The Voices of the Discontent and Slaughterhouse Five
Start writing a post
Entertainment

The Voices of the Discontent and Slaughterhouse Five

A reflection on the anti-war book's impact on the nation

69
The Voices of the Discontent and Slaughterhouse Five
The Raiders' Digest

Recently, I got the chance to go back and relive one of my favorite books, "Slaughterhouse Five" by Kurt Vonnegut. It's an odd book. It's a sad book, filled with graphic images of violence and suffering U.S. soldiers faced during the climax of World War II. This is also the book where a man gets kidnapped by aliens that look like plungers with hands for heads and time travels through his entire life. The language is so simple that anyone could've written this book, but it's also has moments of pure brilliance that you have to reread to make sure you read it right. It's a great book for those who have reservations about reading, and is one of the funnest books to read.

But why is "Slaughterhouse Five" considered a literary classic? Besides being one of the few pieces of literature that attempts to describe one of least well-known, but equally tragic, bombings during World War II, it's also an anti-war book. Though you won't pick up on that at first; Vonnegut seems to just be describing the events of one man's life, events that sometimes blur the line between reality and fiction. But Vonnegut makes sure you know that he does not find war to be a productive invention, and is able to convey the horror that occur after the main character watches the beautiful city of Dresden, Germany, burn away into a desolate wasteland. Being a survivor helps too; Vonnegut also watched Dresden burn, and returned home with scars that he could only showcase through his writing, and even then it's almost like he didn't say enough.

Vonnegut wrote this book at a time of chaos. It was 1969, and the United States was undergoing a lot of change. The Vietnam War was starting up, a war no one believed could be won. Racism was rampant, even after the Civil Rights Movement won their rights. And the government had been untrustworthy since Nixon resigned from office. The world was burning into a crisp.

So it's so surprise that "Slaughterhouse Five" became a bestseller. With its anti-war views and how much it affects the main character to the point where he becomes delusional, it probably resonated with so many young people. Look, somebody finally gets it! Someone gets what we're feeling! Perhaps it fueled the pessimism the country was having against Vietnam. Perhaps it changed some people's views on war. Who knows? But it didn't become a literary classic just because it was a funny book. It had the power to voice a generation's fears and concerns, even for just a moment. It became a friend of the rebellion.

I wonder what book in our generation will have the same power as "Slaughterhouse Five"? Even now, I hear about riots, bringing down the establishment, etc. People are angry at our government, wanting to fight back and dreaming for a better day. And I have to wonder when we'll start seeing this dissent in our literature. The news is littered with the voices of the discontented, calling for action. But with every bad moment in history, it is our books that carry the weight. Even when the book involves time travel and freaky aliens, books are able to deliver messages of anger, fear, worry and hope. They reflect what we, the people, are thinking, more so than any branch of government. Because that's the power words have on the people.

For a book that likes to make you laugh, "Slaughterhouse Five" really knows how to make you think.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Featured

Planning Another Christmas Party

Don't just plan another plain party but get creative to have everyone wanting to come back next year!

6451
Getty Famous

You know it's Christmas when the radio stations change to all of your favorite holiday tunes, the air is still, and stores have the best sales. With all my favorite things from Christmas happening my least favorite probably has to be when I have to go to another same old boring Christmas party that I get invited to every year. Here are some Christmas party ideas so that you won't have another sad Christmas party.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

High School Soccer is Wildly Important

For Young Players Who Want to Succeed at The Next Level

11811
High School Soccer is Wildly Important

Whose choice is it? The parent? The player? There are a number of reasons that a kid may sit out of high school soccer, and to be completely honest; It is a huge mistake. High school soccer is the final piece in the puzzle that takes a player from above average or elite, to college ready by the end of their senior year. Every year thousands of talented athletes don't play for their high schools. Why though?

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

8 Things That Should Be On Everyone's Holiday To-Do List

December is around the corner, are you ready?

9683
8 Things That Should Be On Everyone's Holiday To-Do List
Unsplash.com

As they tend to say, its the most wonderful time of the year! People have begun to compile their Christmas to-do lists in anticipation for the season of sugarplums and gingerbread.

The history of the Christmas to-do lists goes back hundreds of years, almost as old as the holiday itself, however, people tend to fall out of this habit as they get older. This is unfortunate, as the theme of Christmas tradition can add bundles of the spirit of joy to your families.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Fall Weather Must-Haves

Put away the swim suits and your favorite high-waisted shorts!

9693

The transitional months of fall can cause some fashion headaches as you try to figure out what clothing to keep in your closet. With limited amount of college living space and the ever-unpredictable Nebraska weather, sometimes it’s difficult to know what should be taking up that precious closet space as you transition into winter. As you pack away those tanks and shorts for the chilly months ahead, get your closet ready with a few Fall must-haves. 

Keep Reading... Show less
Content Inspiration

Top 3 Response Articles of This Week

Take a look at the articles driving big conversations on Odyssey.

8510
https://www.theodysseyonline.com/video/we-are-rollins-odyssey
https://www.theodysseyonline.com/video/we-are-rollins-odyssey

At Odyssey, we're on a mission to encourage constructive discourse on the Internet. That's why we created the response button you can find at the bottom of every article.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments