Poststructuralist Analysis Of Slaughterhouse-Five. Poststructuralism

1603 WordsApr 22, 20177 Pages
Poststructuralist Analysis of Slaughterhouse-Five Poststructuralism is a form of psychoanalytic theory. It is the study of the natural development of the psyche to structure. In this critical analysis, Lacanianism will be the focus. “ Lacan’s psychoanalytic work is often evoked to explain how power works, why the individual - the subject - is so extraordinarily susceptible to power” (Bertens, 161). What this form of poststructuralist psychoanalysis can do is explain someone’s behavior by deconstructing their experiences while in their developmental phase. I will apply this to Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five to explore the cause of Billy Pilgrim’s actions and ways of thinking. It shouldn’t be new that American author, Kurt Vonnegut,…show more content…
The raid gave Vonnegut the peg on which to hang the book and goaded him with a sense of occasion—of having stumbled into precious literary material” (Deresiewicz). The plot of the novel as a whole is just Billy exploring his mind. The Dresden incident is only relevant because it serves as the premise for the plot. “His life is not linear, but radiates instead from a single event like the spokes of a wheel. Everything feels like a dream: a very bad dream. The novel is framed the way it is because Vonnegut, too, was traveling in time. He needed to make himself a part of the story because he already was a part of the story” (Deresiewicz). The mental state of Vonnegut, the nameless author, and Billy are all important when constructing their mind. “Vonnegut continually undercuts our willing suspension of disbelief in Billy’s time travel by offering multiple choices for the origin of Billy’s imbalance: childhood traumas, brain damage from his plane crash, dreams, his shattering war experiences, and plain old fantasy.” (Vanderwerken, 412). Upon first reading the novel, it seems as though Billy develops his mental illness due to the horrors he witnessed during the war, i.e. 135,000 people killed in the firebombing of Dresden, but he had mental issues before he even entered the war. He lived through the most deadly bombing in history up to that point, but it didn’t cause his insanity. Instead, a nervous collapse from studying too hard did.

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