We all Fall Down

Explication of Slaughterhouse Five


The main setting of chapter 1 is Kurt Vonnegut's house. The narrator is the author. Vonnegut uses his personal perspective to provide an intimate closeness for the reader. When Vonnegut moves the story over to Billy Pilgrim, the setting changes to Dresden in 1944. Vonnegut uses sarcasm to make events seem less horrifying like other authors in the Post Modernism. To contrast with most Post Modernism authors, Vonnegut puts his purpose for writing the story at the start.

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Vonnegut introduces a tone of melancholy and loneliness within the first chapter. Through the use of asyndeton and polysyndeton, Vonnegut reveals an argument of, Death is not the end of a persons time. The horrible events Vonnegut decribes in the book are contradictory to the tone he uses. Vonnegut's emotions seem to be kept in check. The main syntactic choice Vonnegut uses is repition, which is present with his use of polysyndeton.

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Vonnegut will be arguing that time and the concept of death are always present and people dwell more than they should. The reader should be expected to see an apparent use of death and that dwelling is acceptable but only to a certain degree. The Tralfamadorians will be a heavy influence on the main character. Many people are either going to die around the main character or disappear and never be found.

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Vonnegut's use of motifs is heavily present within the first chapter. The two major ones are: So-it-goes and time. So-it-goes will be used throughout the book to talk about death. Vonnegut refers to death in a serious manner, but with a comedic use of words to make his point. Time is another major motif in the first chapter 1. The most prevalent use of time is when he keeps calling himself "an old fart"( Vonnegut). He keeps jumping between pieces of time to emphasize that time isn't just one stream of events but many branching pathways. Vonnegut is able to weave a complex inner story and take advantage of the reader to make his point.