Slaughter House Five Kurt Vonnegut How Vonnegut uses Hidden Motifs to different effects on the reader

Essay by tunaktunaktuJunior High, 9th gradeA-, November 2009

download word file, 6 pages 3.7

Downloaded 21 times

This passage on p.257-p.267 shows many examples of Kurt Vonnegut's writing style and techniques. However, there are two major techniques Vonnegut uses throughout Slaughterhouse-Five that is exemplified in this passage. In order to understand these techniques one must first know about Billy's situation at the point of the passage. He Goes to war, and shortly afterwards he begins to time travel and is allegedly abducted by aliens and put in their zoo. There are two seemingly parallel stories being told at the same time, one of him on the alien planet Tralfamadore, one of him on Earth travelling through time. In this particular passage, Billy has come back from a bookstore in which he reads a few Kilgore Trout books. One is about a man that travels through time, and one is about some humans that were abducted and put on display in an alien zoo. These themes are strikingly similar to Billy's current situation with Tralfamadore and time travel.

He then time travels to Tralfamadore, where his wife Montana Wildhack awaits. Around her neck is a locket. On the outside is engraved the very same prayer that used to hang in a portrait in Billy's old office (p.267, p.77). Throughout the "Billy on Earth" story, Vonnegut places hidden motifs in the text that are in some way related to the story of Billy in the Tralfamadorian zoo. These techniques that Vonnegut employs have certain effects on the readers. Vonnegut creates a sort of sub-story, underneath the directly told one, and leaves it up to the reader to decipher. This leads the readers to inquire: "Is Billy really crazy? Is Tralfamadore real? The reader also notices that Vonnegut tends to use Kilgore and his books as most of the "inter-story" links. This makes one speculate "How much of Billy's world...