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Billy Pilgrim As A Christ Figure In Kurt Vonnegut Jr.'s Slaughterhouse Five

3072 words - 12 pages

Billy Pilgrim as a Christ Figure in Kurt Vonnegut Jr.'s Slaughterhouse Five


After reading the novel, Slaughterhouse Five, written by Kurt Vonnegut Jr., I found my self in a sense of blankness. The question I had to ask myself was, "Poo-tee-weet?"(Vonnegut p. 215). Yet, the answer to my question, according to Vonnegut was, "So it goes"(Vonnegut p.214). This in fact would be the root of my problems in trying to grasp the character of Billy Pilgrim and the life, in which he leads throughout the novel. The pilgrimage that Billy ventures upon is one of mass confusion, running with insanity, finally followed by sanctuary, if layed out in a proper time order sequence. Billy is a victim, prophet, survivor, as well as a firm example of innocence and inspiration. The answer man in a society searching for answers. He is the new prophet. Yet, can Billy pilgrim be compared to the, "Savior", Himself? Is Billy molded after Christ? Aren't we all prophets, if we are children of God? Is Billy a living testament of a new religion? These are the questions that need to be examined in order to fully understand the essence behind the character of Billy Pilgrim.

The first area that should be examined is the aspect of the pursuit of the acquired knowledge of being. Billy, who believes in the concept of destiny, without the use of free will, received this lesson from the aliens on Tralfamadorian. Meanwhile, Jesus Christ gained his views supposedly from the creator Himself, by being the Son of the God. Yet, the creator who controls all of life and knows all is extremely comparable to the citizens of Tralfamadorian. These four dimensional beings can see time from beginning to end in any particular order and play a godlike role in existing by seeing this time line of life. "Imagine that they were looking across a desert at a mountain range on a day that was twinkling bright and clear"(Vonnegut p.115). They like God take no part in the changing or altering of the past, present or future. "The moment is structured that way"(Vonnegut p.117). God does not interfere, due to the concept of free will for beings. While the Tralfamadorians take no part because of their believe in no free will. "Only on Earth is there any talk of free will"(Vonnegut p.86). The existence of free will is the major difference between the two sources of knowledge. God uses free will to allow actions to take place in order to remain the father figure or overseer of life, in which Jesus Christ preached to the masses. The Tralfamadorians seeing in the fourth dimension exclude the existence of free will because of their ability to see the time line of existence at any moment. Thus believing the pre-determined destiny of all creatures. This believe does not allow them to take any action in the change of the universe because they do not have the free will to do so, therefore time goes without altercation. This believe is supported when the Tralfamadorians state that they know how the universe ends...

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