The Theme of Time in Slaughterhouse Five Essay

1003 Words Apr 28th, 2009 5 Pages
In many novels, the idea of time is handled in different ways to keep the story at a smooth pace. Kurt Vonnegut, the author of Slaughterhouse-Five, uses time as a way to give the reader an idea of what his main character’s life was like and what he had gone through throughout his life. Vonnegut’s manipulation of time may make the story confusing to some at times, but he effectively explains his character’s background through this different use of time. Throughout the plot of Slaughterhouse-Five, the idea of time is thrown around in several ways. In the beginning of the story, Vonnegut introduces his readers to Billy Pilgrim, the main character of the story who has the ability to travel to different moments of his life without knowing …show more content…
Billy’s travels with the aliens come randomly during his time-traveling spells bring about different insights and lessons that readers can get and put into their everyday lives. For example, on the night Billy is kidnapped by the Tramalfadorians, he asks a simple question that anyone in his position would ask: “Why me?” The Tramalfadorians respond to him in a way that seems bizarre for humans to think about, saying that there is no why and that the moment just is and that all of them are trapped in that moment. The aliens basically tell Billy and the readers that time does not matter in life, and that the most important thing to worry about when dealing with time is the moment that is happening right now, not the past or the future.
Kurt Vonnegut also introduces the idea of time in his own narration of the story. Along with the previous idea, when the reader is introduced to Billy Pilgrim, Vonnegut makes a statement about Billy: “Among the things Billy Pilgrim could not change were the past, the present, and the future.” This statement makes the point that time does not matter and that the only thing that he can do is live in the moment and deal with what is happening right now instead of what has already happened or what will happen later. Although Billy can travel back in time to the places that he used to be and the
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