Slaughter House – Five as an American Novel Slaughterhouse – Five by Kurt Vonnegut is clearly an American novel. Vonnegut wrote this novel in an attempt to show Americans how they make mistakes as humans, and to do this, he had to link them to the book somehow. He accomplished this by including different aspects of American life, such as the family, the material possessions of Americans, and items that are purely American. By doing this, Vonnegut ensures that the people reading the book will be drawn in an able to identify with it. The images and symbols Vonnegut uses easily distinguish Slaughterhouse – Five as an American novel.
Billy Pilgrim, the main character of the novel, is where most of the family is focused. Billy has two children, one boy and one girl, and he also has a dog, named Spot. This is a perfect representation of the American family. Vonnegut, describes this perfect American family in the lines, Billy became rich. He had two children, Barbara and Robert. In time, his daughter Barbara married another optometrist, and Billy set him up in business.
Billys son Robert had a lot of trouble in high school, but then he joined the famous Green Berets. He straightened out, became a fine young man, and fought in Vietnam (24-25).
Billys son went off to fight for the country and his daughter married a man in the same business as her father. This view of the American family is what everyone strives for, but rarely captures. The materialism displayed by the American family is also stressed by Vonnegut. He tries to show that the characters in the novel are very materialistic.
... and bad, we will make strides to make our African American families better. References Byrd, V. (2003). Buying a home. Essence. ... above characteristics. Keywords: culture My African American Cultural Family Background History of How Africans became American When a person begins their search ... will tell the cultural background of my family. I am an African American woman who was born in the South ...
This materialism is, sadly, a definite sign of Americanism. America was established with the idea that anyone could come here and make it, but rules quickly became established about what it really meant to make it. The stories of rags to riches have come to represent what America is. Vonnegut tells us in this novel that we have moved away from what is important and put to much power into things like money and possessions. We have come to the point that destroying culture isnt a problem as long as we find out that our bombs work the way they should.
By drawing a parallel between the characters in the book and the readers, as Vonnegut did, he allows us to identify with them and see the problems first hand. Vonnegut also allows Americans to identify with the novel by using things that are purely American. Some of these things are physical items, such as Billys own Cadillac El Dorado Coupe de Ville (57), an American car. Also, when Billy wants to spread the story of his trip to Tralfamadore, he immediately searched for a TV station to air his story. This is a very American concept, the use of TV to promote oneself. Then, according to Billy, when the Tralfamadorians took Billy from earth, they stopped at Sears, an American store, to steal furniture to make Billy comfortable.
When Billy gets to Tralfamadore, he finds that the aliens pasted a western to the TV set to make him feel comfortable. He describes by saying, There was a picture of one cowboy killing another one pasted to the television tube (112).
Vonnegut uses these objects to let Americans know that he is purposely talking to them. If the symbols and ideals that Vonnegut produces arent enough to make this an American novel, he also just comes out and makes comments directly about the American way of life. When talking about Billys mother, Vonnegut says, Like so many Americans, she was trying to construct a life that made sense from things she found in gift shops (39).
This American novel is purposely written this way in order to pull Americans into the book and make them realize the truths they may hide..