’s Style In “Slaught Essay, Research Paper
Kurt Vonnegut s style Throughout most of Vonnegut s career, he has put little consideration and description into his characters, perhaps as a way to make the reader more interested as to what will happen next, or what will be revealed next about the character. In any case, the character description, or lack thereof, of Kurt Vonnegut is very simple, so he can convey his feelings about the character immediately without having to list every last detail. For example, Vonnegut describes Billy Pilgrim, the main character of Slaughterhouse Five, as a funny-looking child that became a funny looking youth tall, weak, and shaped like a Coca-Cola bottle (23). Vonnegut doesn t include eye or hair color, a facial description, or a personality description, but he still very effectively gets his point across that Billy is a lanky, awkward, and funny-looking person. From this, Vonnegut s short description, we can immediately form a mental picture of the character. Vonnegut s diction remains the same throughout the narrative sections of the book, but the diction of the individual is prone to the individual character. This is another literary technique Vonnegut has mastered. Even though the narration stays constant, the diction of the characters is vastly different, so the reader doesn t become bored with the same writing style for all of the characters of a plot. For instance, Kilgore Trout, Vonnegut s fictional famous science fiction writer, is seen in Slaughterhouse Five running a paper delivery service. He has just announced that the boy or girl who sells the most subscriptions will get a trip to Martha s fucking Vineyard for a week, all expenses paid, if they would just get up and sell something for once. A little girl, overjoyed by the news, asks Trout if she could bring her sister too. His reply is, Hell no, you think money grows on trees? (167).
Vonnegut s narration can be seen as both third person and first person because Slaughterhouse Five is a mixture of both fiction and non-fiction. The majority of the story is written in third person, with Vonnegut narrating Billy s life. When Billy arrives at the Dresden work camp, though, for a brief moment Vonnegut shifts into first person, he being another soldier in the group. The effect of this shift into first person is a good effective step by Vonnegut, because it shows he is also a member of these men who fight to survive, he is not just an innocent bystander telling the story. Slaughterhouse Five has a complete lack of structure. One would think that the events to this story would all lead up to the bombing of Dresden, but it is quite the contrary. There are several separate plots that survive on their own without having anything to do with the bombing of Dresden and everything to do with Billy Pilgrim and his life after the war. Vonnegut visits the same scene two or three times, but only to show that Billy is unstuck in time. Vonnegut is also not a very emotional writer; he simply brings his ideas to the mind of the reader and lets the reader decide how to feel. The one technique that Vonnegut uses is humor, in the form of characters such as Kilgore Trout and the activities that they do and their dialogue. Vonnegut s comic relief provides a light atmosphere after the presentation of a complex or important story line.