The Theme of Time in Slaughterhouse-Five Essay

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The Theme of Time in Slaughterhouse-Five

Many writers in history have written science fiction novels and had great success with them, but only a few have been as enduring over time as Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five. Slaughterhouse-Five is a personal novel which draws upon Vonnegut's experience's as a scout in World War Two, his capture and becoming a prisoner of war, and his witnessing of the fire bombing of Dresden in February of 1945 (the greatest man-caused massacre in history). The novel is about the life and times of a World War Two veteran named Billy Pilgrim. In Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut uses structure and point of view to portray the theme that time is relative.

The way Kurt Vonnegut structures
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More of the time travels Billy has take him to his time on the planet Tralfamadore. Billy says that the aliens abducted him on his daughter's wedding night and returned him a few milliseconds later, but actually spend many months on Tralfamadore because the Tralfamadorians can also see in the fourth dimension, time, which allowed them to keep Billy for what seemed like longer than what he was actually there. While on Tralfamadore, Billy learns to accept his life as it is dealt to him because nothing that happens to you damages you forever. Since time is relative, and your life is like a mountain range, your death ,birth, and all the events in between are nothing more than peaks in a range of mountains, irremovable and able to be visited numerous times. The point of view that Slaughterhouse-Five is written from also affects the way the reader fells about time after reading the novel. Since the story is narrated by a omniscient being that is everywhere with Billy Pilgrim, the reader gets a first hand account of every event in his life. Also Billy is very relaxed and accepting all things around him. A good example of this is Billy's habit of following every death with "so it goes". (Vonnegut 69) The repetition of this phrase not only de-emphasizes death, but also helps Vonnegut assert control over the readers response after a death. (Dawley 2) The way Billy
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