The Theme of Time Travelling in Slaughterhouse-Five, a Novel by Kurt Vonnegut
Is time travel a mere illusion or can it really exist? In the novel Slaughter House Five by Kurt Vonnegut the existence of time travel is portrayed. Vonnegut does not use time travel to change the future or the past, just to visit it. He uses Billy Pilgrim to express his views of time, and it is up to the reader to figure out what this is. He deals with real situations as well as science fiction or fantasy. A real situation is such that of a plane crash and a fantasy would be a visit to another planet, known as Tralfamadore in the novel.
His writing is very unique, you can say that Billy Pilgrim is really time traveling or that he is dreaming. Both of these are reasonable explanations behind the book. One way to analyze this is to pick a particular point of view. The way I believe that Vonnegut is telling the story is through a dream sequence. I believe that Billy is dreaming and that when he comes across a disturbing memory he leaps into another time period, another dream. By leaping through time you stay out of reality. It’s like being in another world without actually being there. This is the best and easiest way to get away from in all.
Billy’s seems to have many unpleasant memories and each time one surfaces he goes back or forward in time. If someone died, or something didn’t go the way it should have, he leaped. When the reader finally begins to understand what’s going on and where he is at a particular time, Vonnegut changes the time period.. Why does Billy’s time travel? He says it’s because of the Tralfamadorians. They did this to him so that he would never have to face the real world. I believe that this is from the war and its’s post traumatic stress disorder. It seems that he can’t handle dissatisfaction, he doesn’t want to handle it. He is not out to change the future of the past though. He is just there to get out of the present moment that he was in before the time that he leaps.
Billy Pilgrim believes in fate and that it’s not his place to go around and change what was done or is going to happen. If something should happen it’s going to weather he alters it in some way or not. I would think that time travel would be a way of fixing you mistakes but he doesn’t want to. Another thing is that he knows all about the day he is going to die. He knows all the details: where, when, and how. This doesn’t matter to Billy though because he is always leaping, so, when he comes to his death he would just leap to an earlier, more pleasant time. When he would try to tell people about this they would laugh at him and call him crazy, so, he keeps it to himself.
This form of time travel makes the book more interesting but at the same time, ten times more confusing. Time travel is a popular book writing technique that is used by many authors. This lets people get away from reality and believe something out of the ordinary. If there were time traveler, I mean real time travelers today the same thing would probably happen. People would laugh at him and call him crazy, send him for an evaluation and possibly send him to jail. Sometimes it’s just best not to say anything. The best thing is that you can always go back and visit the best and most important times in you life. This is n open window, something that could happen in your life time. To all the time travelers out there, keep up the good work. See you in the future.