“Slaughterhouse-Five” is Kurt Vonnegut’s autobiographical novel about the bombing of Dresden during the Second World War.
The book opens with the story of the author about himself, about his post-war prosperous life. This story takes a short first chapter and precedes the main narrative. Vonnegut writes directly how long he went to his “main”, as he calls it, a book about the war and the bombing of Dresden, how he hatched plans, but he could not write it until he became “old.” The end of this chapter is very important for understanding the concept of the novel as a whole and the author’s relationship to the events described.
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Then follows the main narrative, in which the author appears only two or three times as an episodic character. The main hero is Billy Pilgrim, who, as a result of the shock caused by the war, begins to travel in time, and after a plane crash experienced already in peacetime, also begins to visit the distant planet Tralfamador. Such a state of the hero can be rationally motivated by the disorder of his psyche, the influence of an immoderate reading of science fiction novels. It can be taken as a conditional fantastic reality. Most likely, however, this is both, and the third, and another philosophical allegory. In terms of the poetics of the novel, it is a metaphor that organizes its artistic construction.
This book, in addition to the interesting style of the text, is fully inherent in the anti-war humanistic message. The hero is destined not only to go through the horrors of war, but also to suffer the collapse of his own life.