Critical Essay Of Slaughterhouse Five

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Slaughterhouse Five

     Critics of Kurt Vonnegut’s are unable to agree on what the main theme of his novel Slaughterhouse Five may be. Although Vonnegut’s novels are satirical, ironical, and extremely wise, they have almost no plot structure, so it is hard to find a constant theme. From the many people that the main character Billy Pilgrim meets, and the places that he takes us, readers are able to discern that Vonnegut is trying to send the message that there will always be death, there will always be war, and humans have no control over their own lives.
     Most of the book is the narrative from Billy Pilgrim a unique character who has the ability to become “unstuck in time”,
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Have you ever seen bugs trapped in amber?’
          ‘Yes.’ Billy, in fact, had a paperweight in his office which was a blob of polished amber with three lady bugs embedded in it.
          ‘Well, here we are, Mr. Pilgrim, trapped in the amber of this moment. There is no why.’
     
     Vit interprets the passage as humans being physically stuck in this world, that we don’t have any choice over what we, mankind as a whole, do and what we head for. The only thing we can do is think about everything, but we won’t affect anything. This idea appears many times throughout the novel. This is one of the examples, when Billy proposes marriage to Valencia:
          Billy didn’t want to marry ugly Valencia. She was one of the symptoms of his disease. He knew he was going crazy when he heard himself proposing marriage to her, when he begged her so take the diamond ring and be his companion for life.

     This excerpt directly shows that Billy didn’t like Valencia very much and that he actually didn’t want to marry her. However, he was “stuck in amber”. Or, for example, Billy knew the exact time when he would be killed, yet didn't’ try to do anything about it. He couldn’t have changed it anyway.
     Wayne Thompson thinks
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