In Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, we appreciate an unusual type of writing that causes feelings of craziness in the reader. First, we start off with a fictional character that goes through the writer’s personal experiences, and later on, the writer also appears in the story, which causes great confusion. The story is also written in a non-linear order, where the story jumps from one point of the character’s life to another and back to some other event, making most readers confused and lost. And as the story goes on, the reader can notice some repetitive descriptions in the book, and the writer did it on purpose to make the reader feel like they’re going crazy.
The main character in the book, Billy Pilgrim, goes through Kurt Vonnegut’s experiences, especially the World War 2 ones. Yet, that wasn’t enough for Vonnegut, he had to point out specific stuff that happened to him through his own character. There are parts where the writer talks about a random non-important character and later writes “That was I. That was me. That was the author of the book.”(p.125). This causes an irregular type of fourth wall break between the reader and the book, to remember that the writer was there. However, it not only does that, but it also generates greater confusion for the reader.
In the novel, there are other things that may cause further confusion for the reader. The non-linear chronological order of the story is one of the most confusing things in the story, especially in the beginning. The writer never lets the reader know what’s next, in a moment the novel takes you to a field of flowers, then you find yourself escaping from german soldiers. The constant change in scenario and time gives the reader a feeling of madness and losing themselves between the timelines.
As the novel goes on, the reader can find descriptive sentences that reappear throughout the whole book. The sentences are weirdly unique descriptions, the repetition of “blue and ivory”, “nestled like spoons” or “mustard gas and roses” gives even more feeling of craziness to the reader. Repeating meaningless descriptions can cause the reader to believe there is a connection or meaning between them. This makes the reader feel even crazier than before.
In conclusion, Vonnegut wrote a crazy novel that makes the reader go crazy too. The writing of all the points viewed before all have a purpose, making the reader feel lost, confused, and crazy. The writer, Vonnegut, knew what he was doing by writing the novel in this peculiar way.
One thought on “Slaughterhouse-Five”
Hello Vigo! I love the personal response. I really enjoy how any point you made, for example, the non linear timeline, you provided evidence to help the reader understand your point more clearly. You’re perspective on this piece of literature I don’t fully agree with as I beleive I am not crazy, however I understand the point as it makes the reader eel like he is spectating a crazy persons meteorites are something like that.