Slaughterhouse Five By Kurt Vonnegut

992 Words Aug 21st, 2015 4 Pages
Author Kurt Vonnegut wrote a wide variety of stories and works of literature over the course of his career, but perhaps his most well-known work is his 1969 novel Slaughterhouse-Five. Serving as a chronicle of the life and experiences of protagonist Billy Pilgrim, the novel’s narrative structure is every bit as disjointed as the manner in which Billy perceives his own life; this scattered, stream-of-consciousness writing style can be seen as a reminder of the traumatic effects that war can have on one’s mental health. This idea manifests itself especially well in the Tralfamadorians, whose detached, almost jaded attitude towards death is best summed up by their often-repeated mantra, “So it goes.” Throughout the novel, Vonnegut uses the phrase “So it goes” in a strategically cynical way, by inserting the phrase directly after any and all mentions of death. This is used for shock value at first, but over the course of the story, as more people die and the phrase pops up more often, the reader begins to grow desensitized to the phrase, and perhaps to death itself. Every single mention of death in the book, no matter how insignificant, is punctuated by this phrase; whether it is the death of Billy’s own father, the accidental destruction of the entire universe, or even a half-empty bottle of champagne that has lost its carbonation, every instance of death is ultimately treated the same way every time. To most of us, the idea of treating death as if it were completely…
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