"Slaughterhouse Five" by Kurt Vonnegut . The effects of war

Essay by Anonymous UserHigh School, 12th gradeA+, January 1996

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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...