Imagery In Slaughterhouse Five Essay

653 words - 3 pages

 Kurt Vonnegut's uses many images to enhance the overall effect of Slaughterhouse- Five. Throughout the novel, in both war scenes and in the protagonist's travels back and forward in time, the many images produce a believable story of the unusual life of Billy Pilgrim. Vonnegut uses color imagery, repetitive images, and images of pain and suffering to develop the novel and create situations that the reader can accept and comprehend.

Billy Pilgrim's life is far from normal. Throughout most of his adult life he has been moving backwards and forwards through time, from one event to another, in a non-sequential order. At least, this schizophrenic life is hard to understand. Because Vonnegut wants the reader to relate to Billy Pilgrim, he uses distinct images to tell the story.

One type of imagery in Slaughterhouse-Five is color imagery. While Billy is in the war, Vonnegut describes several pairs of "blue and ivory" feet. Billy's own hands and feet are blue and ivory, as are those of the corpses he glimpses during his march as prisoner of war (Vonnegut 65). These colors represent those that are cold, dead, or dying.

At another point in the novel, Billy describes his first time traveling experience.He began to "swing grandly through the full arc of his life, passing into death, which was violet light . . . going backwards into pre-birth, which was red light and bubbling sounds" (43). The careful and vivid depiction of colors enables the reader to relate to the experience.

Vonnegut also uses many images in a repetitive fashion. He talks about the blue and ivory feet several times, as well as the pattern of orange and black that appears both on the train taking prisoners to the war camp and on the wedding tent for Billy's daughter (69, 72). Furthermore, sleepers (Vonnegut and his wife, people in the prison camps) are repeatedly described as being "nestled like spoons" (70). Another common image is that of...

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