Slaughterhouse Five: The Novel And The Movie

4341 words - 17 pages

Slaughterhouse-Five: The Novel and the Movie

In 1972 director George Roy Hill released his screen
adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five (or The
Children's Crusade; A Duty Dance With Death). The film made
over 4 million dollars and was touted as an "artistic
success" by Vonnegut (Film Comment, 41). In fact, in an
interview with Film Comment in 1985, Vonnegut called the
film a "flawless translation" of his novel, which can be
considered an honest assessment in light of his reviews of
other adaptations of his works: Happy Birthday, Wanda June
(1971) "turned out so abominably" that he asked to have his
name removed from it; and he found Slapstick of Another Kind
(1984) to be "perfectly horrible" (41,44). (This article was
writen prior to Showtime's Harrison Bergeron, and Fine
Line's Mother Night). A number of other Vonnegut novels have
been optioned, but the film projects have either been
abandoned during production or never advanced beyond an
unproduced screenplay adaptation, indicating the difficulty
of translating Vonnegut to the silver screen. So why does
Slaughterhouse-Five succeed where others fail? The answer
lies in how the source is interpreted on screen. Overall,
while there are some discrepancies that yield varying
results, the film is a faithful adaptation that succeeds in
translating the printed words into visual elements and
sounds which convincingly convey the novel's themes.

While Vonnegut's literary style is very noticeable in
Slaughterhouse-Five, the novel as a whole differs from the
majority of his other works because it is personal with an
interesting point of view technique that reflects
Vonnegut's own experiences in World War II and specifically,
the fire-bombing of Dresden. Slaughterhouse-Five has two
narrators, an impersonal one and a personal one, resulting
in a novel not only about Dresden but also about the actual
act of writing a novel - in this case a novel about an event
that has shaped the author profoundly. The novel's themes of
cruelty, innocence, free will, regeneration, survival, time,
and war recur throughout Vonnegut's novels, as do some of
his characters, which are typically caricatures of ideas
with little depth. Another mainstay is his use of historical
and fictional sources, and yet another is his preference for
description over dialogue. These aspects of Vonnegut's
literary style make the adaptation of Vonnegut to the screen
all the more difficult. Ironically, many Vonnegut novels
flow with a cinematic fluidity. As described in Film
Comment, "Vonnegut's literary vocabulary has included the
printed page equivalents of jump-cuts, montages, fades, and
flashbacks. And his printed pace even feels filmic, as he
packs his scenes tightly together, butting them against each
other for maximum, often jarring, effect"...

Find Another Essay On Slaughterhouse-Five: The Novel and the Movie

Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five -- A Great American Novel

1393 words - 6 pages For a novel to be considered a Great American Novel, it must contain a theme that is uniquely American, a hero that is the essence of a great American, or relevance to the American people. Others argue, however, that the Great American Novel may never exist. They say that America and her image are constantly changing and therefore, there will never be a novel that can represent the country in its entirety. In his novel, Slaughterhouse-Five

Explanation using textual examples why Slaughterhouse Five, by Kurt Vonnegut, is an anti-war novel

713 words - 3 pages In the novel Slaughterhouse-Five Kurt Vonnegut takes the chance to write about war from a disenchanted soldier's perspective and show his negative view of war. The novel essentially takes place during World War II, although it does skip around to other times during the main character's life. Vonnegut himself fought in World War II as a youth, and the war left him with lasting impressions. He wrote the novel during the Vietnam War, a

The Insanity of War in Slaughterhouse Five

999 words - 4 pages The Insanity of War in Slaughterhouse Five Regarding his views on war, Albert Einstein said in 1931, “[he] who joyfully marches to music in rank and file… has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him a spinal cord would surely suffice.” Slaughterhouse Five, written by Kurt Vonnegut Jr., is a satirical World War II novel. The novel focuses on Billy Pilgrim’s experiences. He develops schizophrenia during the war and consequently feels as

Slaughterhouse Five: An Analysis of the Literature

981 words - 4 pages 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

ethics and the slaughterhouse

1211 words - 5 pages , truckload after truckload are pulled into the loading docks with circulatory devices rotating above them to reduce the number of birds who will die of heat suffocation before entering the slaughterhouse. During the winter, an untold number of birds freeze to death on the trucks. Others fall out and freeze to the ground on the docks or along the highway. A forklift picks the top most platform off each flatbed truck, and the birds disappear into the

