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dm Bogr

Kroli Gspr University of the Hungarian Reformed Church


Faculty of Arts (2!"2##$ %A in &nglish 'anguage and
'iterature( speciali)ation in *orth American 'iterature and
Culture( mem+er of the Kurt ,onnegut -ociety
Farewell, hello, farewell, hello: Tralfamadorian Thought as
Religion in Slaughterhouse-Five A Geertzian Account
Religious studies (as the name suggests$ deal .ith the study of religions( yet the definition
and classification of religions have long +een a challenging issue/ 0here have +een numerous
theories and classifications proposed( the enlisting of .hich is certainly +eyond the scope of
this paper( some concepts ho.ever need to +e ta1en note of/ Graham Harvey refers to
religions in general as 2human activities 3///through .hich h4umans approach that .hich is of
considera+le( and sometimes ultimate( significance for them( +y means of ceremonies(
identification( and other e5pressions of reciprocal or hierarchical relationships/6
#
7hat may
+e seen as a refinement of this definition is found in Clifford Geert)8s seminal essay 2Religion
as a Cultural -ystem/6 He states 23.4ithout further ado6 that a religion is
(#$ a system of sym+ols .hich acts to (2$ esta+lish po.erful( pervasive( and
long"lasting moods and motivations in men +y (9$ formulating conceptions of a
general order of e5istence and (!$ clothing these conceptions .ith such an aura
of factuality that (:$ the moods and motivations seem uni;uely realistic/
2
0here may +e o+<ections made to the range of validity and .or1a+ility of this definition(
nevertheless it offers a ;uasi"functionalist frame.or1 that actually can +e a possi+le .ay of
interpreting and approaching religions/ 0he handling of religion is a pro+lematic ;uestion in
U- novelist Kurt ,onnegut8s ouvre( and his #=>= novel -laughterhouse"Five is no e5ception
to this/ 0ralfamadorian thought( that of an alien race( is offered as the novel8s philosophical
frame.or1 instead of the common 7estern Christian (or ?uritan$ heritage usually present in
canonical t.entieth century U- te5ts/ @n this essay @ use Geert)8s insights to pro+e ,onnegut8s
# Graham HarveyA @ntroduction/ @nA @ndigenous Religions A a Companion/ &d/ Graham Harvey/ Cassel( 'ondon(
UK B *e. Cor1( U-( 2/ p/ 9/
2 Clifford GeertzA Religion as a Cultural -ystem/ @nA 0he @nterpretation of Cultures A -elected &ssays/ Dasic
Doo1s( *e. Cor1( U-( #=E9/ p/ =/
invented 0ralfamadorian philosophy for traces of its +eing a religion/
9
Religions8 consisting of sym+ols is very much emphatic in Geert)8s definition/
He e5plains religions as systems of sym+ols( .hich in his vie.
are e5trinsic sources of information/ Dy 2e5trinsic(6 @ mean only thatFunli1e
genes( for e5ampleFthey lie outside the +oundaries of the individual organism
as such in that intersu+<ective .orld of common understandings into .hich all
human individuals are +orn( in .hich they pursue their separate careers( and
.hich they leave persisting +ehind them after they die/ Dy 2sources of
information(6 @ mean only thatFli1e genesFthey provide a +lueprint or
template in terms of .hich processes e5ternal to themselves can +e given a
definite form/
!
