Slaughterhouse-Five Essay

684 WordsJan 27, 20143 Pages
Kurt Vonnegut It was a really confusing book when I first read it, because the protagonist is unstuck in time and he may have a mental problem caused by firebombing in Dresden. After I finished the book, I started to wonder what the thesis of the book was. I can’t really tell the mood of the book. Is it depressing because many people died from the bombing? Is it disappointing about humans’ dark desire about the war? Or is it funny because of the black humor and satire? I feel the same way as Wilfrid Sheed commented, “A funny book at which you are not permitted to laugh, a sad book without tears.” Everybody seems to have a hard time in the book. Billy Pilgrim is a dull and fatalistic optometrist who has been captured as a prisoner of war and put in a slaughterhouse, has suffered firebombing and a plane crash. He can time travel back and forth in his lifetime, and has been on another planet called Tralfamadore. His wife Valencia is a heavy woman who thought nobody would marry her. Her hysteria causes her death from carbon monoxide poisoning after an automobile accident en route to the hospital to see Billy after his airplane crash. Roland Weary who saves Billy a couple of times in hopes of military glory, dies of gangrene caused by the clogs which Germans give him, and blames his death on Billy. Edgar Derby is the most rational and virtuous character in the book in my mind. He was a high school teacher who felt that he couldn't just let his young students go off to war without himself also fighting. Also, he is the only one who stands up to the traitor and defends American ideals. However, he unfortunately is executed for looting a teapot after the Allied fire-bombing of Dresden. His death is an irony because people expect good hearted people to live. Also, it is funny that Germens still care about teapot stealing as American prisoners are digging the corpses out

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