The Disjointed Structure Of Billy's Life After War

473 Words2 Pages
The disjointed structure of Billy’s life after war parallels the disjointed structure of the novel. By juxtaposing Billy as a “senile widower and awakening on his wedding day,” his character travels through a cyclical narrative. Unlike a linear progression, a circle ends up right where it started and achieves nothing new; similarly, Billy’s experiences of war do not improve over time; not matter how old he becomes, his war memories will forever haunt him. By “seeing his birth and death many times,” he undergoes many regenerations, never fully escaping his war experiences despite being in various places, ranging from Tralfmadore to his life in New York. Repeating the words “he says” three times, Billy’s time-travel is a product of his insanity from war.…show more content…
The structure experiences Billy’s life as he lives it—always returning back to Dresden and continuing life without suspense or logic. Vonnegut’s blending of the Tralfamadorian world with Billy’s human life emphasizes how deeply the war has affected Billy. Time traveling and hallucinating about other universes are Billy’s copings mechanism to escape the horror of his world—war. For example, when Billy stares at the face of a Russian prisoner and comments that their “faces [appear] like radium dials,” he leaps to a moment in his past and recalls when he was terrified of the dark and how his father’s glowing radium watch gave him comfort (115). Although Billy is in a desolate situation, he is still able to maintain hope by linking terrifying events with comforting memories in his mind, creating an jumbled perception that blurs past and present. By creating this altered order in Billy’s mind – an order mirrored in the structure – Vonnegut conveys hope even in the worst situations and emphasizes that life follows a familiar and comforting

More about The Disjointed Structure Of Billy's Life After War

Open Document