Driefly spea1ing( this suggests that religions are systems that help people ma1ing sense of the
.orld surrounding them/ Dilly ?ilgrim( the antihero of -laughterhouse"Five( e5"?G7 veteran
of 77@@ claims to have +een 1idnapped +y an alien species coming from the planet
0ralfamadore( and that these creatures have told him 2many .onderful things to teach
&arthlings( especially a+out time/6
:
%oreover( Dilly 2has come unstuc1 in time 3///4 He has
seen his +irth and death many times( he says( and pays random visits to all the events in
+et.een/ He says/6
>
For Dilly the aliens from 0ralfamadore provide a source of information
e5trinsic to him/
E
7hat he learns from 0ralfamadorians is that
9 @ chose Geert)8s early vie.s as a theoretical frame.or1 mainly +ecause if @ consider 0ralfamadorian thought a
religion( then @ have to regard it as a fictional religion (since there is no such religion in e5istence$/ 0here are
numerous fictional religions to +e found in ,onnegut8s .or1s( the most nota+le ones +eing Do1ononism in Cat8s
Cradle and the Church of God the Utterly @ndifferent in 0he -irens of 0itan/ 0he latter novel also features a
2planet 0ralfamadore in the -mall %agellanic Cloud6 (Kurt VonnegutA 0he -irens of 0itan/ Gollanc)HGrion(
'ondon( UK( 2!/ p/ #29/$( .hich is populated completely and e5clusively +y machines/ Geert)8s earlier .or1s
display a +ias to.ards functionalism( .hich clearly sho.s in 2Religion as a Cultural -ystem(6 and in considering
a fictional religion such functionalist approach may prove more profita+le/ Additional reasons for my choice are
rather ar+itraryA Geert)8s essay originally .as pu+lished in #=>>( .hile -laughterhouse"Five in #=>=( ma1ing
the t.o .ritings close contemporaries/ %oreover( ,onnegut received his %A in anthropology for his #=>9 novel
Cat8s Cradle from the University of Chicago( incidentally .here Geer)t .as faculty mem+er +et.een #=> and
#=E/ @t is therefore li1ely( although certainly not sure( that ,onnegut may have had +een catching up .ith recent
.or1 in anthropology and thus( Geert)8s .or1 may have +een 1no.n to him/
! Geertz, C.A Religion/ p/ =2/
: Kurt VonnegutA -laughterhouse"Five( or the Children8s Crusade/ Ielacorte( *e. Cor1( U-( #=>=/ p/ 29/
> Vonnegut, K.A -laughterhouse"Five/ p/ 2/
E Dilly8s account on the planet 0ralfamadore( its inha+itants( and his ne.ly ac;uired understanding of time in
-laughterhouse"Five have +een in discussed e5tensively +y critics/ Josh -impson for e5ample argues that Dilly
All moments( past( present and future( al.ays have e5isted( al.ays .ill e5ist/
0he 0ralfamadorians can loo1 at all the different moments <ust that .ay .e can
loo1 at a stretch of the Roc1y %ountains( for instance/ 0hey can see ho.
permanent all the moments are( and they can loo1 at any moment that interests
them/ @t is <ust an illusion .e have here on &arth that one moment follo.s
another one( li1e +eads on a string( and that once a moment is gone it is gone
forever/
K
0hat linear time is an illusion is Dilly8s main point to +e introduced to &arthlings/ 0his feature
of time that one may +e unstuc1 in his temporal relations and o+serve <oyful moments in life
instead of mirthless ones is the organi)ing principle of Dilly8s 0ralfamadorian"inspired
thought( its underlying system of sym+ols/
Geert) sets out in his definition that such systems of sym+ols are to 2esta+lish
po.erful( pervasive( and long"lasting moods and motivations in men(6 .herein the
e5pressions 2mood6 and 2motivation6 is .orth pondering a+out a little/ @n -laughterhouse"
.as 2so tormented and haunted +y the +urden of the past that he finds it necessary to Lreinvent8 his o.n reality6
(Josh SimpsonA 20his ?romising of Great -ecrets6 A 'iterature( @deas( and the (Re$@nvention of Reality in Kurt
,onnegut8s God Dless Cou( %r/ Rose.ater( -laughterhouse"Five( and Drea1fast of Champions Gr 2Fantasies of
an @mpossi+ly Hospita+le 7orld6 A -cience Fiction and %adness in ,onnegut8s 0routean 0rilogy/ @nA Kurt
