Summary… When one begins to analyze a military novel it is important to first look at the historical context in which the book was written. On the nights of February in the city of Dresden, Germany was subjected to one of the worst air attacks in the history of man. By the end of the bombingtopeople had been killed by the combined forces of the United States and the United Kingdom.
When the reader first meets Billy before the war, he is a complacent and unpopular weakling, and as a result, becomes something of a joke among the other soldiers. He has no real talent with weapons and even sports an improper uniform. Nonetheless, Billy is thrust right into center of the action at the Battle of the Bulge.
The symbol of Billy as being a fish out water becomes even more ironic and significant as time goes on, as it becomes incredibly poignant that he is managing to walk through this war completely unscathed while accomplished and talented soldiers are dying every day beside him.
Billy appears to live a life that is filled with indignity, and therefore has no real fear of death.
This attitude thus makes him a perfect candidate for the Tralfamadorian philosophy that emphasizes death. This is highlighted across the narrative many times: So it goes; A hobo dying in the railway car Billy is traveling in.
So it goes; Overpeople dying in Dresden. So it goes; Valencia accidently killing herself by carbon monoxide poisoning. So it goes; Billy himself being killed by an assassin at the precise time that he had predicted. The repetition of this phrase just emphases the calmness of Billy in his attitude towards death, with the thought thatdead innocents having the same impact as an anonymous hobo on a train.
It gives him a degree of control over his life. The final thing to consider about Billy Pilgrim is that the novel centers around him so profusely that it makes the cast of supporting characters nothing more than footnotes, only existing in relation to his development and actions in the plot, and this perhaps is a wider metaphor for how Billy treated people during his life, with a detached and indifferent hand.All Characters Billy Pilgrim Kurt Vonnegut Bernard O’Hare Roland Weary Tralfamadorians Edgar Derby Kilgore Trout Bertram C.
Rumfoord Wild Bob Symbols All Symbols Slaughterhouse-Five Jesus and the Cross Barbershop Quartet. Kurt Vonnegut. The novelist inserts himself in the sections of Chapters One and Ten that frame Billy Pilgrim's story. For many years, Vonnegut tried to write a book about Dresden but found himself unable to handle the project.
He appears within the Billy Pilgrim story very briefly, in . Vonnegut was tormented by this question and through Billy Pilgrim, the protagonist in Slaughterhouse Five, he attempts to reconcile the guilt which one feels when one is randomly saved from death, while one’s friends and loved ones perish.
Valencia Pilgrim accidentally kills herself with carbon monoxide after turning bright blue. So it goes.
Billy Pilgrim is killed by an assassin’s bullet at exactly the time he has predicted, in the realization of a thirty-some-year-old death threat. So it goes. Billy awaits death calmly, without fear, knowing the exact hour at which it will come.
Vonnegut was tormented by this question and through Billy Pilgrim, the protagonist in Slaughterhouse Five, he attempts to reconcile the guilt which one feels when one is randomly saved from death, while one’s friends and loved ones perish.
Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death () is a science fiction-infused anti-war novel by Kurt Vonnegut about the World War II experiences and journeys through time of Billy Pilgrim, from his time as an American soldier and chaplain's assistant, to postwar and early years.