"Slaughterhouse-Five" essay

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Sometimes people use the cultural norms to commit crimes justifying it by the cultural factor. The law does not allow anyone go unpunished having murdered someone, but people in this community believed that cultural traditions were enough of an excuse to commit murder and be justified in the eyes of the law. The colonel was aware of the conviction concerning honor, so he should have taken actions as a law enforcement officer. If he had, Santiago would have been alive and the Vicario brothers would have stayed out of prison. They harmed many lives because of honor and it was not worth it. The society used the agency of honor to hurt others. It is obvious that the death of Santiago would never restore the sister’s virginity.

In Slaughterhouse-Five, Billy was an unhappy man that went off to war and escaped the Dresden bombing in Germany. He came back, married, started family, and found a good job. At the first glance, he seemed fine, but he suffered such torment inside. This book explores the belief in the illusion of free will, fatalism, and illogical nature of human beings. According to Billy and his encounters, humanity was incapable of free will, therefore people did things because they could and had permission. It is clear from his experience that there were always obstacles to the exercise of free will since he was a child and throughout his adult years. Another idea expressed in the book is that fate controlled all things and people could not change what was going to happen no matter how hard they tried. The lack of free will means lack of accountability, Billy did not blame anyone for the events that happened to him in Dresden and other places. The illogical nature of human beings was revealed through the acts of revenge in the story. It is because of the vengeance that the Allie forces bombed Dresden. The yearning for revenge also explained Lazaro’s actions. All the things that happened to the characters in this book were beyond their control primarily caused by a yearning for a vendetta (Vonnegut 46).

They believed that fate was the cause of everything that happened in life, thus, they would not take the initiative to prevent situations from happening. They left their lives to the mercy of fate and this eliminated the joy and purpose of their lives. When someone believes that he is not the one to be blamed for his deeds, there emerges an increased risk of crime since one may think that it is his fate and that he is destined to commit a crime. Such belief creates chaos and sows discord in the society. Unlike the Tralfamadorians, the alien race in Slaughterhouse-Five, humans experienced life in a linear progression and they were not able to revisit the happy moments of their lives through time travel.

To sum up, it is evident that both in Slaughterhouse-Five and in Chronicles of a Death Foretold people are motivated by outer factors and they lack free will in their decisions. In Chronicles of a Death Foretold the cultural agency directs people to commit a murder and justify it by a mere superficial taboo, rather than take the responsibility for a bloody revenge. Slaughterhouse-Five shows how irresponsibly and weak willingly people regard their lives. They prefer to put the responsibility for their being on the shoulders of fate. All this accents how the agency of cultural and societal norms manipulates people who lack free will and individuality in their decision making.

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