,onnegut (Dloom8s %odern Critical ,ie.s$/ &d/ Harold Dloom/ @nfo+ase( *e. Cor1( U-( 2=/ p/ #!K/$( and
-usanne ,ees"Gulani refers to Dilly8s 2fantasies 3.hich4 seem to +e the result of memories of particularly
traumatic events( and a vivid imagination .hich he employs as a Lsense"ma1ing8 tool to deal .ith his .ar
trauma6 (Susanne VeesGulaniA 0rauma and Guilt A 'iterature of 7artime Dom+ing in Germany/ 7alter de
Gruyter( Derlin( Germany( 29/ p/ #>9/$/ %artin Coleman points out that
,onnegut8s narrative strongly suggests that .hen Dilly ?ilgrim travels in time( physically he
remains in the environment that prompted the e5perience of coming unstuc1/ 0he opening
narration includes the e5pression 2he says6 three times( suggesting s1epticism a+out Dilly8s
account/ Accounts of Dilly8s time travel sho. that he goes no.here/ 3M4 Dilly ?ilgrim8s
e5periences need not +e interpreted as e5periences of time travelN rather one might suspect that
he cannot ma1e sense of temporal relations/ (!artin ColemanA 0he %eaninglessness of
Coming Unstuc1 in 0ime/ 0ransactions of the Charles -/ ?eirce -ociety A A Ouarterly Journal
in American ?hilosophy !!/ 32KA !4 p/ >K:/$
0he ;uestions .hether Dilly ?ilgrim really has +een 1idnapped (or a+ducted$ +y aliens or not( or those
concerning the nature and origin of his e5periences (if considered his e5periences at all$( are really interesting
ones( ho.ever they are not .ithin the scope of this paper/ @ regard 0ralfamadorians as e5istent( +ecause for Dilly
they do e5ist( and .hat Dilly says and does is in manifold .ays determined or at least influenced +y this
e5istence/
K Vonnegut, K.A -laughterhouse"Five/ p/ 29/
Five a num+er of all"pervasive moods are present and have +een recurringly pointed out +y
critics/ An em+lematic mood is Dilly8s ac;uiescence (or ;uietude$ concerning .hatever life
+rings or may +ring a+out( a mood that pro+a+ly most emphatically sho.s itself in Dilly8s
reply to the cro.d protesting over his announcement of his imminent deathA
Dilly predicts his o.n death .ithin an hour/ He laughed a+out it( invites the
cro.d to laugh .ith him/ 2@t is high time @ .as dead/6 he says/ 3M4 2@t is time
for you to go home to your .ives and children( and it is time for me to +e dead
for a little .hileHand then live again/6
=
'aughing over one8s o.n death( and accepting it contently is +y no means commonly humanH
the protest of the cro.d clearly indicates it/ -till( this 2serene6 acceptance of all things and
events to come is a mood central to such a Dilly"?ilgrimes;ue e5perience/ 0his ac;uiescence
is augmented +y leniency( characteristically em+odied (not to say en"tom+ed$ in the phrase
2&,&RC0H@*G 7A- D&AU0@FU'( A*I *G0H@*G HUR0(6
#
the truth of .hich
2startled6
##
Dilly( and .hich is found a fitting epitaph for him/ As @ referred to 2serene
acceptance6 a+ove( the *ie+uhrian
#2
-erenity ?rayer that is framed on Dilly8s office .all must
+e mentioned/ @t is said to e5press 2his method for 1eeping going(6 and it goes
GGI GRA*0 %&
0H& -&R&*@0C 0G ACC&?0
0H& 0H@*G- @ CA**G0 CHA*G&(
CGURAG&
0G CHA*G& 0H& 0H@*G- @ CA*(
A*I 7@-IG% A'7AC-
0G 0&'' 0H&
I@FF&R&*C&/
#9
Dilly claims to +e 21eeping going6 this .ay( +y accepting everything he cannot change( even
if 2the past( the present( and the future6 is included in these things( even if actually everything
= Vonnegut, K.A -laughterhouse"Five/ p/ #29/
# Vonnegut, K.A -laughterhouse"Five/ p/ #>/
## Vonnegut, K.A -laughterhouse"Five/ p/ #:/
#2 @ here contend that the original author of the ;uoted form of the -erenity ?rayer is U- theologian Reinhold
*ie+uhr( although this vie. has +een challenged a num+er of times (see e/g/ "red #. ShapiroA 7ho 7rote the
-erenity ?rayerP Cale Alumni %aga)ine E#/ 32KA >4(
.../yalealumnimaga)ine/comQissuesQ2KREQserenity/html( = Gct( 2##/$/
#9 Vonnegut, K.A -laughterhouse"Five/ p/ :2/
is included in the things he cannot change/
#!
