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Pages and Files
By Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
Wiki page By Ben Z.
What if you knew how your life would turn out to be? What if you saw your birth and your death? What if you saw everything in between? Now imagine seeing it all in random order, with no control over it whatsoever. This is how the main character in Slaughterhouse 5, Billy Pilgrim, lives his life.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (aka. Kurt Vonnegut) was born in November 1922 (in Indianapolis) and lived until April 2007. He is known to be a humanist and was the president of the American Humanist Association. His first published story was "Report on the Barn house Effect", afterwards he wrote "Cat's Cradle", "Slaughterhouse Five" and "Timequake" before he stopped writing. He is also to be a very anti-war person, which shows in the book Slaughterhouse Five.
The Book is written in Omniscient Third Person, because not only does it revolve around the main character but it sometimes tells the background of others. You can tell by the following passage "The speaker at the Lions Club meeting was a major in the Marines. He said the Americans had no choice but to keep fighting in Vietnam until they..." Now the main character didn't even have a conversation with him and the narrator already knows his background. The genre is science fiction, because Billy Pilgrim travels through time... and also there are aliens. Also the book is written very strangely and untraditional by telling you what the first words and what the last words in the book are (Listen: Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time. and poo-tee-weet?) and by adding "So it goes" at the end of most of the sentences. Also almost nothing is in chronological order, everything goes in random order from his birth to his death. Also, the first chapter is about the author in his point of view, as he writes this book. So the style is really interesting.
The Diction in the story is neutral and informal. There are lots of slang terms used during the WWII scenes in this book. Also it uses a little bit of Military Jargon, by using specific Military Ranks. The tone at first seems serious but then strangely it becomes more light because of the humor. Which is obvious in the following passage "She asked Gluck if he wasn't awfully young to be in the army. he admitted he was. She asked Edgar Derby if he wasn't awfully old to be in the army. He said he was. She asked Billy Pilgrim what he was supposed to be. Billy said he didn't know. He was just trying to keep warm. 'All the real soldiers are dead' she said. It was true."
There are even references to other books like
The Red Badge of Courage,
Which Billy reads while being in Dresden during WWII.
Even though this book is written strangely, it is really well written and it tells this amazing tale about Billy Pilgrim, a time traveling eye doctor. The book also has lots of humor (which is very similar to Douglas Adam's humor) and a great ending. The book is also very original. All in all, its a great book.
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Author's Note: R.I.P. Kurt Vonnegut.
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