Slaughterhouse-Five Questions and Answers
by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

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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.

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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...

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