Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut discusses various interesting topics, such as one’s PTSD from war and free will, through the non-linear narrative.
Writing in a non-linear narrative in the novel raises the question of free will. To do that, Vonnegut narrates Billy Pilgrim unstuck in time, where he is involuntarily unable to choose where he goes next, and there is no beginning, middle or end. If everything is already predetermined, is there any point in trying? In the novel, billy gets drafted to the war, and he is improperly trained, but he survives while many other soldiers that are much better die, making readers question if this is because of fate or coincidence. Other than that, “so it goes” is used frequently when there is a death; this presents the idea of the Tralfamodorian, where a person may be dead at the moment but alive in another. It conflicts with the readers existing concept of death and grief.
While another perspective of writing in a non-linear narrative suggests that it expresses Billy’s PTSD from the war. The confusion created among the readers caused the structure, representing how Billy experiences his life in disorder, where he cannot tell the reality to cope or escape from the world. This gives readers a glimpse of one’s experiences with PTSD and the difficulties that a soldier goes back to a ‘normal’ life after all the trauma they have gone through.
In conclusion, even though this novel created a lot of confusion among the readers about the non-linear structure, the different topics and questions are interesting. It makes readers question the world we live in and whether we have control of our own lives.