Fires on the Plain: Novel and Movie

3681 words - 15 pages Participants in war witness the capacity of humanity and, the survivors, are burdened with the inner struggles of wartime memories. Ooka Shohei’s 1951 major anti-war novel, Fires on the Plain, portrays the degradation of the surviving Japanese forces in the Philippines in the last year of Pacific War. Ichikawa Kon adapted the anti-war novel for film in 1959 and was consistent with the protagonist, Private Tamura, encounters while exploring the

Welcome to the Monkey House, Harrison Bergeron, and Slaughterhouse-five, by Kurt Vonnegut

1359 words - 5 pages warnings or explanations. It simply is. Take it moment by moment and you will find that we are all, as I’ve said before, bugs trapped in amber.” (Slaughterhouse-five, 99.) They follow up “Only on Earth is there any talk of free will.” (Slaughterhouse-five, 99.) This perhaps mirrors Vonnegut’s beliefs, and explains why Vonnegut satirizes the idea of change so often. In the novel, Vonnegut even mocks the old saying “G-d give me the serenity to accept

The Poweful Message of Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five

2194 words - 9 pages and time again. And with no definite answers to life's most puzzling question of death being given, it only seems natural that this subject is further explored. Kurt Vonnegut is one of many modern writers obsessed with this idea and spends many of his novels thematically infatuated with death. His semi- autobiographical novel, dealing with his experiences in Dresden during WWII, named Slaughterhouse Five, The Children's Crusade or A Duty Dance

The Biblical Allusion of Lot's Wife in Slaughterhouse-Five

2050 words - 8 pages Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Slaughterhouse-Five, uses the biblical allusion of Lot’s wife looking back on the destroyed cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to parallel the story of Billy Pilgrim during the war and his experience after, when he returns to the United States. Although the reference is brief, it has profound implications to the portrayal of America during World War II, especially the bombing of Dresden. Although Lot’s wife’s action dooms her

Porter's Five Forces Model and The Movie Rental Business

916 words - 4 pages or partners better by supplying quality products and virtual service to promote brand lifting, customer feedback, great customer experience, and offering the right product to the targeted market. Porter's Five Forces Model is one of the frameworks that help businesses develop their market strategy and analysis. This paper will focus on the Porter Model to evaluate a prospective market entrance for a potential movie rental business. Therefore, the

"The Lord of the Flies: Movie Critique" Compares and contrasts the novel and the 1990 movie

719 words - 3 pages events, both much more childish and rather only lightly influencing the surrounding boys. The movie failed to build up the novel's symbolic representation of strength and society, and rather portrays Ralph as an average boy.Equally as degrading to the novel, the film includes an adult alive on the island. With an adult present on the island, the viewer would not gain the same feeling of the boys' complete independence from the authority of adults

Similar Essays

Slaughterhouse Five The Novel Vs. The Movie

1406 words - 6 pages thinking he is far superior to them, when in reality he is no better at all then even a chaplain's assistant as helpless as Billy. Generally, the movie adaptation of the Kurt Vonnegut novel Slaughterhouse Five is a faithfully adapted version that does not veer horribly far away from Vonnegut's own vision. Both mediums tell the story of a teenager stuck in war in his past, in a zoo on a planet for aliens in his future, and of a hapless

Slaughterhouse Five: A Peace Novel Essay

1434 words - 6 pages work in a syrup factory. When Dresden was bombed on February 13, 1945, he survived while hiding in a cellar of a slaughterhouse where the POWs were living. Vonnegut was finally able to come home in May of 1945. He discusses his struggle to write about his experiences of at the beginning of his novel Slaughterhouse-Five and was unable to publish the book until 1969. Vonnegut created Billy Pilgrim, the protagonist of the story, in order to

Fate In Kurt Vonnegut’s Novel, Slaughterhouse Five

551 words - 2 pages “Fate is a misconception, it's only a cover-up for the fact you don't have control over your own life.” –Anonymous. In Kurt Vonnegut’s novel, Slaughterhouse-five, an optometrist named Billy Pilgrim becomes unstuck in time uncontrollably and constantly travels between his past, present, and future. Since Pilgrim is unable to control his time warps, he is forced to re-live agonizing moments such as watching his wartime friend Edgar Derby executed

Why Slaughterhouse Five Is An Anti War Novel

809 words - 4 pages Slaughterhouse-Five displays many themes. However, there is a dispute as to whether the book is an anti-war novel or not. Slaughterhouse-Five, the character Kurt Vonnegut explains to Mary O’Hare, is intended to be an anti-war novel, and he says that it shall also be called The Children’s Crusade because of the effect it had on young men who fought in the war. Slaughterhouse-Five is an anti-war novel because Vonnegut, the character, says it is in