Perception In Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five

934 Words4 Pages
In Kurt Vonnegut's novel, Slaughterhouse Five, perception plays a major role in the characters lives. Billy Pilgrim’s unique experience in time can be explained by his insanity. After the war, Billy had acquired an anxiety disorder called Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which allowed him to relive his experiences of war, thus “become unstuck in time”. His delusions ultimately make Slaughterhouse Five a psychological novel instead of a science fiction novel because of the books’ focus on Billy’s perspective and effects of the events that take place. His unique experience of time is a result of his method of coping, creating another universe. This other universe, influenced by his own, is where he finds comfort in with new philosophies…show more content…
In Tralfamadore, the aliens are called Tralfamadorians and can see in four dimensions, which meant that they were able to see the past, present, and future all taking place at the same time. This had fascinated Billy to no end, he created a scenario where he was abducted by these creatures and kept in an exhibit similar to a zoo with the attractive, young actress Montana Wildhack to appease the Tralfamadorians curiosity for the human race. After he returns to Earth, he begins to experience leaps in time, or as Vonnegut puts it, becomes “unstuck in time”. Billy had access to different memories and situations of his past and would jump from memory to memory continuously and uncontrollably. Unlike him, the Tralfamadorians could simply avoid the less desirable parts in time by simply trying not to look at them, however his illness did not allow him to have the choice of deciding which memories to relive and which to…show more content…
“All this happened, more or less. The war parts, anyway, are pretty much true” (1) is the opening line of the novel stating that the events in the novel are partially true from the start. He is also proved to be an unreliable source when it is mentioned he suffered from a head injury and said that he admitted himself to a mental hospital because Billy himself suspected that there was something wrong with him. His mental illness also makes him an unreliable source because he is unable to distinguish which parts of his life are true and real and which are

More about Perception In Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five

Open Document