Slaughterhouse Five: An Analysis Of The Literature

981 words - 4 pages

This excellent book was written by Kurt Vonnegut, and published in 1969. He experienced very heavy traumas. Many people close to him were hurt by the Depression or killed tragically. Almost all of the disasters in his books reflect his real life occurrences. The only book that "might stand" the test of time is Slaughterhouse Five. He became the spokesperson for a generation; invited to many college campuses to speak in 60's. Appeared in height of Vietnam War, and caught many peoples' attention. He coined "So it goes". Not often one sees a novel radical and best seller, but Slaughterhouse Five is exception. The book that is very "down to earth". Promotes important values in a way that it is easy to understand. By the end of the 70's nobody took him seriously. Now people start again to take him seriously.Dresden, Germany is very important to Vonnegut because he was going towards there as a POW. "You needn't worry about bombs by the way, Dresden is an open city and contains no war industries or troop concentrations of any importance". But it was bombed and it is reported that 135,000 people, mainly civilians, were killed in the firebombing. Compare with Tokyo, 84,000 and 71,000 in Hiroshima. He argues that this dwarves all the other atrocities. Vonnegut was there, and experienced it. Researched it not out of curiosity, but of needing to know what happened that day. (I.e.: Who ordered the raid, why, etc.) Response was that the information was still top secret. The book shows the difficulty of getting the story out and is based in Dresden. Many of the POW's thought of the city Dresden as a great metropolis, seeing a vast skyline, with some even referring to it as "Oz". Vonnegut's book appeared in the late 60's. He said that it took so long for him to write it because he didn't know how to tell the story.What is the right narrative frame to deliver war? Vonnegut has right idea. His story in the book is similar to what was happening in the US during the Vietnam War. Many angry people burned what little was in their communities. The book isn't just an effort to show the past, but also captures the present events in the US. Napalm was being dropped in Vietnam; it had also been dropped in Dresden. Harold Crebs made war "dressed up, inflated, dignified enterprise". Vonnegut wanted to make the truth stand out. Example: Dresden looked like a moon landing after the firebombing. Stones were hot, nothing but minerals. The only reason Vonnegut and some others survived the bombing was because they were locked up in a meat locker underground. What can you say about a massacre? Birds say pout de tweet. That's all. "Massacres are not nice", he tells his children. Calls his former war buddies and tries to get them to talk about Dresden....

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