Because they believe that when a being dies, it continues to live in other times nd places, their response to death is, “So it goes. ” They are placid in their fatalism, and patiently explain their philosophy to Pilgrim during the interval he spends caged in a Tralfamadorian zoo. Tralfamadorians, an extraterrestrial race, explain the nature of time and existence to Billy. They provide Pilgrim with all of the ideas that make up his unique mental identity. They say that it is wiser to only focus one’s attention on the good moments, for no moments are capable of being changed – they just are.
Billy to some extent is capable of applying this philosophy to his life for he is blessed enough to be loose in time. Towards the end of his life, Pilgrim preaches these virtues of existence taught to him by his zookeepers on Tralfamadore. Vonnegut’s Slaughter-House Five is a well written masterpiece suited for advanced literature courses such as AP English. Every scene is a small window of Billy Pilgrim’s life. The reader is not listening to a biography of man, but rather listening to the man tell his stories in a third-person narrative.
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He tells the reader what parts he wants whenever he feels like they need to be said, with no regard for a consistent time line. Slaughterhouse-Five’s complete disregard for the conventional way a piece of iction should be written reveals marks of true genius. There are but two main characters in this book, Billy Pilgrim, our un-heroic protagonist, and Vonnegut himself, serving as a narrator and a minor character in the book. By putting himself in the novel, the author keeps a realistic euphoria surrounding the story; after all, he was there.
Vonnegut mixes the ideals of conventional fiction, science fiction, and factual information in this glorious concoction of ink and paper. The only way he could see around writing about his experiences in the fire bombings of Dresden in a light-hearted manner, was to incorporate other conflicts. He does so by incorporating the dark-natured comedy of the death of Valencia Pilgrim, Billy’s wife, and his amazing time-and-space-splitting journey to the planet of Tralfamadore.
Slaughterhouse-Five is a masterpiece of the American novel, and should be recognized as such. The true brilliance within it’s pages has brought much entertainment, and enlightenment to the world. This amazing work will continue to haunt the shelves of libraries to come, it is only to be praised even more with the passing years.