The symbolism of earth and tralfamadore in slaughterhouse five by kurt vonnegut

Plot[ edit ] The story is told in a nonlinear order, and events become clear through flashbacks or time travel experiences from the unreliable narrator.

The symbolism of earth and tralfamadore in slaughterhouse five by kurt vonnegut

After reading the only Earthling novel onboard, he is given some Tralfamadorian books.

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Unable to read the alien language, he is surprised that the books' tiny text is laid out in brief knots of symbols separated by stars.

He is told that the clumps of symbols are like telegrams — short, urgent messages. Tralfamadorians read them all at once, not one after the other; there is no beginning, no middle, no end. There are no causes, no effects. As the saucer enters a time warp, Billy is hurled back into his childhood: He is twelve years old.

With his father and mother, he is visiting the Grand Canyon.

Jumping ahead ten more days, he is still with his family on the same trip, only now they are in the bowels of Carlsbad Caverns. Billy prays for God to deliver him before the ceiling collapses.

Suddenly, he finds himself back in Germany. He and his fellow POWs are marched to a shed, where a one-armed, one-eyed corporal writes their names and serial numbers in a ledger. Now the prisoners are legally alive — moments before, they were missing in action.

Following a quarrel between a guard who understands English and an American who mutters some offensive remark, each prisoner is given a dog tag with a number stamped on it.

The tag is perforated through the center: In case of death it can be snapped in two — one part to mark the corpse, the other to mark the grave. Billy and his fellow prisoners are housed with a group of fifty spirited Englishmen, who have been imprisoned for four years.

That night in the Englishmen's compound, the English officers perform a musical version of Cinderella. Watching it, Billy begins to laugh hysterically, and then he begins to shriek. He continues shrieking until he is carried out of the shed to the hospital, where he is tied down in bed and given a shot of morphine.

The morphine triggers another time trip, this time to spring Billy finds himself in a New York veterans' hospital, where he has voluntarily committed himself to a ward for nonviolent mental patients.

In the bed next to Billy is a former infantry captain named Eliot Rosewater, who introduces Billy to the science-fiction novels of Kilgore Trout. Billy and Rosewater have one thing in common — both have found life meaningless and are trying to come to grips with the horrors of World War II.

During the war, Rosewater mistook a year-old fireman for a German soldier and shot him. Billy experienced the senseless destruction of life during the firebombing of Dresden.

Science fiction is a tool that Billy and Rosewater both use to reconstruct themselves and their universe. In a split second, Billy is flung back to before being hurled ahead once more to the veterans' hospital.


Drawn into their conversation, Rosewater tells them that he is reading a Kilgore Trout novel, The Gospel from Outer Space, about an alien who visits Earth and writes a new Gospel.

In the new Gospel, Jesus is not the Son of God, yet people still decide to lynch this nobody. Billy time trips again, and this time he travels to the Tralfamadore zoo, where he is confined in a geodesic dome.

Outside the dome, thousands of Tralfamadorians observe him. Naked, Billy goes through the regimen of eating, washing the dishes, and putting them away; he does a series of exercises; he shaves, trims his toenails, and sprays deodorant under his arms.

Outside, a guide lectures telepathically to the crowd. When one of the spectators asks Billy if he is happy on Tralfamadore, he answers that he is about as happy as he was on Earth.Tralfamadore is their home planet.

Details on the inhabitants of the planet vary from novel to novel: Details on the inhabitants of the planet vary from novel to novel: In Slaughterhouse-Five, Tralfamadore is the home to beings who exist in all times simultaneously, and are thus privy to knowledge of future events, including the destruction of the universe at the hands of a Tralfamadorian test Terrestrial planet.

The symbolism of earth and tralfamadore in slaughterhouse five by kurt vonnegut

The timeline below shows where the character Tralfamadorians appears in Slaughterhouse-Five. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.

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In Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut incorporated many places and time frames. Earth and Tralfamadore are the two main places and also contain many differences. Earth symbolizes reality in many senses, while Tralfamadore symbolizes fantasy. Slaughterhouse Five Brittany & Andy Protagonist Overview Billy Pilgrim, a young optometrist POW in WWII Mentally unstable Unfit for participating in war "Time travels" to escape the harsh reality of the war Kurt Vonnegut's Style Straight forward, upfront, and minimalistic Sentences are dry, and lacking adjectives Ex.

"As many Americans were. Although Slaughterhouse-Five as a physical space only appears in the novel in a few sections, it is a powerful symbol running through the entire work.

It is, ironically, in this slaughterhouse . In a sense, maybe the act of writing Slaughterhouse-Five is a way of fighting against the powerlessness and sorrow that World War II, the Germans, the Tralfamadorians, and even death itself seem to .

SparkNotes: Slaughterhouse-Five: Themes, page 2