“There was a picture of one cowboy killing another one, pasted to the television tube. So it goes.” (p. 112)
The following lines have been taken from the scene where Billy Pilgrim travels to the future and is put up for display by the Trafamadorians. Billy has gotten used to being among the aliens and inhibits a small place that has everything in it for Billy’s ease (Vonnegut & Franco, 2018). The line mentioned above is heavily satirical in the sense that the television offered by the Traflamadorians does not function as it should. However, a picture has been glued to the screen which shows one cowboy killing another. Vonnegut has used satire in this scene to show the senseless killings that human beings involve themselves in. The line “so it goes” is repeatedly used in the novel whenever someone dies. By saying, so it does each time someone dies, Billy appears to be mocking death. The author is unable to conceive how people can be devoid of emotions when taking the life of another. The purpose of highlighting so many deaths in the novel expresses the author’s view that such a thing is unfathomable.
“They had come here voluntarily, alarmed by the outside world.” (p. 100)
The following line has been taken from the scene where Billy falls asleep, and when he wakes up, he finds himself in a ward full of patients seeking treatment. Billy and the other patients have been permitted to come and go as they please and are free to go home if they so wish. However, the institute’s approval gives way to irony as the patients along with Billy do not want to go outside. The patients are staying in the ward of their own free will because the outside world has turned cruel with their senseless killings and the usage of weapons of mass destruction.
“They had both found life meaningless, partly because of what they had seen in the war…Science fiction was a big help.” (p. 101)
The above mentioned lines depict the gruesome picture of the society that is persistent on killing one another for baseless reasons or on matters that are illogical. In these lines, the author points towards the young soldiers who have seen the horrors of war. The only thing that keeps both Billy and Rosewater is science fiction as it allows them to believe in a world that is far better than Earth. The cruelty of war has led them to believe that life is meaningless. Billy and Rosewater are faced with similar issues as Billy had been to a prisoner of war and was at Dresden when the bombing took place. The whole place had been wiped clean, and only the prisoners had survived the night because they had been locked inside a meat locker. Rosewater, on the other hand, had killed a young boy, mistaking him for a German soldier. The cruelty that has been instilled in people is unfathomable. Rosewater’s actions are endowed with irony as the author wants to point towards the way people readily kill others without giving it a thought. The line “so it goes” points towards the deaths that Billy had seen while in Dresden but to other people, it is just another person that has been killed. Killing the innocents means nothing to the society that Vonnegut has depicted in the novel.
“Escape was out of the question. The atmosphere outside the dome was cyanide, and Earth was 446,120,000,000,000,000 miles away.” (p. 112)
One of the themes that Vonnegut has utilized in his novel is that of free will. The author questions the norms of the society that have trapped people into submission and taken away their rights to live their life as they please. Vonnegut challenges the mentality of his society that relentlessly sends off young men to the battlefield and wishes to achieve victory by killing so many innocent people on the other side of the border. The lines mentioned above show Billy’s feelings towards being trapped on Tralfamadore and being put up for display in a glass shaped house that has everything in it for Billy. Billy has been on Tralfamadore for way too long and wished to go home. However, escape is inevitable as the Tralfamadorians have taken a keen interest in him and want to keep him for long. He is mated with a pornography actress and is kept naked so that he can be examined. The lines are satirical as Vonnegut criticizes the way society enforces its members to do things that they are not willing to do.
Vonnegut, K., & Franco, J. (2018). Slaughterhouse-Five. Ulverscroft.