Saturday, March 5, 2011
Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut
Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut takes place during the WW2 period and a few years after. Billy Prilgrim is a soldier in the war and witnesses te devastating bombing massacre of Dresden, a "safe city" that only housed POWs(Prisoners of War) and civilians, by the U.S. Slaughterhouse 5 is a war satire and a psychological thriller as well. Chalk full of flashbacks, extraterrestrial abductions, death, satire, death, mysteries, death, millions of symbols, and more death. Billy 'travels' to Tralfamadore, a planet where these alien type creatures see everything at once, and only focus on the good things, and ignore the bad. Tralfamadore symbolizes a government that does terrible things like start wars, impose many taxes, and take away rights, that tells its' citizens not to focus on the bad things the government might do, but try to find happiness in the things that they do provide. Billy falls infatuated with that ideal and tries to spread the word of the Tralfamadorians to everyone else. Obviously, others react by calling him crazy and by pointing fingers and laughing. Billy eventually gets assassinated by Paul Lorrenzo, another soldier in the war who was a car thief and that committed many crimes and was just an all around bad person. Most of the soldiers Billy encounters in the war seem to take pride in war. They take pride in looting from who they have killed, they take pride in killing many enemy soldiers, and they also take pride in supporting their country, which in fact sent them there in the first place and took them away from their peaceful lives. Many of the war veterans have trouble coming back into society without massive violence. Some go crazy, and others commit murders and get thrown into jail. Billy just uses 'time travel' to escape the bad, aka WW2, and replaces his current situations with happy ones. Whatever happens, though, bad things always seem to happen to Billy, and he keeps on ignoring them. Billy only follows what the Tralfamorians have taught him when they abducted him and put him in a display on their planet so that he could be observed. Billy also takes advice from his favorite author, Killgore Trout. Trout's books are about propaganda and the cruel effects of what can happen if others follow what the government tells them to do and do not keep their own beliefs. The only place to find Trout's books are in the back corners of pornography shops. This shows that they are just tossed aside for the needs of those who are out of the war. Pornography is one of the many escapes to the fictional world where people can follow their dreams instead of following their heads.
1. If you knew that your government was unfair to you, would you stand up and say something? What problems might you encounter with going against everyone else? Why would you want to start problems instead of leaving it alone/Why would you want to leave it alone and not try to help your country grow and realize what's wrong?
2. What does war really do for people? Why does war happen? What can be done to prevent war and ensure that things like this don't happen? If you had gone to war and came back with a psychological trauma or disease, how would that affect you and would you try to be like you were before? In other words, would you try to hold the same job, talk to the same people, be as outgoing as you were etc, even with your disability?