People Allow Adversity To Rid Them Of Hope. Slaughterhouse-Five

1869 WordsFeb 17, 20178 Pages
People allow adversity to rid them of hope. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut highlights the pitfalls of mankind in their perception of love, death, war, and societal norms through the unusually clear lenses of Billy Pilgrim. Pilgrim’s acceptance towards life relieves him of the weight of the world; however, even Pilgrim is unable to remain indifferent about war. Billy Pilgrim encounter with the Tralfamadorians granted him an extraterrestrial way of thinking. Billy Pilgrim’s profession as an optometrist symbolizes his awareness to the corruption in the world he lives in. Pilgrim’s ability to see to the corruption in the world correlates on how he relinquishes his knowledge to his patients, to the reader. Billy Pilgrim went to Ilium…show more content…
Granville Hicks notes how war leaves soldiers disillusioned and, “The terrible destruction of Dresden is... an example of the way the military mind operates” (Hicks 602-603). Pilgrim sees the trivialities of war, while exhibiting disdain for other aspects in life; this demonstrates the effect war had on him. In Novels for Students, Kurt Vonnegut Jr. speaks about how the bombing of Dresden made the terrain look like the moon, Pilgrim noticed that “Nobody talked much as the expedition crossed the moon. There was nothing appropriate to say. One thing was clear: Absolutely everybody in the city was supposed to be dead, regardless of what they were, and that anybody that moved in it represented a flaw in the design” (Vonnegut 260). The soldiers, left speechless at the carnage, Pilgrim states that “We had been foolish virgins in the war, right at the end of childhood... 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” (Vonnegut 18). War lost all glamourous appeals; the monotonous task of fighting in the military wore on Billy Pilgrim and made him question his participation in the war. The alienating experience of war separates soldiers from everyday people; civilians never see the horrors of war, they never see the casualties and deaths, they never suffer from the traumas of war.

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