Kevin Carneglia 11/21/07 Per.

5 Science Fiction Examples of Satire and Irony One example of Satire in the book Slaughter-House Five by Kurt Vonnegut is when the author talks about Kilgore Trout’s book, The Gutless Wonder. The book is about a robot that drops napalm on people that burns their flesh, yet people dislike him for the fact that he has bad breath. This is Satire because it is making fun of the values of Humans. It says that people are shallow because they care more about the robot’s outside than the fact that the robot kills people with no remorse.

Kurt Vonnegut also uses irony to get his point across. For example, on page 201, Billy is in the bookstore when he sees a novel by Kilgore Trout, The Big Board. It is about a man and woman who get kidnapped and put on display in an alien zoo. In the zoo, there is a large board that shows the news and a ticker that shows stock quotes. But the board and news ticker are both fakes. This is ironic because almost the exact same thing is happening to Billy. I think it may also be satirical because I believe the fake board and the ticker tape are symbols of the propaganda used by both sides during World War Two. Just like the way the Government controls the news that gets to people, the aliens on the planet that controlled the board could tell their prisoners anything they wanted to, whether it was true or false.

Another irony is what becomes of Edgar Derby, a teacher who ends up in the army and befriends Billy. In the end, Edgar Derby is tried for stealing a teapot and shot, but that is after the entire city of Dresden is burned down. The irony is that Derby survived the

entire war, including the bombing of Dresden, only to be shot and killed later on in the novel. I think this is saying that death is inevitable in war and it will come one way or another to the people involved.

Another irony in the book is Billy’s job in the army. He is a chaplain’s assistant, which means he can neither help his friends nor harm the enemy. This is ironic because he is in a war, and normally, his purpose would be to help friends as a doctor or hurt enemies as a soldier, but he is forced to stand there and do nothing. He has his life saved on several accounts by Ronald Weary, who does it just to be a hero. It is ironic that Billy does nothing to help himself and actually tries to get people to leave him behind, because most soldiers would be expected to try and save their own lives and those of their comrades, but Billy actually tries to get out of the war.

Another example of satire is when the Trafalmadorian says to Billy that he has studied many planets in the galaxy and even visited some, and Earth is the only planet that speaks of Free Will. This is almost laughing at us silly Humans who believe that we actually have free will and can change our future. It is saying that certain things are bound to happen, or rather, destined to happen, and cannot be changed. I think one of the things Vonnegut was referring to was the fact that the Second World War was unavoidable.

Differences Between the Book and Movie One difference between the book and movie versions of Slaughter-House Five is how the Tralfamadorians are described in the book, but never shown in the movie. I think one reason for this might be to show the audience that Billy is imagining the aliens and that they don’t really exist, which is why we can’t see them. Also, I think the author purposely gave a good description of the aliens in order to help the readers envision what they look like. When you read a book, the author has to tell you what the scene looks like, but when you see a movie, the aliens don’t even need to be seen as long as the audience hears their voice.

Also, in the movie, there is no narrator. I think this was done because the narrator wasn’t a necessary character in the movie. In the book, the narrator was needed to inform the reader about the events going on and help them keep track of which part of his life Billy had traveled to and what was happening there. In the movie, however, the narrator isn’t needed because you can see what is happening and which part of his life Billy is in now. Also, most of the story can be told without the help of a narrator.

Another difference between the book and the movie is that the scenes where the bird is asking Billy “Poo-tee-weet?” were removed. I think the reason behind this was that the bird’s role wouldn’t be as easy to define in the movie. In other words, there was no narrator to explain the symbolism behind the bird’s question, which it shows how senseless war is. For that reason, the bird chirping seems insignificant in the movie

because, unlike in the book, nobody is there to come in and explain why the bird is important.

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