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'The great, urgent, passionate American writer of our century, who offers us a model of the kind of compassionate thinking that might yet save us from ourselves.' George Saunders Prisoner of war, optometrist, time-traveller - these are the life roles of Billy Pilgrim, hero of this miraculously moving, bitter and funny story of innocence faced with apocalypse. Slaughterhouse Five is one of the world's great anti-war books. Centring on the infamous fire-bombing of Dresden in the Second World War, Billy Pilgrim's odyssey through time reflects the journey of our own fractured lives as we search for meaning in what we are afraid to know. 'An extraordinary success. A book to read and reread. He is a true artist' New York Times Book Review
Billy Pilgrim returns home from the Second World War only to be kidnapped by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore, who teach him that time is an eternal present
Slaughterhouse-Five is part autobiographical, part science-fiction, part sarcastic master work by Kurt Vonnegut. It is often assigned by college and high school reading and writing classes, especially when our President wants us to go out and kill somebody. Slaughterhouse-Five came out in 1969 near the height of the War in Vietnam. At that time, our President told us the Vietnam War was a war we had to fight to protect the freedom loving people of South Vietnam from being overwhelmed by the Communist North. We lost that war. Kurt Vonnegut's long awaited war novel proved to be a miracle of compression. It is a contemporary Pilgram's Progress with a hero named curiously enough Billy Pilgrim. He is the son of an American barber. He serves as a chaplain's assistant in the Second World War, is captured by the Germans, survives the largest massacre in European history, the fire bombing of Dresden. (Vonnegut, too, was a prisoner of war and saw that fire storm.) Billy Pilgrim becomes an optometrist after the war, makes a great deal of money, is kidnapped by a flying saucer from the planet Tralfamadore on his daughter's wedding night. He is mated in a public zoo on that planet - to a star of many Earthling blue movies, the gorgeous Montana Wildhack. And so on. Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. speaks to the younger generation. Once mistakenly typed as a science-fiction writer, he is now recognized as a main-stream story teller often fascinated by the magic and comic possibilities of the magazines. His books are widely used in college courses and the groundswell of his present popularity began on college campuses where he was in great demand as a speaker.
A Study Guide for Kurt Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse Five," excerpted from Gale's acclaimed Novels for Students.This concise study guide includes plot summary; character analysis; author biography; study questions; historical context; suggestions for further reading; and much more. For any literature project, trust Novels for Students for all of your research needs.
Seminar paper from the year 2003 in the subject American Studies - Literature, grade: 2,3 (B), University of Stuttgart (American Studies), course: Postmodern Fiction, 13 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: Constructing Slaughterhouse-Five is a close reading of Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five. It puts a special focus on the aspects of time and temporal structure in relation to the novel form and its narrative structure in relation to the protagonist Billy Pilgrim's personal trauma, his war experience and his time travelling in relation to the alternative model of time of the Tralfamadorians. Thus, it concentrates on the postmodernist criticism of an uncritical believe in linear time, teleology and progression as also represented in the form of linear narratives.
Seminar paper from the year 2014 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Literature, grade: 1,0, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (Department of English and Linguistics), course: Slaughterhouse Five, language: English, abstract: The novel “Slaughterhouse-Five“, written by Kurt Vonnegut in 1969, is about Billy Pilgrim, a man, who has “become unstuck in time”, which means that he travels through different periods of his life. The novel starts with an autobiographical part, which is about Kurt Vonnegut’s life after the Second World War. In the following parts Vonnegut writes about Billy Pilgrim. The reader learns that as a young adult Billy Pilgrim is a soldier in the Second World War just like Kurt Vonnegut was. He survives this war with the help of other soldiers and later on he settles as a bourgeois civilian with his wife Valencia Merble and his two children. Kurt Vonnegut tells the reader that in the time of the Second World War Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time, and has been kidnapped by aliens from a planet called Tralfamadore. The reader gets to know Billy Pilgrim's life story as well as his personality. As a round character Billy is shown in different situations with all his emotions and thoughts. Vonnegut describes traumatic events in Billy’s childhood and also emotionally important events in his grown-up life, like his 18th wedding anniversary. After the awful situations Billy witnessed in the Second World War, for instance the Dresden bombing, and an airplane crash he survives, Billy says he was kidnapped by a flying saucer. This could be a sign of Billy Pilgrim suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which will be examined in the following text. Although the novel contains sad and cruel topics, the tone of the novel is generally sarcastic and unemotional. Billy Pilgrim's life and the literary style of “Slaughterhouse-Five“ inevitably lead to the question: In How Far Does Kurt Vonnegut's Depiction of the Protagonists in “Slaughterhouse-Five” Contribute to the Novel Being an Anti-War Novel? Since Vonnegut's publishers call Slaughterhouse-Five “one of the world's great anti-war books” and Vonnegut himself promised his friend Mary O'Hare to write an anti-war novel, these statements will be examined in this essay.
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From the World War II firebombing of Dresden to the distant planet called Tralfamadore, the reader follows Billy Pilgrim in his attempt to understand the natures of time and existence.