Vonnegut's Illustration of Destructiveness of War.
Slaughterhouse-Five was written by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. in 1953. Whether the book is an antiwar novel or a science fiction novel is ambiguous, but after writing this book, Vonnegut insists that it was a failure. Failure it is not according to many critics. Rather than just writing an anti-war/science fiction novel, Vonnegut wrote a tale of the trials and tribulations resulting from the complete and utter destruction of Dresden during World War II. In Slaughterhouse-Five, Vonnegut develops the protagonist, Billy Pilgrim along with utilizing science fiction and satire to demonstrate the destructiveness of war. .
Vonnegut uses satire and fiction to ironically display the destructiveness of war. In Slaughterhouse-Five, "Vonnegut comes at last in direct confrontation with his Dresden experience" (Keogh and Kislatis 172). John Somer adds, "It took him twenty three years to write his lousy little book" (222). In fact, because Vonnegut found it so difficult to write about the bombing of Dresden, "He comments on the reality of Dresden by treating the problems as fiction" (Giannone 83). One critic establishes that Vonnegut enjoys playing with fiction, using it to represent truth or reality (Meeter 208-209). Glenn Meeter adds that Billy alone is a separate version of the role of fiction in the novel by describing his space adventures and time warps (210-211). Billy's character is satirical in itself, for he is a weak and feeble man, not fit to fight a war. Ironically, J.G. Keogh and Edward Kislastis agree, "At the core of the characterization of Billy Pilgrim is the conception of war as a children's crusade" (182). Vonnegut introduces Edgar Derby to further strengthen the ills of war: .
I think the climax of the book will be the execution of poor old Edgar Derby The irony is so great. A whole city gets burned down, and thousands and thousands of people are killed.