PTSD In Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five

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Slaughterhouse-Five, an American classic written by Kurt Vonnegut, is one of the “world’s great antiwar books.” Centering on the infamous firebombing of Dresden, Billy Pilgrim’s journey through time reflects on the author’s own experiences in World War II. From this he developed, “combat fatigue,” or PTSD as it was known then. What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)? It is a condition of persistent mental and emotional stress occurring as a result of injury or severe psychological shock, typically involving disturbance of sleep and constant vivid recall of the experience, with dulled responses to others and to the outside world. In my opinion, I believe that Billy Pilgrim or Vonnegut did develop a form of PTSD. How? In “Combat Trauma, Memory, and the World War II Veteran” by Ron Langer, it mentions that PTSD symptoms became prominent in midlife for veterans. It usually developed because the most significant precipitant was retirement. During a war, a soldier doesn’t have the time to think about the atrocities that he has just witnessed, rather he has to overcome it as quickly as he can and do what it takes to survive. For Billy surviving as a German POW meant looking like a dirt flamingo, wearing a blue toga,…show more content…
Cognitive therapies are psychotherapies that are based on looking at how a person understands an event, how they process it in their own minds. Memories get laid down a certain way, and they may be in a way that lead to combat trauma. This can prevent the recovery of the individual. So cognitive therapies tend to have the individual re-look some of these events by either talking or writing about it. In this case, Vonnegut wrote about Slaughterhouse Five for the purpose of relieving himself of his trauma that he developed because of the

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