Explication of Chapter 1

Of Slaughterhouse Five, By: John Wayne, Ryan, and Blake

Summary of Chapter 1 and Background Information

Slaughterhouse Five, written by Kurt Vonnegut, takes place in the years 1941 to 1967. The setting switches between America, Dresden (Germany), and the alien planet of Tralfamadore; however, the main location will be Dresden. Vonnegut starts the book off in a first-person narrative where Vonnegut is the narrator; however, he switches the narration into a third-person perspective for the rest of the book. Vonnegut decides to incorporate the first-person narration in order for the reader to gain background information as well as detach himself from the audience. The style of Vonnegut is serio-comical. He uses the comedic writing style to help him accept the past and look on towards the future. The seriousness occurs due to the devastating outlook of the events which he lived through.

Analysis of Rhetoric

Vonnegut uses asyndeton and anaphora in order to reveal a tone of painful satire. His diction of sentimental pain reveals how the novel is mostly for his acceptance of the bombing of Dresden. He uses repetitive examples of asyndeton to reinforce his longing for acceptance of Dresden. The use of anaphora reveals to the audience a sense of pity as well as a humorous aspect of Vonnegut's painful adventure. By having this pity as well as satire, the audience understands Vonnegut's acceptance of what happens at Dresden as well as realizing why war is wrong for all people of the world. By revealing his acceptance, by accepting the fact that he went to war, by choosing to use anaphora, by choosing to use asyndeton, Vonnegut creates his tone of painful satire which makes the audience feel pity. The sense of pity from the audience allows Vonnegut to have complete acceptance of Dresden.

Our inferrence of the novel

From what Vonnegut states in Chapter One of Slaughterhouse Five, the audience can infer that Billy Pligram will go through his whole life. The audience will experience his childhood. The audience will experience his war life. The audience will experience his prisoner of war life. The audience will experience the bombing of Dresden. The audience will experience Billy's travel to Tralfamadore. The audience will experience his post-war life. The audience will experience the death of Billy Pilgram. Throughout the journey of Billy Pilgram, Vonnegut reveals his message of realizing that whatever happens will always happen and you cannot change that fact.