Comparison and contrast of dispatches and slaughterhouse five

Comparison and Contrast of ” Dispatches” and ” Slaughterhouse Five” War is an evil which pressures mankind through all periods of history. The problem is that the violence of conflicts is not carried out at a distance, against anonymous and invisible victims, but in immediate physical confrontation with friends, neighbors and relatives. Many authors use war themes in their literary works to familiarize contemporary generations with casualties and losses of war-time, and remind old soldiers about pain and grief, sorrow and constant tension to be killed. Thesis Both authors depict that war was a great evil for millions of people which changed their lifestyles and worldviews, emotions and desires creating a completely different generation of people faced with enormous burden of grief and pain.
The main similarity of both works is that they are personal stories of soldiers coming through war and battlefields. ” Slaughterhouse-Five” is a personal story which reflects Vonnegut’s experience in WWII. The story is unique because the author depicts events, experience, time, memories through different frames which do not connected with each other. ” Dispatches” by Herr portrays a life of a war correspondent in Viet Nam. Herr mentions ” What a story he told me, it took me a year to understand it” (Herr, 1991). His personal narration plays a crucial role in plot development appealing to readers through its simplicity and veracity. Both authors use colorful language means to share the atmosphere of war. For instance, Vonnegut writes: ” We had been foolish virgins in the war, right at the end of childhood” (Vonnegut, 1969).
Both authors depict that war changed worldviews and emotions of soldiers faced with enormous emotional burden and fears. War is depicted as the time when people feel lack of money as Billy does. Vonnegut shows that after the war-time, Billy bears in mind the importance of wealth and richness seeing the marriage with Valencia as the great opportunity to improve his financial position. Herr depicts that people who were in war differ greatly form civil population. War-time changed their attitude towards life, morality and values. Herr depicts that war makes people cruel and heartless, sadistic and aggressive. Vonnegut comments: ‘It was war that made her so angry” (Vonnegut, 1969). These changes in human nature can be explained by the fact that war is sometimes chaotic, often stressful, and always painful. Those who involved in the combat operations were alert to transformations that did not seem to fit the rule-or were outside the realm of traditional common sense. Herr describes one of the soldiers: ” I’m sorry, he’s just too crazy for me” (Herr, 1991).
The main difference is found in emotional representation of material. Vonnegut depicts that war causes psychological pressure, but he portrays it symbolically through material and emotional experience, evolution of emotional perception of the world and values of the main heroes. He contrasts war time with contemporary world and world of the Tralfamadorian Zoo, where wealth and money do not play the major role for people. Deep human emotions embroil reality and imaginary world of the heroes, but Vonnegut leaves it to readers to decide what is the most important for Billy and what is real for him. In contrast, Herr’s description of war is more realistic based on facts and documentary materials. It is possible to say that Herr captures the feel of the war-time and vividly portrays everything familiar to him: battles, human relations, settings. Great tension and emotionality of narration is created by facts and real life narration.
Both works under analysis are impressive, because they change traditional understanding of soldiers as heroes only. Undoubtedly, all people depicted in the works are brave and courageous young men who battled for peace and protected innocent population from cruelties and anarchy. On the other hand, war caused great psychological distress to most of them changing their values and ideals. The desperation of the heroes lies in the conflicts between the gentility of old values and the brute force of new. Both authors depict that deep psychological trauma makes people emotionally blind and insensible, and forces them to create their own condition to reality in order to escape pain and sufferings. Vonnegut and Herr vividly portray that war coins different generation which is bound by life-denying nature of war.
1. Herr, M. Dispatches. Vintage. 1991.
2. Vonnegut, Kurt. Slaughterhouse Five. New York: Seymore Lawrence, 1969.