After reading and analyzing Kurt Vonnegut’s, Slaughterhouse Five, the overall affect he wished to have was certainly obvious and able to be noted. It is obvious that propaganda often time makes war glamorized; Vonnegut is very successful when he takes the appeal out of war and depicts the awfulness of it.
Vonnegut first declares his anti-war views when the initial speaker visits an old military friend, O’Hare. While visiting he notes that he feels most uncomfortable due to the fact that his friend’s wife seems to be less than friendly and not thrilled with his visit. Eventually Mrs. O’Hare is no longer able to control herself and screams out, “You were just babies then!” (14). Mary O’Hare goes further to say that war is indeed glamorized through the use of movies and fears that her husbands friend will write some sort of bestseller that will be turned into a movie with handsome and famous actors playing them. This is clearly an attempt by Vonnegut to make his audience aware that the so called “men” fighting in the wars are often times not legally able to have a beer and are indeed very young to be fighting.
Further, several times Vonnegut refers to Derby as the oldest man in the war who has established a family and is the high school teacher. The constant reference to Derby in this way leads us to believe he is the only one that is old enough to be settled down and the only one who had a career. While these facts seemed to be redundant, it is obvious that the repetition was meant to remind us of the age gap and the age of those fighting in the war.
Vonnegut goes into detail with how horrible the conditions were during the war and how nothing was safe. He notes that Dresden was believed to be home free and within a matter of time it too was bombed. The often grotesque descriptions of the war were very effective in that they were able to touch the audience. While reading this I felt myself cringe and my heart went out to those who had to view the doings of mankind.
Vonnegut was very successful with connecting with his audience and forcing them to see what the soldiers in the war went through. He is absolutely correct that our society has a way of making war look noble and exciting yet many times fails to show the awfulness and the true affect it has on people as well as places. The characters in the book were funny, and kind, and very human, that is that I can imagine every young boy or girl who has had to encounter war being scared and often times wanting to be left to die and dealing with it in irrational ways. Overall, I think Slaughterhouse Five is necessary in society because as I said it makes one way the consequences at hand.