Historical Fiction - a comparison of Nashville 1864 and Slaughterhouse 5

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The books Nashville 1864, written by Madison Jones, and Slaughterhouse 5, by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr, are both intriguing tales that are set in troublesome times of upheaval. The first story is set during the American War of Independence and the second during World War II. Both authors combine fiction and history to tell the story of their protagonists. It is quite interesting to note that both authors have used history, i.e. important events that follow a chronology in the past, to evolve their narratives, as the ultimate ends of the stories are probably already familiar to the reader. This technique of using history also might increase the expectation of the known event, where the reader is aware of what is about to happen and he awaits the events wondering what will happen to the protagonist. The following describes and discusses the relationship between history and fiction in these two books and will view the personal history in contrast to the fictional part of the books. How far is what they describe actual fact, authentic history, and what is fictional in the novels? Madison Jones’ book Nashville 1864 is about the events of the Civil War in 1864 recalled, over 36 years later, by the mature Steven Moore, who experienced the war firsthand as a twelve-year-old boy, as the son of a Confederate soldier. One day, after the war had started and his father had joined the confederates, he learns that his father’s platoon is in the vicinity of their farm. Steven goes off in search of him, accompanied by his friend, the slave Dink. They get behind enemy borders as the fighting begins and witness terrible scenes, with Dink dying during the events. Steven is brought together with his father again, but the actions have had a great impact on him. Jones tries to be true to his roots, setting what he knows in his work, reliving personal history - his father had a farm where he

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