0he -erenity ?rayer occurs in the novel once
againA it is seen engraved on a loc1et hanging in the nec1 of adult movie star %ontana
7ildhac1( .ho has +een a+ducted +y 0ralfamadorians to +e Dilly8s mate in the )oo he .as
sho.cased in on the alien planet/ -he is a more faithful interpreter of the prayer( since
although she cannot hope to see her home or even &arth again( still( in the penultimate chapter
.e can see her having a +a+y/ -he decided to 1eep human1ind alive in that far a.ay alien
planet( to 1eep herself and Dilly alive in a .ay through their common offspring even in an
utterly helpless situation li1e that/
#:
Dilly did not intend to reproduce( and although he has a
daughter and a son on &arth (+esides the +a+y on 0ralfamadore$( he does not sho. signs of
fatherly love to.ards them( he instead seems to +e upset +y their e5istence( a reason of .hich
may +e that he sees the continuation of his life in them/
#>
0hat Dilly seems to have no
#! 0his is a very .ea1 point in Dilly8s 0ralfamadorian philosophy( regardless of its +eing considered a religion
or not/ For the lac1 of space @ do not intend to ela+orate on this topic here( the failure of Dilly8s philosophy has
+een .idely discussed in many insightful essays( including (+ut +y no means limited to$ those +y %artin
Coleman (Coleman, !.A %eaninglessness( pp/ >K#">=K/$( ?eter Reed ($eter #eedA 0he &nd of the Road A
-laughterhouse"Five( or 0he Children8s Crusade/ @nA Kurt ,onnegut8s 2-laughterhouse"Five/6 &d/ Harold
Dloom/ Chelsea House( ?hiladelphia( U-( 2#/ pp/ 9"2>/$( and in chapter ! of Ionald %orse8s +oo1 (%onald
&. !orseA @magining Deing an American A 0he *ovels of Kurt ,onnegut (Contri+utions to the -tudy of -cience
Fiction and Fantasy #9$/ ?raegerHGreen.ood( 7estport( U-( 29/$/
#: @t is made clear in the novel that having a +a+y on 0ralfamadore is entirely %ontana8s ideaA
@n time( %ontana came to love and trust Dilly ?ilgrim/ He did not touch her until she made it
clear that she .anted him to/ After she had +een on 0ralfamadore for .hat .ould have +een an
&arthling .ee1( she as1ed him shyly if he .ouldnSt sleep .ith her/ 7hich he did/ @t .as
heavenly/ (Vonnegut, K.A -laughterhouse"Five/ p/ ##:H##>/$
@t is no surprise that Dilly .as not that +usy in 1eeping life going (.hich is +y the .ay a serious contradiction
.ith his claim concerning the -erenity ?rayer( see Vonnegut, K.A -laughterhouse"Five/ p/ :2/$( since .e learn
that even his mother
upset Dilly simply +y +eing his mother/ -he made him feel em+arrassed and ungrateful and
.ea1 +ecause she had gone to so much trou+le to give him life( and to 1eep that life going( and
'illy didn(t really li)e life at all/ (Vonnegut, K.A -laughterhouse"Five/ p/ KK/( my italics$
#> 0his lac1 of love is very much visi+le in the hospital scene after his .ife ,alencia8s death/ Dilly is visited
first +y his daughter Dar+ara( then +y his son Ro+ert( and in +oth cases he sho.s complete ignorance to.ards his
children( although +oth are (understanda+ly$ upsetA
DillySs daughter Dar+ara came in later that day/ 3M4 Ioctors had given her pills so she could
continue to function( even though her father .as +ro1en and her mother .as dead/ 3M4 Her
+rother Ro+ert .as flying home from a +attlefield in ,ietnam/ 2IaddyF6 she said tentatively/
2IaddyFP6
Dut Dilly .as ten years a.ay( +ac1 in #=:K/
motivations in life apparently counters the applica+ility of Geert)8s definition/ @n my vie.
