Kurt Vonnegut’s Novel “Slaughterhouse 5” as an Anti-War Book

The novel was written during the Second World War when many people were going through the aftermath of the war. The writer got the inspiration for the novel from the war. The novel features an important character by the name of Bill whose pilgrim’s tales are narrated. The novel reveals its anti-war nature through the themes presented therein.

One of the themes entails violence. Violence has been vividly described in several scenes throughout the book. The novel contains very ugly scenes and hardships that were experienced by Bill throughout his life (Harold, 2007). By reading the novel, the reader gets to feel the effects and consequences of the Second World War. One of the ways in which the writer describes his anti-war feelings is through his choice of language. A very good example is when he says that whoever seeks glory as well as heroism in the event of a war is very much deluded (Harold, 2007). This statement in itself shows how much he despises those people whose motives for getting involved in the war are as stated. Such statements made by the author in the novel actually lead the readers to think deeply about the statements and to understand the selfish reasons as to why most of the wars in the world take place. As a result of this, readers are empowered and are in a better position to resist any kind of war.

The reader also argues that he is an enemy to any advancement in technology as long as it is a threat to mankind (Thomas, 2002). This means that he opposes the technology that manufactures weapons of mass destruction. In another statement, he warns his sons against working with companies that are involved in making massacre machines, taking part in events of the massacre, or even getting satisfied with news about the massacre. These are some of the novel’s contentious yet helpful issues which can be applied in real life in the event of a war.

Another aspect that reveals the anti-war nature of the novel is the theme of cruelty that is well portrayed in the novel (Thomas, 2002). Nevertheless, the novel is not written in an organized manner in that the events do not follow any particular sequence but rather jump from one event to another. The contents of the novel also portray an anti-war sentiment because most of the readers identify with the real experience of Vonnegut when he was working as a government soldier during the Second World War. His work thus made him come face to face with the war and its devastating effects, particularly on human beings. It is the experience that he went through as he served in the army that initiated his feelings to write the novel (Harold, 2007). Some very nasty scenes in the novel are also very similar to what would really happen in a real war. A very good example is the time that Billy was abducted as well as the bombing he witnessed. All these show the readers what would happen in the event of war thus enabling them to develop anti-war feelings. Apart from instilling anti-war feelings and attitudes in the readers, the novel also empowers them to be able to fight against people who support war as a means of solving problems.

The novel “Slaughterhouse 5” is anti-war because it opposes war vehemently. It also instills in readers negative attitudes towards wars by showing them just how destructive war can be on human lives and physical structures.

Reference List

  1. Harold, B. (2007). Kurt Vonnegut’s slaughterhouse-five. Chelsea: Chelsea House.
  2. Thomas, F. (2002). Kurt Vonnegut: a critical companion. Greenwood: Greenwood Publishing Group.