Slaughter house-Five, written by Kurt Vonnegut is a post modern novel,
attempting to undermine the reader\'s expectations. The novel does not
have smooth transitions from one event to the next. The reason is,
because the novel reflects modern man\'s life. Since the novel is not
smooth it is confusing. This is just like modern man\'s life, confusing.
Another literary device is, it is difficult to follow. When the novel is
hard to read the reader cannot enjoy and understand the book. This is how
modern society is too(difficult to follow). Another literary device is
the novel\'s characters lack depth. The characters need more descriptive
details. This reflects man by saying that man lacks depth and is not well
rounded. The book undermines the novel\'s conventional approach. These are
some reasons for the undermining of the reader\'s expectations.
The novel does not have smooth transitions from one event to the
next one. "Billy blinked in 1958, traveled in time to 1961." After a
chapter, "Billy Pilgrim nestled like a spoon with the hobo on Christmas
night, and he fell asleep, and he traveled in time to 1967. When Billy is
in 1958, he is busy talking about World War Two. Then suddenly he
travels through time to 1967 and he ends up being kidnaped by aliens from
Tralfamadore. So when the story changes, the reader\'s mind has to adjust
to the changes. The events just pop up all of a sudden. Modern man always
has surprises in life that just pop up just like this novel. In life
there is usually no smooth adjustments. It is abrupt and sudden. Billy
Pilgrim(protagonist) travels through time in an awkward chronological
order. In life people do not adapt to different situations without any
problem. In this book, shifting from one situation to another is meant
to be poor.
The book is difficult to follow. It has many small stories in it.
Pilgrim is in World War Two and then he ends up being with aliens from
Tralfadamore. Some of these topics are hard to comprehend. This
symbolizes modern life since it is difficult to comprehend the
understandings of life. For example, Roland Weary is one of Billy\'s war
companions. He kept beating the living daylights out of Billy. The novel
mentions that Weary treat Pilgrim like this to discipline him, but he
over does it. Is it, because Weary is a psychopath or has something
against Pilgrim or maybe even perhaps it is jealously that causes this
hostility? Questions like this left unanswered makes the reader not aware
of what is happening. Another example is, Pilgrim and his war companions
are captured by German soldiers. The soldiers are kinder to Billy than to
Weary. "Billy was helped to his feet by the lovely boy," "And the others
come forward to dust the snow off Billy" Another quote,"He tore open
Weary\'s overcoat and blouse. Brass buttons flew like popcorn. The
corporal reached into Weary\'s gasping bosom as though he meant to tear
out his pounding heart," Both of them are treated differently. This
makes the reader anticipate why. This is not explained in the novel. Life
is the same: there are many questions unanswered that people are curious
about. Vonnegut in this novel purposely does not describe events like
this in detail so it can reflect modern life. This is the reason for the
difficulty of understanding this novel.
Some side characters lack depth and need more description. For
instance there was a photographer present at the war. He took pictures of
Pilgrim and Weary when they were captured by the Germans. Vonnegut did
not describe anything about his past or for what company he is working
for and so on. "There was a photographer present, a German correspondent
with a Leica." That is all the author writes on him. The readers want to
know more about the characters. This help makes the story more
interesting. Since there is a lack of descriptiveness, the readers form
questions in their mind. This happens in life too. When there is not
enough information on something there is always curiosity and more
questions. Another symbolism is man is not in depth. According to a
certain interpretation of Vonnegut\'s symbolism, man is