English (B.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Hemchand Gossai


Through the novel Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut writes to remember and to demystify the atrocious slaughter of more than 135,000 civilians in Dresden, Germany during World War II. Reflecting the despondency brought by war through one veteran’s sporadic jumps in time, the seemingly chaotic narrative may initially lead readers to assume that Slaughterhouse-Five mimics the fatalistic conclusions evident in the postmodernist tradition. However, upon a closer reading of Vonnegut’s work a stylistic order becomes evident, establishing cohesive themes concerning the effects of violent trauma and the discovery of hope amidst the atrocity of war. Within a text that many critics argue structurally points to a fatalistic nihilism, unexpected hope emerges. Life continues, providing society with the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of the past to work towards comprehending and recording humanity’s darkest impulses to ensure they are never repeated.