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Human Nature

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Beg�m Cogal English 401 E Block Human Nature For hundreds of years people have written countless books about war. Some have chosen to write simply about the events that took place during the war, in the form a historical account, while others have chosen to write about their own, or other people's experiences. However, many of them have portrayed war as being glorious and associated it with valor and honor, suggesting that all participants of war were heroes. In a way these kinds of writings were encouraging warfare by depicting the act of war and its partakers as being admirable. On the contrary, Slaughterhouse- Five written by Kurt Vonnegut is an anti-war book. Not only does it reveal the horrors of war, but it also suggests that the 'heroes' are in fact mere children doing what they have been instructed to do. The combatants are depicted as weak, vulnerable and very much human, unlike the exaggerated superheroes of typical war novels. The theme of the passage is that even though time and death are two concepts that are beyond the control of human beings, people still try to overcome them, oblivious to the fact that there would be no life without death. The author Kurt Vonnegut uses literary features such as allusion and irony to emphasize on the theme. ...read more.


The narrator alludes to a number of excerpts from books he has read. The narrator's allusion to an excerpt from Words for the Wind by Theodore Roethke, suggests many things about the way the narrator feels about fate. "I wake to sleep and take my waking slow. I feel my fate in what I cannot fear. I learn by going where I have to go" (20). We can tell from this extract that the narrator believes in fate. He believes that everything is predetermined and it is the destiny of every mortal to eventually die. So, what the narrator is trying to say through the excerpt is that, we know that ultimately we will all die, and there is no way of overcoming it, therefore there is no point in fearing it. The key is to accept death and try to learn as much as possible from life as we go along the path that destiny has chosen for us. It is meaningless to spend life defying what we cannot change. The excerpt shows us how the narrator deals with death. The narrator also uses allusion to extracts from Celine and His Vision by Erika Ostrovsky and Death on the Installment Plan. The narrator quotes from Erika Ostrovsky's Celine and His Vision: "No art is possible without a dance with death" (21). ...read more.


The narrator calls his own work a failure since it was written by a 'pillar of salt'. He is calling himself a pillar of salt to show that he always looks back as well and to call attention to the fact that despite everything he still has not lost the characteristics that make him human. Since humans are inherently flowed and imperfect, his work cannot be perfect either. However, the narrator exaggerates and calls his work a failure to stress on it. The narrator also uses irony to emphasize on the theme. When the narrator is talking about the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, he uses irony. "Those were vile people in both those cities, as is well known. The world was better of without them" (21). The narrator makes it seem as though their deaths were justified since they were nasty and horrible people, who were not worthy of living anyway. What the narrator is really trying to do is convince himself that what happened was all right, so that he can accept it and move on. The narrator also uses irony when he uses the excerpt from the Death on the Installment Plan. In the passage, Celine wants the people to stop moving and freeze, in order to stop them from dying. However, what he doesn't realize is that if he freezes them, they will not be living either. The narrator is once again trying to convey to the reader the message that there would be no life without death. 1 ...read more.

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