So It Goes
Explication of Chapter 1 of Slaughterhouse Five
Analysis of Vonneguts Syntax
In chapter one of Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut introduces various motifs that will occur throughout the duration of the novel. “So it goes” is perhaps the most prominent motif in the text that repeatedly shows the death of countless individuals. In chapter one, Vonnegut states, “his mother was incinerated in the Dresden fire-storm. So it goes,” (2). From this quote, readers see that “so it goes” is displayed after the death of his mother. Perhaps Vonnegut constantly uses this phrase as a sort of mediation for him concerning all of the deaths that he has to overcome. Vonnegut also presents another motif “poo-tee-weet” in chapter one. The significance of this phrase is to exemplify that there is nothing left to be said regarding the war. In chapter one, Vonnegut states, “It ends like this: Poo-tee-weet,” (22). This quote reveals that there is simply nothing to say at all; therefore, Vonnegut uses the motif “poo-tee-weet” to display the confusion and unspoken words during the war.
Summary of Chapter One
In chapter one of Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut begins by introducing himself as the narrator. To display his personal experience, to illustrate the truth about the war from his beliefs, is the structure Vonnegut uses in his novel. By using himself as the narrator and sharing his personal perspective, Vonnegut seeks to grasp the reader by discussing the horrible things he encountered while he was serving in Dresden. His ideas relate to post modernism. They display a sense of denying the absolute truth. Vonnegut seeks take away the portrayed glory of war. He wants to identify the cruelty of it. Throughout the first chapter the setting jumps from place to place as he meets with individuals who give him insight to the war; however, the main setting is Dresden and he discusses the time that he went back in 1967. Vonnegut “thought it would be easy to write about the destruction of Dresden,” but throughout chapter one he shows the struggle to write about such a negative topic. (2) Vonnegut first meets with an old friend, Bernard V. O’Hare and he tells him that he is writing a book about Dresden and asked him for help remembering things. A few weeks later, Vonnegut goes to meet O’Hare off Cape Cod to have a face-to-face discussion regarding passed wartime experiences and memories. During their conversation, O’Hare’s wife, Marry, explains why that she doesn’t like the idea of the book because she doesn’t want individuals to feel that its right for children to be fighting in the war; she doesn’t want for her own children to have to experience the horrific fights during the war. Vonnegut wrote this chapter to show readers the truth about the war, shares his journey of writing the novel, while the duration of Slaughterhouse Five illustrates detail about memoires and past times of the war.