Use of Literary Devices in Slaughterhouse-Five

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An educator on the topic of multi-dimensions states that, If we think of ourselves as we were one minute ago, and imagine ourselves as we are at this moment, [that] would be a line in the fourth dimension. If you were to see your body in the fourth dimension, you’d be like a long undulating snake… (?? ? ?). In the fourth dimension, all of one’s lifespan is viewed, so a normal human would appear snake-like with baby feet on one end, and aged feet on the other.

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All suffering, joy, and loss happens at the exact same time only in different sections of the snake. If the notion of a four dimensional reality is true, then that would mean that every single human effort to create a destiny or a better life does not exist because a fate is already planned without control of the individual. Everything that will be and everything that already happened exists at the same time, fixed in a particular moment in one’s lifespan. Not only that, but if one part of the snake is in trouble physically, and another moment is content, then that would mean ill-fortune is still ever-present. The book Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut uses imagery, parallelism, and similes to show that since war is never-ending and unavoidable, it is hopeless for an individual to escape its after effects ensuring that not one person nor a world will ever be free from it.

First of all, the use of imagery reflects how unfeasible it is to avoid obstacles as represented by the main character’s attempts to try and do so. After another one of Billy’s time travel escapades, he struggles out of a stationed military hospital in order to find the latrines outside. He delivered himself to a barbed-wire fence which snagged him in a dozen places. Billy tried to back away from it, but the barbs wouldn’t let go. So Billy did a silly little dance with the fence, taking a step this way, then that way, then returning to the beginning again (Vonnegut 123). The barbed wire fence represents an obstacle in Billy’s life, and in this case, any attempt to find a way around it is fruitless unless he goes back to the root or place before he got stuck. It is more impactful to the reader if they can visualize a scenario in which a problem cannot be solved unless one returns to a time before it happened. In order to avoid war, one must have never started it, which is impossible considering that the world has seen it before (Moody 75). In other words, the obstacles in both scenarios are unpreventable to overcome unless a person goes back to before the catastrophe took place so that the obstacle would have never existed.

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