Satire in Slaughterhouse Five Essay

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In Slaughterhouse Five, Vonnegut uses satire in the topics of war, aliens, fate and the reasons for life itself. In Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, the author uses many literary devices to bring across his point including black humor, irony, wit and sarcasm. He mainly uses satire throughout the book. Satire is a literary device found in works of literature that uses irony and humor to mock social convention, another work of art, or anything its author thinks ridiculous to make a point. Vonnegut is Kilgore Trout in the novel. The first line of the novel is “Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time"(23). By using the word "unstuck", Vonnegut implies that Billy has now become free. Consequently, Vonnegut's narrative, as well as Billy,…show more content…
The Tralfamadorians, who explain this nature of time and existence to Billy, are shown as enlightened creatures while the humans back on earth are seen as backwards -- to such an extent that they believe in free will. Billy towards the end of his life becomes a preacher of these virtues of existence taught to him by his zookeepers on Tralfamadore, going around and speaking about his experiences and his acquired knowledge. This is ironic, because he is attempting to reverse the steady path of life, even time itself. War is the third topic that is heavily satirized in Slaughterhouse Five. First, Billy almost gets killed because he is time-traveling. Second of all, Vonnegut always says “so it goes” (12) whenever someone dies, so it sort of mocks death. Also, he is given a woman’s jacket when he becomes a POW and it mocks his position in the war also. On the nights of February 13-14 in 1944 the city of Dresden, Germany was subjected to one of the worst air attacks in the history of man. By the end of the bombing 135,000 to 250,000 people had been killed by the combined forces of the United States and the United Kingdom. Dresden was different then Berlin or many of the other military targets which were attacked during World War II because it was never fortified or used for strategic purposes and, therefore, was not considered a military target. At one point, Billy watches a war movie about WWII. He watches it regularly, showing how reality is.
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