Friday, July 19, 2019

The Parallel Plot Lines in Slaughterhouse-Five :: Slaughterhouse-Five Essays

The Parallel Plot Lines in Slaughterhouse-Five Kurt Vonnegut is and will always in my eyes and in the eyes of many others the writer who made the science-fiction genre safe for not only mainstream appeal, but also critical acclaim and intellectual contemplation. Even though Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey and Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker series were released in roughly the same timeframe as Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five, none has held the same aura of respect and significance to the literary zeitgeist as Vonnegut's monumental masterpiece. The respect Slaughterhouse-Five garnishes among bookworms and the intellectual elite alike is no accident. Kurt Vonnegut's universal acclaim and appeal surely comes in no small part from his gift for connecting, almost unnoticiably, seemingly unrelated objects and events to give them deeper meaning, creating a phenomenon known within Jungian circles as synchronicity. By making his novel so multi-layered by drawing these comparisons, such as in being transported from a train car into a POW camp to an extraterrestrial spaceship that hums like a melodious owl, human beings being trapped within each moment in time like an insect in amber, and the writer's own repetition of his current project to a jokey old song, the writer gives us a deeper insight into the real multi-layeredness of space and time. When Billy Pilgrim and his fellow POWs are transported out of their train car and toward the POW camp, Vonnegut compares the calm peeking-in and speech of the Axis power guards to the behavior of an owl. The owl had been mentioned earlier in the novel, more specifically in the persona of a clock hanging in Billy's office, and is brought up again here to describe Billy's antagonists: "The guards peeked in Billy's car owlishly, cooed calmingly." By using the owl already mentioned in the novel as a metaphor, Vonnegut makes an otherwise uncomfortable and tense situation more familiar. The writer uses this metaphor again while telling of the movement of the POWs out of the train car

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.