By Kevin Klenkel
Today I realized that it had been a decade since I read Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. After ten years of singing the books praises to anyone who would listen, I realized that I had forgotten the bulk of the book’s message.
Surely I remembered the tralfamadorians more the description of their appearance more than anything else, Vonnegut eloquently described their shape to be that of a “plumber’s friend.” I also remembered the basic story of Billy Pilgrim, our poor, unsightly protagonist. What I had forgotten has already been overshadowed in the first two chapters.
This book is loaded with quick quips that could become their own novels yet Vonnegut gives them a mere sentence, so it goes.
There are lessons to be learned on each page, though I had forgotten that this book was an awakening for many of my views on humanity, war, and peace; somehow my mind had dissolved this amalgamation.
With his unique style and vision, Vonnegut confesses to his unconscious decision to have no villain in any of his books. This particular idea is vacant in our society today where every single problem one has can be blamed on a scapegoat or better yet sued in court. For a passive reader this idea is quickly ran over with lazy eyes, but while reading to understand, the reader has the power to realize that this is true in at least some regard for every situation in life.
Not only will I continue to urge others to read Slaughterhouse-Five, I would implore you to revisit the novels that you loved in your youth, it is an excellent exercise to see how much you have grown, as well as, how much you have stayed the same, so it goes.