Slaughter House 5 - Negative Impact of War

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Slaughter House Five The novel Slaughter House Five presents the experiences of the main character Billy Pilgrim and his fellow comrades during WWII. The war forces suffering upon the soldiers and civilians involved, causing irreversible physical and emotional scars. The author primarily uses Billy Pilgrim to translate the negative affects associated with war to the reader, as he is an innocent target. During the progression of the novel it is evident that war triggers severe physical and emotional trauma and suffering to both Billy Pilgrim and all others involved. As a result of the war Billy is negatively impacted. He faces many hardships that affect him physically. One instance where Billy is physically forced to cope with the cruelty caused by war is when he is humiliated and oppressed by the German soldiers: “They threw Billy into the shrubbery. When Billy came out… they menaced him with their machine pistols” (58). The German soldiers torment Billy Pilgrim for self-satisfaction because he is an easy target. Another moment when the war affects Billy negatively is when he is on-route to the prisoner of war camp: “And now there was an acrimonious madrigal, with parts sung in all quarters of the car. Nearly everybody, seemingly, had an atrocity story of something Billy Pilgrim had done to him in his sleep. Everybody told Billy Pilgrim to keep the hell away” (79). This passage suggests that Billy is an outlier and does not fit in even with his own men who were once fighting along side him. It demonstrates the true power of war, but also how the war has destroyed the soldiers’ sense of comradery. Billy becomes mentally ill due to the war. It could be assumed that he suffers from posttraumatic stress disorder from all of the horrifying sights and traumatic experiences he was involved in during the war. After Billy finds himself in the veterans’ hospital he
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