To me, Slaughterhouse Five is a novel written to show the horror of war. This is shown by
the means of the protagonist- Billy Pilgrim. , 'Billys phsychic journeys symbolize the wounded
soul in need of relief from the horrors of modern life' (Harris, last 2 lines). I happen to disagree
with one part of this statement. I think that Billys journeys symbolize the wounded soul
in need of relief from the horrors of war.
I disagree with Mrs. Harris, because when I read the story, when I saw how miserable Billy
was with his life (wife, job, etc.) it still didnt make me feel that this was the reason for Billys
phsychic journeys. As I read on, I became positive that the reason for Billys journeys was
definitly the Dresden bombing as it was quoted: 'Billys response to the holocaust (Dresden) is to
escape into an imaginary kidnaping at the hands of the Tralfamadorians......This existential
determinnism enables Billy to endure the trauma of Dresden and to live with the threat of
apocalypse; it also makes him an ethical basket case...' (Magill, 2729)
The Tralfamadorian episodes that Billy goes through are, in my opinion ways that the
author conveys his anti-war message. Vonnegut uses the Tralfamadorians to show how war is
useless, and he uses them to insinuate that war is part of the human nature. This point is proven
by one of the Tralfamadorians directly saying that humans will turn to war for the slightest things,
and they are a warlike people.
Again, we can use the Tralfamadorian escapes as a way to convey the message of the
author-- we see, from the bombing of Dresden, that in the eyes of the author (whose feelings are
channeled through Billy) war is pointless. Billy thinks to himself Why...