Slaughterhouse-Five Questions and Answers
by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

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In what ways is Slaughterhouse-Five an anti-war narrative?

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Vonnegut initially struggled with his narrative approach in Slaughterhouse-Five. His war experience was so awful, and he had been so young, that a more literal and linear reconstruction eluded him. As he began to gather his ideas, he connected with a war buddy roughly twenty years after the fact: Bernard V. O’Hare. He and Vonnegut “were captured together during the war.”

Vonnegut, by his nature and vocation, needed to address what had happened to his generation of WWII vets.

The nicest veterans in Schenectady, I thought, the kindest and funniest ones, the ones who hated war the most, were the ones who really fought.

During their exchange at O’Hare’s home, Bernard’s wife, Mary, accused Vonnegut of wanting to retroactively recast her husband and himself. They had basically been raw youths at the time, and she believed he wanted to recast them as Men, with a capital ‘M,’ with the intent of glorifying combat, such as in the John Wayne movie The Longest Day (a...

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