Were the Tralfamadorians a product of imagination or truly real in Slaughterhouse-Five?
If we accept that anything presented in Kurt Vonnegut's novel is true, then we have to accept that Billy Pilgrim's experiences with the Tralfamadorians are real. Vonnegut constructs a well-developed, fully integrated vision of reality which Billy experiences. This phenomenon is an important dimension of Billy's condition of coming "unstuck in time."
For Billy, the experiences he endured during World War II were surreal and absurd. The bombing of Dresden itself made no sense to him, and neither did his survival when so many others needlessly lost their lives. Coping with his survivor guilt and post-traumatic stress is a huge burden for this sensitive young man. The alternate reality that he locates is what enables him to...
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