ho.ever( Dilly8s having no motivation is so much +asic and pervasive in the novel that @
rather consider him to have ro+ust non"motivations( esta+lished deeply in his personality +y
the system of sym+ols discussed earlier/
Geert) also re;uires religions to provide 2conceptions of a general order of
e5istence(6 .hich in Dilly8s case is the conception of a non"causal predetermined .orld/
0ralfamadorians teach Dilly that the notion of free .ill is a mere &arthling illusionA they have
already 2visited thirty"one inha+ited planets in the universe( and 3M4 have studied reports on
one hundred more/ Gnly on &arth is there any tal1 of free .ill/6
#E
0hus( the notion of free .ill
is not 1no.n outside of &arth/ 0hat Dilly learns of linear time8s +eing illusory has already
+een mentioned/ 0his assertion is further e5tended .hen he is told that 2here .e are 3M4
trapped in the am+er of this moment/ 0here is no *hy(6
#K
.hich +riefly and preremptorily
rules out all possi+ilities of a causal e5planation of events/ Human attempts for such causal
e5planations are denounced +y 0ralfamadorians( referring to humans as 2the great e5plainers(
e5plaining .hy this event is structured as it is( telling ho. other events may +e achieved or
avoided(6 and noting that such attempts are vile( since 23a4ll time is all time/ @t does not
change/ @t does not lend itself to .arnings or e5planations/ @t simply is/6
#=
0his is the general
order that Dilly recogni)es on his 2?ilgrimage6
2
to 0ralfamadore( that 23e4verything is all
right( and every+ody has to do e5actly .hat he does/6
2#
0hat 2aura of factuality6 aiming to ma1e 2the moods and motivations seem
uni;uely realistic(6 prescri+ed +y Geert)( is pro+a+ly the most pro+lematic part of the
definition/ An important aspect of a religion is that faith is inescapa+le for regarding it as real
and e5istent/ @t is faith that creates religions( the teachings and general appearance of .hich
are not necessarily credi+le for everyone/ 0his 2shortcoming6 of religions is .hy the presence
of faith( even of conviction is inevita+le( since the sole formal evidence a +eliever has for
3M4
Dilly ?ilgrim opened his eyes in the hospital in ,ermont( did not 1no. .here he .as/
7atching him .as his son Ro+ert/
3M4
2IadFP6
Dilly ?ilgrim closed his eyes again/ (Vonnegut, K.A -laughterhouse"Five/ pp/ #>2H#>!/$
#E Vonnegut, K.A -laughterhouse"Five/ p/ E!/
#K Vonnegut, K.A -laughterhouse"Five/ p/ >>/
#= Vonnegut, K.A -laughterhouse"Five/ p/ E!/
2 And thus he adds an interesting color to the commonly dra.n Dunyanes;ue parallel/
2# Vonnegut, K.A -laughterhouse"Five/ p/ #E#/
.hat he +elieves in is his +elief itself/ 0his may seem tautological( +elief ho.ever is not
meant to +e the su+<ect of empirical in;uiry/ 0his is the reason .hy presenting empirical
evidence in support of the pertinence of one8s religion is impossi+le or at least fallacious/
22

0hat Dilly ?ilgrim really has +een a+ducted +y 0ralfamadorians and .as told all the things he
claims to have learnt from them is of course ;uestiona+le/ 0he novel leaves this ;uestion
open/ As @ stated +efore( @ regard 0ralfamadorians as e5istent( +ecause for Dilly they do e5ist(
and .hat Dilly says and does is in manifold .ays determined or at least influenced +y this
e5istence/
An additional aspect of Dilly8s attitude( .hich may support his +eing a prophet
of 0ralfamadorian religion( is its inherent martyrdom/ ?eter Freese decri+es him 23a4ppointing
himself a missionary( +ringing the philosophy of 0ralfamadorian fatalism to trou+led
humans(6
29
and indeed he is seen preaching to others a+out the +enefits of o+serving and
understanding the .orld and life the 0ralfamadorian .ay/ Dilly claims to have seen and
e5perienced his o.n death several times( he has even recorded his account on it on tapeA 2+,
'illy $ilgrim, the tape +egins( *ill die, have died and al*ays *ill die on "e,ruary thirteenth,
-./0. At the time of his death( he says( he is in Chicago to address a large cro.d on the
su+<ect of flying saucers and the true nature of time/6
2!
