So far in the book Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut his anti-war sentiment sticks out to me the most. While there are many other underlying themes such as the discussion of free will which make Slaughterhouse-Five such an intricate read; I chose the anti-war theme over the other themes because it is ultimately what connects everything in the book. For example, while the discussion of free will is discussed with all-knowing aliens from a different dimension called the Tralfamadorians, the anti-war aspect of the book is what causes it which is why I chose it over the free will theme. Furthermore, Slaughterhouse-Five encapsulates the sheer brutality of the war not only through the PTSD that Billy Pilgrim suffers, but also through the effects Billy’s PTSD has on the people that are close to him, the same people trying to take care of him. “Do you know what I say to people when I hear they’re writing anti-war books? […] I say, “Why don’t you write an anti-glacier book instead?”(Vonnegut 9). This quote signifies how Vonnegut views war as something that has been institutionalized within our world. By starting the book off this way, Vonnegut shares his take on war. This ultimately allows Vonnegut to display the downsides of this institutionalized violence throughout the entire novel.
One area in which I laud Kurt Vonnegut for is his connection of many themes in Slaughterhouse-Five. I even prefaced it in my earlier paragraph and blog post. I think the way he incorporates his take on free will through the Tralfamadorians and merging that with the anti-war message of the book was excellent. The way in which Vonnegut intertwines the story of Billy’s struggles that he faces due to the PTSD he has from war and the discussion of free will has really made Slaughterhouse-Five a great read thus far. Another aspect I enjoy so far has been the way Kurt Vonnegut has strayed away from a conventional narrative. Slaughterhouse-Five as a story in and of itself has an intriguing plot line that would’ve had me hooked, but, the way in which Vonnegut narrates has me even more interested. For example, he doesn’t necessarily narrate everything chronologically which makes the story a tad bit more fascinating as the reader must be completely immersed to fully understand the ins and outs of every little detail in the book.
Please share and comment if you enjoyed :^).
Written by author and aspiring professional basketball player – JAM KIM