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Slaughterhouse-Five: An Analysis of Billy Pilgrim's Mental Trauma
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Language, Literature and Intercultural Studies.
2017 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
Slakthus-Fem: En Analys av Billy Pilgrims Psykiska Trauma (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five focuses on Billy Pilgrim’s travels through time and his experiences during World War II. More than that, it is a story about the journey of a clearly troubled protagonist whose mental state, best described as broken, is never fully explored in the novel. The aim of this essay is to bring light to the intricacies of Billy’s curious mental state, and to explore the theory that the alien encounters as well as the time travelling that he experiences are the result of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder that Billy suffers from. This is done by analyzing Billy’s experiences with time travel, emotional numbing, and Tralfamadorians and connecting it to known symptoms and causes of PTSD. The results show that Billy does indeed showcase strong signs of PTSD, which were most likely caused by a combination of childhood experiences and trauma during the war. This PTSD manifests itself through Billy’s time travelling and alien encounters, which are used as a coping mechanism.

Abstract [sv]

Kurt Vonneguts Slakthus 5 fokuserar på Billy Pilgrims resor genom tiden och hans upplevelser under andra världskriget. Ännu mer än det så är det en berättelse om resan av en helt klart besvärad huvudperson vars mentala tillstånd, som bäst kan beskrivas som brutet, aldrig riktigt förklaras i romanen. Syftet med denna uppsats är att skapa en klarhet till förvecklingarna av Billys besynnerliga mentala tillstånd, och att undersöka teorin att utomjordingarna såväl som resorna genom tiden som han upplever är resultat av posttraumatisk stressyndrom som Billy lider av. Detta utförs genom att analysera Billys upplevelser av tidsresor, emotionellt bedövande och Tralfamadorer och ansluta dem till symtomer och orsaker till PTSD. Resultaten visar att Billy visar tydliga tecken på PTSD, som troligen orsakades av en kombination av barndomsupplevelser och trauma under sin tid som soldat. Denna PTSD manifisterar sig genom Billys tidsresor och möten med utomjordingar, som används som en coping mekanism. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
Keywords [en]
Slaughterhouse-Five Billy Pilgrim Mental Trauma PTSD
National Category
Specific Literatures
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-62699OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-62699DiVA, id: diva2:1134110
Subject / course
English
Educational program
Secondary Education Programme: Upper-Secondary School: English (300 ECTS credits)
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2017-08-21 Created: 2017-08-18 Last updated: 2017-08-21Bibliographically approved

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