Chapter 1 Exemplification
Setting and Background
Slaughterhouse Five, a novel written by Kurt Vonnegut, was written during the mid-1900’s. Vonnegut, who serves as the narrator throughout Chapter 1, reveals that he was captured and kept as a prisoner of war; or POW, during his service in Dresden, Germany, which prepares the readers for the rest of his novel. Although he acts as the narrator in the first Chapter, we are led by a new character known as Billy Pilgrim in Chapter 2. Vonnegut acts as the narrator during Chapter 1 only in order to show the audience that his book is more of a memoir, rather than just another fiction war story. Vonnegut’s narration in Chapter 1 helps show that he is indeed part of the novel, and not detached from his book, which in return makes the readers think of Vonnegut as the main narrator rather than Billy Pilgrim. Slaughterhouse Five was written during the Post Modernism period, which is why the distinction between fiction and reality is closely made, “All this happened, more or less” (Vonnegut 1). Because the story might not be as believable without Vonnegut’s experiences of Dresden’s firebombing, he gains credibility for his novel by introducing the fact that he was in fact there when the bombing took place. Vonnegut also tends to write in short, declarative sentences, even in the first few pages, which creates a more dark and dry writing style.. “I got O’Hare on the line in this way. He is short and I am tall. We were Mutt and Jeff in the war. We were captured together in the war. I told him who I was on the telephone. He had no trouble believing it. He was up. He was reading. Everybody else in the house was asleep” (Vonnegut 4). Vonnegut’s use of asyndeton helps make his writing more direct and to the point, taking away all forms of confusion during reading. As Vonnegut continues through Chapter 1, he reveals to the audience his life after being released. He states how he bought a house, got married, and had children attempting to leave his POW life in the past. Even though that part of his life is over, Vonnegut often remembers his experiences in Dresden. To fulfill these memories, we are told Vonnegut stays up late at night calling old war buddies and girlfriends just to relive the forgotten.