There is nothing laudable about young people leaving their homes in order to fight for their countries. Moreover, these young people are very different from how they are usually presented. They are frightened, horrified, and it would be absurd to call them war heroes, regardless of the role that they played in the war.
Vonneguts intention is to condemn war, and, thus, instead of providing his readers with a traditional hero-like figure, he gives Billy. The author sees the injustice in promoting heroes who are fascinating, as he knows that this would only serve in encouraging warfare. When it sees a model, the general public is normally inclined to become that model, despite the consequences of its actions. Stories of heroes are somewhat similar to advertisements, as they promote concepts that are not entirely true. However, fuelled by the actions performed by various heroes, people are most likely to want to follow on their footsteps. Vonnegut does not want Billy to become an icon, but, in contrast, he wants him to be presented as a victim, just as most people who have been part of a war are.
The memory of Dresden will never leave the authors mind, just as it will remain with Billy forever. The thought that all time happens simultaneously has a terrible effect on Billy, as he learns that the bombing of Dresden will never cease to exist. Postmodernism is yet again present in the novel, as it is introduced through the continuous bombing of Dresden, an incident to some extent similar to the Apocalypse.
Books such as “Slaughterhouse Five” are responsible for changing peoples views relating to life, and to how it should be lived. The novel is uniquely postmodernist, its effects on society certainly being strong, as it came up with something which little people ever thought of before.
Vonnegut does not merely want to condemn the bombing of Dresden for the irreparable damage that it provoked, but he wants to condemn war as a whole because of the irreparable damage that it provokes on everyone.
“Slaughterhouse Five” is, in its essence, an antiwar novel. Conversely, at some times, the author even attempts to deny the fact that it is meant to be an anti-war novel, as he apparently want it to be against typical anti-war novels, being aware that such books have little to no effect on readers.
Consequent to reading Vonneguts book, people are likely to be slightly amused by some of the events in it, even though this should be among the least expected outcomes of reading an anti-war novel.
It appears that the author does not believe that his book will ever achieve any fame, and he motivates this by claiming that it was impossible for him to put his thoughts into words, given the magnitude of the event which he concentrated on. Even with the failure which he expects his book to be, Vonnegut is not discontented. He accepts his failure, considering it to be just a part of his human character, similar to the one expressed by Lots wife when she chose to look back, in spite of being advised not to do so.
Vonnegut basically wants people to know that the people who returned home from World War Two were not heroes, as they were actually physically and mentally affected people, traumatized forever by what they witnessed there.
1. Barry, Peter. Beginning theory: an introduction to literary and cultural theory. Manchester University Press, 2002.