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Literary Analysis: Slaughterhouse Five - Essay Example

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Literary Analysis. “Slaughterhouse Five” by Kurt Vonnegut The novel “Slaughterhouse Five” gives account of author’s experience and reflections on the war. Vonnegut uncovers the cultural stereotypes, shows the weakness of human mind. The book presents war as a product of culture where duty and brotherhood are misconceptions…
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Literary Analysis: Slaughterhouse Five
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Download file to see previous pages Its elusive and incomprehensible nature can be summed up in the phrase “If the accident will” (Vonnegut 4). In writer’s view nothing depends on people, no matter how hard they try the world and its rules lie beyond their comprehension. The writer proves his point of view describing Kilgore Trout’s book “Maniacs in the Fourth Dimension”, where the fourth dimension, that is irrational sphere, is the reason of human mental disease (Vonnegut 30). However, it is in human mind that Vonnegut sees the biggest danger and the source of war and violence. People turn reality into a scheme when they trying to understand it. In Vonnegut’s approach war and violence are the products of human cognition: people want the world to fit into the scheme they have in their minds, so they start wars to get rid of the elements that are minor or contrary to their model. Talking about war the writer gives the account of only one warring party that is the allied army, which is supposed to be fighting for truth and justice. For example, Lieutenant General Eaker sees the bombing of Dresden as the means of maintaining status quo; it is an act of revenge in attempt to restore justice (Vonnegut 83). However, in Vonnegut’s view one cannot restore justice as it never existed in the world. All the wars were the attempts to gain control over the world, and the author traces it back to the Bible. Vonnegut compares the fire-bombing of Dresden to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. The Bible justified violence and the cities were destroyed to restore the world order. From the very start the world was seen as the pattern that had important and unimportant elements, the cities did didn’t fit into God’s plan. Vonnegut does not share this point of view; he sees life as whole where none of the elements is more important or better than another. That is why he sympathizes with Lot’s wife: “Those were vile people in both those cities, as is well known. The world was better off without them. And Lot's wife, of course, was told not to look back where all those people and their homes had been. But she did look back, and I love her for that, because it was so human” (Vonnegut 21). Writing the book about war Vonnegut tries to show that art is another means of gaining control over the incomprehensible and absurd world. The events of the war are illogical, but when a person writes about them, they are presented in logical, comprehensible, and attractive form. In the book Vonnegut shows how people use art to protect themselves from the chaos of existence: “When I got home from the Second World War twenty-three years ago, I thought it would be easy for me to write about the destruction of Dresden, since all I would have to do would be to report what I had seen. And I thought, too, that it would be a masterpiece or at least make me a lot of money, since the subject was so big” (Vonnegut 2). Art tries to find logic in the world, turns it into a system. In this way art becomes similar to war, promotes it: “You'll pretend you were men instead of babies, and you'll be played in the movies by Frank Sinatra and John Wayne or some of those other glamorous, war-loving, dirty old men. And war will look just wonderful, so we'll have a lot more of them. And they'll be fought by babies like the babies upstairs” (Vonnegut 8). Vonnegut shows that perfection of the form created by artists and writers is artificial, fictitious and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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