Slaughterhouse-Five: Futile Search for Meaning Essay

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Critics often suggest that Kurt Vonnegut’s novels represent a man’s desperate, yet, futile search for meaning in a senseless existence. Vonnegut’s novel, Slaughterhouse-Five, displays this theme. Kurt Vonnegut uses a narrator, which is different from the main character. He uses this technique for several reasons.

Kurt Vonnegut introduces Slaughterhouse Five in the first person. In the second chapter, however, this narrator changes to a mere bystander. Vonnegut does this for a specific reason. He wants the reader to realize that the narrator and Billy Pilgrim, the main character, are two different people. In order to do this,
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Kurt Vonnegut does not want to glorify war. The narrator made a vow to

O’Hare’s wife, in chapter one, that the story would not do this. “...I give my word of honor. I’ll call it the children’s crusade.” In order to do this, Vonnegut makes the main character a simple man. His name is Billy Pilgrim. His mission is to avoid anything that requires action or responsibility. This causes him to avoid finding meaning in his life; he regards the world as chaotic. The senseless act of war causes Billy to
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