Theme of Time in Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

With each tick of the clock, precious moments slip away. Time, like matter, can neither be created nor destroyed.

The future cannot be seen and the past cannot be changed. People who choose to dwell on past experiences dwell in vain. No amount of will power can erase the past. It exists as a memory. Kurt Vonnegut presents an interestingly satirical attitude about time and in his novel Slaughterhouse Five through Billy Pilgrim and the Tralfamadorians.

The Tralfamadorians believe that all time is continuous. It is not. These aliens believe that death is not a matter that should be viewed as sad, thinking that the deceased still exist in the past. Death, the ultimate end to all, should be viewed as a significant event. E.E.

Cummings wrote in his poem Since Feeling is First that “death I think is no parenthesis,” meaning that in the paragraph of life, death deserves a well structured sentence, not a brief mention. Death is the end of time for someone. A person ceases to be nothing but a memory. Billy Pilgrim views death as a nonissue.

Billy explains in his letter about his abduction by the Tralfamadorians, “When I myself hear that somebody is dead, I simply shrug and say what the Tralfamadorians say about dead people, which is ‘So it goes’,”(27). Billy is. Vonnegut made him the epitome of an indifferent man. Through him, Vonnegut satirizes the idea that human life is not valuable. Life needs to be celebrated.

Billy’s whole view about death stems from his skewed opinion about time, which tests the very framework of the logical human mind. Moment by moment life moves forward, each new moment erasing the previous one out of existence. The ludicrous notion that all moments in the past, present, and future all exist at the same time is preposterous. Time represents the moments of here and now. People in the present can look into the past, and prophesize about the future, but the only real element of time is the present. Tangible monuments, like.

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Theme of Time in Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. (2018, Aug 24). Retrieved from