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Slaughterhouse Five

Uploaded by abstractspace on May 03, 2004

Choices Defined by Slaughter-House Five

Slaughter-House Five or The Children’s Crusade is a novel written in the “Telegraphic Schizophrenic Manner of Tales of the Planet Tralfamadore” by Kurt Vonnegut. It does a wonderful job, not only of providing, but envisioning for you, the answer to the question “How much control do we have over our own lives?”. Before and after reading this book, I have concluded that the answer to the previous question is “none”. Humans have no control over their life.

Slaughter–House Five follows the main character, Billy Pilgrim, through his life from his perspective. Unlike you and me, he has become “unstuck in time”, so he experiences life totally differently. One moment he is being treated for a swollen thumb as a child, the next moment he is being treated like a vegetable in a hospital as an adult. Moving around constantly like this lets you realize how flawed a human’s view of life is. Billy Pilgrim, knowing this, lives out his life, along for the ride.

In chronological order, it seems, Billy Pilgrim is first born. He continues to live and learn, go to school, as any normal boy would. He grows up to get married to a rich lady and become an optometrist. Around this time he is kidnapped by a flying saucer navigated by fourth-dimensional aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. Without anyone noticing, he stays on Tralfamadore for 10 years and returns promptly to Earth seconds after he was kidnapped. In a plane crash, he is the only one that survives, his wife dies on the way to meet him, so it goes. When WWI starts, he gets involved and eventually became a prisoner of war, only to witness the firebombing of Dresden, where 135,000 people where killed, so it goes. He is released, and lives, only to be cared for by his daughter. With a bad back, he escapes his house to tell his fans about the nature of time. Moments later he is shot by a sniper, an old enemy from the war, so it goes. This is Billy’s life, but not as he sees it. Billy’s life as he sees it is too complicated to write in order.

Billy must have been confused when he first became unstuck in time, but when he was kidnapped years later, time was explained to him by the Tralfamadorians. I imagine they said something like this:
“Listen here, Billy. Time as...

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Uploaded by:   abstractspace

Date:   05/03/2004

Category:   Literature

Length:   3 pages (656 words)

Views:   9941

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