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Slaughter House 5 Essay

  • Submitted by: graveybaby
  • on February 27, 2011
  • Category: English
  • Length: 1,090 words

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Below is an essay on "Slaughter House 5" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

It’s Worth a Couple Tears  
In Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut presents death as common and unimportant in order to satirize death.   Vonnegut uses the phrase “so it goes” after every death in the novel regardless of the circumstances.   Billy Pilgrim’s ability to time travel allows him to brush off deaths as if they have no importance.   Billy is abducted by aliens called Tramalfadorians who have a very different view on time as humans do.   They believe all moments have already taken place, and they cannot be changed. The Tramalfadorians influenced Billy’s view on time; therefore, he believes all moments have already happened, and when a person dies, he thinks that the person is alive in all other moments besides that one.   Also, it is ironic that Vonnegut acts very thankful when a person does not get hurt in a dangerous situation, but when a person dies, he brushes it off.   The most important element to Kurt Vonnegut’s satire is his ability to portray death as insignificant in Slaughterhouse Five because he is able to show that humans should not respond to human generated deaths without emotion.
Vonnegut portrays death to be miniscule throughout the novel with his repetition of “so it goes” after every death.   After poor old Edgar Derby is shot, Vonnegut writes; “…a doctor pronounced him dead and snapped his dogtag in two.   So it goes” (Vonnegut 92).   Indifferent, the doctor shows no emotion towards poor old Edgar Derby, and his death is portrayed as insignificant.   “So it goes” is even used after the thousands of deaths in Dresden.   For example, Vonnegut states; “During that same day, 10,000 persons, on an average, will have starved to death or died from malnutrition.   So it goes.   In addition, 123,000 persons will die for other reasons.   So it goes” (212).   The fact that the novel brushes off thousands of deaths caused by a bombing is an example of Vonnegut using irony to criticize emotionless responses to human generated deaths.   Even the repetition of “so...

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