A Review Of Kurt Vonnegut’s Novel Slaughterhouse Five: Billy Pilgrims Past Experiences And How They Affect His Present

The History

Kurt Vonnegut wrote the novel Slaughterhouse 5. The character of Billy Pilgrim had past experiences that affected his present. Billy Pilgrim was a victim of terrible war events, including the Bombing in Dresden. This had resulted to many deaths. His past experiences have had a psychological impact on him, and his present mental state is influenced by them. His past experiences show that even though the suffering from war has ended, suffering can still be caused by war.

Billy Pilgrim’s experiences in war have impacted his psychological state. Billy Pilgrim thinks he was abducted from his planet Tralfamadore after he returns from war. He accepts the Tralfamadorians fourth dimension view of time (16). He also experiences “unstuck time” (14) which allows him to experience past, present and future events. Billy’s reaction to tragic events and deaths after the war is also apathetic. He says “so it goes” (5 every time he sees someone die). As a result of the war, Billy becomes mentally disturbed and begins to believe in imaginary concepts. Billy is untethered in time and can relive his horrific past. This is how it shows how even after someone has ended their participation in war, all of the horrible events that took place during war still affects them. Billy’s mental condition had been greatly affected by the war. As a way to deal with all the deaths he’d witnessed, Billy believes wholeheartedly in Tralfamadorians’ abduction. This is Billy’s escape strategy from the reality of wars, deaths, and other horrible events.

Kurt Vonnegut’s novel, Slaughterhouse 5, depicts Billy Pilgrim’s struggle with past issues. He is affected psychologically by his past of death and war. Billy’s relationship of war to the past shows the psychological effects war can have on a person. He continues to experience the sufferings caused by war through his timeshifting and uses Tralfamadorian to cope with all the horrendous events and deaths he saw while fighting.


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