. The psychiatric perspective stems from the factthat post-traumatic stress disorder is easy to diagnose using the DSMtechnique (Vonnegut 34). Further, the repeated memories and hauntingthoughts can closely be related to post-traumatic disorders symptoms.In fact, Billy lived in a perfectly degrading conditions both as aprisoner and a witness to massive massacre of an entire population ofa city.

By utilizing the psychological context, it becomes possible foraudience to get a glimpse of the atrocities that are done duringwars. Considering the emotional breakdown, psychological torture andlong lasting problems as memory disorders and traumatic brain injury(DDL 6). It is apparent that, individuals live troubled lives,especially considering that not everyone manages to dismiss theunpleasant memories as Billy did (Vees-Gulani 17). Different fromBilly, A fictional character, human beings live with painful memoriesthat hinder their ability to live happy lives.

In conclusion, although slaughterhouse-five is a novel that can beexamined from different contexts, the psychological context offersthe best explanation of the long lasting effects of traumatic warexperiences particularly the permanent traumatic brain injury andmemory disorders from Dresden firebombing. Billy’s life was wroughtwith traumatizing and unpleasant encounters, which were effecting hisability to effectively control his emotions or thought process.Unlike other psychological disorder, memory disorders, andparticularly traumatic disorders are not easy to diagnose and detectthus making it hard to offer a timely intervention. Lots of soldiers,especially those who encounter exploding devices are more susceptibleto suffering from traumatic brain damage, as Billy did in the novelslaughterhouse-five. Considering the psychological cost of war, whichis experienced at individual level, governments and nations wouldconsider doing something better rather going to war and using highpower explosives.

Works Cited

&quotSlaughterhouse Five: Billy Pilgrim and Post-Traumatic StressDisorder (PTSD).&quot& 04 May 2015.&nbsp&lt

Dave, Grossman and Bruce K. Siddle. &quotPsychological Effects ofCombat&quot. Academic Press. 2000. Print.

DDL. Defining Reality in Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.`s &quotSlaughterhouseFive&quot. 2009. Print.

Vees-Gulani, Susanne. Diagnosing Billy Pigrim: A psychiatric Approachto Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five. Print.

Vonnegut, Kurt Jr.&nbsp Slaughterhouse Five.&nbsp New York:&nbspDell Publishing Co., Inc.&nbsp 1984. Print.

Wood, David. Iraq, Afghanistan War Veterans Struggle With CombatTrauma. Web. Retrieved 5/4/2015 from