Slaughterhouse Five Analysis Of Symbolism, Imagery, Figurative Language, Tone, And Theme.

1205 words - 5 pages

Slaughterhouse Five SIFTT Sean LawsonPeriod 1Slaughterhouse Five, a novel written by Kurt Vonnegut, contains numerous examples of symbolism, imagery, figurative language, tone, and theme. The story isn't very chronological, every thing happens bunched up together. There are numerous settings in the novel. A large portion of the action of the story occurs in the small town of Ilium, New York, where Billy Pilgrim, the protagonist of the novel, was born. Having grown up in Ilium, he settles there after fighting in World War II. He also becomes an optometrist, marries, and raises two children in Ilium. Germany is another setting in the book, particularly the city of Dresden. During the war, Billy is sent to Dresden to do hard labor. During his stay, the city is bombed and totally destroyed. Billy, some other Americans, and a few German guards hide in the basement of Slaughterhouse Five during the bombing and manage to escape unharmed. Another setting in the book is the planet of Tralfamadore, where Billy is taken by aliens. There he is held captive and displayed in a zoo, along with his earthling mate, Montana Wildhack. Their room in the zoo is loaded with items from earth and has a dome for a roof so that the Trafalmadorians can peep on the earthlings. The settings of the book are hard to keep up with because they are constantly changing due to Billy's mind traveling capabilities. Billy's antagonist is really himself. He is too weak to control his life, instead, he allows fate to rule his existence. Although he has the ability to time travel, he does nothing to control his journeys and lives in constant dread of where he is going to find himself next. He also dwells on the horrors that he experienced in war.Symbolism is hard to find in the novel, but I'm sure it's everywhere. One example of symbolism that I found occurs in Billy. Whenever Billy gets cold, his feet turn blue and ivory. These cold, corpselike colors, to me, suggest the fragility of the thin boundry between life and death. Another interesting thing I noticed as I read the novel is the use of the phrase, "So it goes." This phrase is used over one hundred times throughout the novel. Authors don't usually use a phrase that many times unless it means something. The phrase ,"So it goes," follows every mention of death in the novel, equalizing all of them, whether they are natural, accidental, or intentional, and whether they occur on a massive scale or on a very personal one. The phrase reflects a kind of comfort in the Tralfamadorian idea that although a person may be dead in a particular moment, he or she is alive in all the other moments of his or her life, which exist together and can be visited over and over through time travel. At the same time, though, the repetition of the phrase keeps a tally of deaths throughout the novel, thus pointing out the tragic inevitability of death.Vonnegut's uses many images to enhance the overall effect of Slaughterhouse Five. Throughout the novel, in...

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