Elucidation of Chapter One
Summary of Chapter One
Vonnegut's Rhetorical Strategies and Tone
Vonnegut narrates chapter one of his novel with a hollow and detached tone. He achieves this tone through empty comparisons and an overwhelming use of paratactic syntax. The diction in his empty comparisons is exact leaving a feeling of detachment from Vonnegut. His paratactic syntax is defined by polysyndeton and asyndeton. The use of these rhetorical strategies enable Vonnegut to argue that time or moments in time will always just be, meaning that moments, past or present or future, cannot be changed in anyway. His use of polysyndeton in chapter one portrays an endless train of words for the purpose of giving information. The information received lacks a middle man or humanistic touch; therefore, building the tone in the hollow direction. His asyndeton structures radiate feelings of unfinished thoughts, feelings of un-detailed ideas. Vonnegut also incorporates irony into chapter one. Some of his irony comes from a war story of a soldier being shot for stealing. The addition of the short memory adds to the hollowness Vonnegut is creating in chapter one.
Prediction for Slaughterhouse Five
Vonnegut explains to his audience that he is going to illustrate the destruction of Dresden as he saw it in the war. He acknowledges to the audience that it will be an anti-war book. Details in chapter one allude that the book will end with all the prisoners of war being freed, also Vonnegut promises that the name will be “The Children’s Crusade” because those fighting the war were babies in the war. Simply boys fighting for someone else; simply boys who are not yet men. Vonnegut uses his last paragraph in chapter one to convey the exact words the novel will begin and end with. Although Vonnegut argues that the novel will be an anti-war novel, his underlying argument is that event, in wartime or in peacetime are unavoidable pieces of time that make up all of time. Vonnegut depicts very clearly exactly what his audience should expect from his novel.