Slaughterhouse-Five Questions and Answers
by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Start Your Free Trial

What are examples of irony, playfulness, and black humor in Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five? Why did he choose to use these elements?

The default mode in Slaughterhouse-Five is irony. So much of what Vonnegut writes is the literary equivalent of putting something in quotation marks. He uses humor throughout, and because he is dealing with very serious subjects (war, death, time travel), it's gallows humor. Vonnegut uses these elements to mitigate the horror of what he is writing about.

Expert Answers info

Lukas Sherman, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseTeacher (K-12)

bookM.A. from Boston University

bookM.A. from Concordia University - Portland


calendarEducator since 2018

write223 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

Kurt Vonnegut's 1969 novel Slaughterhouse-Five is steeped in irony. The subtitle of the book, after all, is "The Children's Crusade." He opens the novel by speaking in his own voice and the refrain is "so it goes," which is a brutal understatement of what he is writing about. It is a novel about World War II and his own experiences in the war, specifically the devastating firebombing of Dresden, Germany. By opening the novel in his own voice and...

(The entire section contains 232 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial