Dresden and Tralfamadore as Two Types of Eden

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Jacob Arminius once said, “A good conscience is paradise.” Paradise is not always somewhere where one is physically well; it can also be a place where one is mentally well. In Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut, Tralfamadore and Dresden are two places of mental and physical utopia for the novel’s protagonist, Billy Pilgrim. Vonnegut describes Tralfamadore as a planet existing in the past, present, and future. To exist in all times simultaneously is utopian. To know what happened, what is happening, and what will happen relieves the mind of angst and anticipation. Tralfamadore’s environment also increases Billy’s self-esteem. For the first time, someone is taking interest in Billy’s life, and he feels content explaining himself to both the Tralfamadorians and Montana Wildhack. The Tralfamadorians’ view of death also allows Billy to come to terms with the death and destruction he witnesses in Dresden. Their belief that beings are in constant existence and never truly die allows Billy to accept death in a broader sense. The all-knowing atmosphere of Tralfamadore provides Billy Pilgrim with the peace and clarity he needs. He often psychologically escapes to Tralfamadore while in captivity during the war. For Billy, Tralfamadore is a place of sense and much needed control, both of which greatly contribute to his mental stability. Aside from experiencing a mental paradise, Billy Pilgrim also gains a sense of physical control and stability during his time in Dresden. After the city is tragically fire bombed, Billy finds a soothing regularity in the collapsed buildings, describing the aftermath as “graceful” and “smooth.” Billy views the destruction as a catastrophic, but effective physical portrayal of the war. Billy feels at ease in the destroyed city because he knows that the worst has come and gone, and everything will only get better. Billy finds solace and

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