preview

Billy Pilgrim and the View of Time in "Slaughter House Five" by Kurt Vonnegut

Good Essays
The year is 1944, 1945, 1964, 1967, 1968, and 1976 as Billy Pilgrim becomes unstuck in time. For many of us we see time as a river. It drifts listlessly from the springs to the ocean. We cannot touch the same waters twice. In the Novel Slaughter House five by Kurt Vonnegut, Billy Pilgrim discovers the true abounding nature of time. And that time is not a river, but the entire ocean, every water molecule a moment in time existing all at once in the vast blue of eternity.

In 1967 Billy Pilgrim was abducted by aliens called Tralfamadorians. “They had many wonderful things to teach Earthlings, especially about time” [26] Because of this Billy understands how time is structured, and changes his perception and understanding of
…show more content…
When Billy and the other POWs are marched through the streets of Germany Billy is happy and describes the scene as beautiful. Because he does not have to worry about the future or whether or not he will die, Billy is relaxed and unstressed unlike the other POW’s around him. Billy’s foresight greatly lowers his temperament. Even during the firebombing of Dresden Billy is not worried. Billy compares an anti-war book to an anti-glacier book, because a glacier is so big it is impossible to stop it from moving just like a war. The Tralfamordians know that wars will happen and they cannot do anything to stop it, so they simply choose to ignore the war.

Curiously though Billy never tries to change the future. When Billy boards the doomed plane for his optometrist trip, Billy says or does nothing to stop the plane from taking flight. Billy learned from the Tralfamordians that the future will always be as it will be. The Tralfamordians already know how the world, the universe and everything will end. It ends when a new fuel test goes awry. When Billy asks why they simply don’t stop the button from being pressed to prevent the destruction of the universe. The aliens reply that the button will always be pressed. Maybe if they told the person not to press it, someone else would have or it would’ve been pressed by accident. I figure if Billy Pilgrim had told the other passengers
Get Access