"Slaughter House Five" By Kurt Vonnegut. Essay

3814 words - 15 pages

The Book starts out with Vonnegut, appearing as a character in the first chapter to tell about the story he is writing and about the events that led to the novel. He informs the reader thatthe story is based mainly on real events, but it also contains fictionalized accounts. He reveals that he has been obsessed for years with writing a book about the bombing of Dresden, but hehas found the task very difficult. Vonnegut enlisted the help of one of his friends, Bernard V. O'Hare, to help him remember the events that occurred in the war, for the two of them fought together. He assures O'Hare's wife, Mary, that his book is not a glamorized version of the war. She tries to persuade him to name the book The Children's Crusade, toshow its non-violent philosophy. In the end, he dedicates the book to Mary O'Hare and Gerhard Miller, a taxi driver who showed him around Dresden when the author and Bernard O'Hare visited itduring peacetime.The first chapter of this book was unlike introductory chapters which I have read in the past. I kind of expected that with my limited knowledge of satires. It starts out with the author telling us about the story he is writing and why he is doing so. He was a soldier in Dresden. I think it is classic how he tries to please his friend's wife concerning the book and reassuring her about making the book nonviolent. The taxi driver made me laugh. How they both kind of had the same views about their own countries. It seems like one of his main concerns is not to look back and see what could have been, but instead to worry about the future.Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time, traveling through time warps with no control over where he is going next. It has not always been that way. As a result, this chapter gives backgroundinformation on Billy's life. Explanations are given about his childhood, his time in the army, and his career as an optometrist. There is also an explanation of his head injury. Billy was in an airplane crash in 1968, wounding is head in the accident. In the same year, his wife died, further complicating his life. After her death, Billy went public on the radio about coming unstuck intime. He also wrote to the newspaper about being kidnapped by aliens. His daughter feels that his head injury has made him senile prematurely; she threatens to place him in an old folks' home. Billy first comes unstuck in time in 1944, during World War II. He is behind enemy lines with three other Americans. As they try to make their way to safety, Billy is too weak to go; however, one of the other Americans, Roland Weary, bullies him along. As hepainfully moves, he begins to time travel to his past and to his future. Billy is moving so slowly that two of the soldiers, the scouts, leave Billy and Roland behind, fearing the approach of the enemy. Ironically, the scouts are killed, while Billy and Rolandsurvive. Still Roland is angry and blames Billy for causing the scouts toleave; therefore, Roland starts hitting him. He then...

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