write a literary analysis of Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. You will give an argument or interpretation of the book, and back that interpretation up with evidence from the book itself and from scholarly sources (such as books in the library or journal articles from NC Live or Pro-Quest). Your analysis can focus on any aspect of the novel you find interesting or feel you have a strong opinion about. Some options include: • A focus on theme. What is the novel trying to say about war? Family? American values? History and the way we write about it? Fate and free will? Suffering? Masculinity? Time? Morality? The way prisoners of war are treated? Pick any theme in the book and develop it. • A focus on characterization. In this novel, we have a narrator (who serves as a surrogate for the author, Vonnegut), a man (Billy Pilgrim) who travels through time and space, Aliens, soldiers, a porn star, and many others. Pick a character who you find intriguing, and form an argument about characterization. How is the character developed by the author? Why? What purpose does that character hold, and how do they fit into the overall plot or theme? • A focus on structure. As Billy Pilgrim comes “unstuck in time,” so do we. The novel travels back and forth in both time and location. What effect does that have on you as a reader? Why might Vonnegut have chosen to construct the novel in such an intentionally disorienting way? What do critics say about the book’s structure? • A focus on history. Research WW2, especially the firebombing of Dresden (at which Vonnegut was present as POW). How does Vonnegut’s novel describe the events, and how do his descriptions compare to the historical account? Was bombing the city warranted or justified? Why or why not? • A focus on the science fiction elements of the novel. Why are they there, in a novel purportedly about war here on Earth? What do they add to the story, and what do they reveal about Billy and his character? How are the aliens depicted, and why? • A focus on the stylistic elements of the book. The book has a unique style, especially in its use of repetition. What effect does the repetition of phrases like “so it goes” have on the readers? What does the style contribute to the theme? • A focus on tone. What is the tone of the book? How is it developed? Why? Literary terms, Defined: Theme—The central meaning or dominant idea of a literary work.
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