He also foretells the .ay his death
occurs and the circumstances thereofA
Dilly is spea1ing +efore a capacity audience in a +ase+all par1 3/// and4
predicts his o.n death .ithin an hour/ He laughed a+out it( invites the cro.d
to laugh .ith him/ 2@t is high time @ .as dead(6 he says/ 2%any years ago(6 he
said( 2a certain man promised to have me 1illed/ He is an old man no.( living
not far from here/ He has read all the pu+licity associated .ith my appearance
in your fair city/ He is insane/ 0onight he .ill 1eep his promise/6
22 Carl -agan reports on a dialog he had .ith the Fourteenth Ialai 'ama a+out the neccessity of updating
religious vie.s (in that case( those of 0i+etan Duddhism$ if scientific advancement .ould disprove them/ 0he
'ama .as firm that such changes in religions and in Duddhism in particular .ould then o+viously have to +e
made( even if the disproven tenet .ould +e such a central one as e/g/ reincarnation( 23h4o.everFhe added .ith a
t.in1leFitSs going to +e hard to disprove reincarnation6 (Carl SaganA 0he Iemon"Haunted 7orld A -cience as a
Candle in the Iar1/ Dallantine Doo1s( *e. Cor1( U-( #==>/ p/ 2E/$/ 0his is to say that empirical scientific
study and religious +elief are t.o different paths leading up.ards t.o distinct mountains/
29 $eter "reeseA ,onnegut8s @nvented Religions as -ense"%a1ing -ystems/ @nA 0he ,onnegut Chronicles A
@ntervie.s and &ssays (Contri+utions to the -atudy of 7orld 'iterature >:$/ &ds/ ?eter J/ Reed and %arc 'eeds/
Green.ood( 7estport( U-( #==>/ p/#::/
2! Vonnegut, K.A -laughterhouse"Five/ p/ #29/
0here are protests from the cro.d/
Dilly ?ilgrim re+u1es them/ 2@f you protest( if you thin1 that death is a
terri+le thing( then you have not understood a .ord @Sve said/6 *o. he closes
his speech as he closes every speech .ith these .ordsA 2Fare.ell( hello(
fare.ell( hello/6
2:
He calms the police officers offering him their protection saying 2it is time for me to +e dead
for a little .hileHand then live again/8 6
2>
?rophesi)ing his o.n death and further life
associates Dilly .ith Jesus Christ( .ho
going up to Jerusalem too1 the t.elve disciples apart in the .ay( and said unto
them( Dehold( .e go up to JerusalemN and the -on of man shall +e +etrayed
unto the chief priests and unto the scri+es( and they shall condemn him to
death( and shall deliver him to the Gentiles to moc1( and to scourge( and to
crucify himA and the third day he shall rise again/
2E
Jesus also had his o.n self"proclaimed protector during his capture in the garden of
Gethsemane( .hom he calmed do.n and assured that .hat is happening is meant to happen
soA
And( +ehold( one of them .hich .ere .ith Jesus stretched out his hand( and
dre. his s.ord( and struc1 a servant of the high priestSs( and smote off his ear/
0hen said Jesus unto him( ?ut up again thy s.ord into his placeA for all they
that ta1e the s.ord shall perish .ith the s.ord/ 0hin1est thou that @ cannot
no. pray to my Father( and he shall presently give me more than t.elve
legions of angelsP Dut ho. then shall the scriptures +e fulfilled( that thus it
must +eP
2K
Although there is ma<or difference +et.een the reasons of accepting death in the case of Jesus
(the active( voluntary fulfillment of God8s .ord$ and in that of Dilly (the passive acceptance
of +eing 2trapped in the am+er of this moment6
2=
$( the similarities of the t.o prophesies
ho.ever are as .ell nota+le/ Christianity as a religion is +ased on the life( deeds( and
teachings attri+uted to Jesus the Christ or %essiah/ He is present in Christian thought as the
model of perfect human e5istence( .hat he teaches and does is e5emplary for all follo.ers of
2: Vonnegut, K.A -laughterhouse"Five/ p/ #29/
2> Vonnegut, K.A -laughterhouse"Five/ p/ #2!/
2E %att/ 2A#EH#= (Di+le passages ;uoted from the King James ,ersion$
2K %att/ 2>A:#H:!
2= Vonnegut, K.A -laughterhouse"Five/ p/ >>/
Christianity( and it is hardly argua+le that .ithout Jesus there .ould +e no such religion as
Christianity/ His persona constitutes the +asics of Christian thought( as does that of Dilly in
the case of the 0ralfamadorian one/ -uch similarity has of course +een o+served +y many
critics/ 7illiam Rodney Allen for e5ample .rites that
'i1e Christ( Dilly +rings a ne. message to the .orld( although it is a very
different one from his predecessor8s/ And li1e Jesus he is an innocent .ho
accepts his death( at the hands of an enemy .ho reviles and misunderstands
him( as an opportunity to teach man1ind the proper response to mortality/ Doth
Dilly and Jesus teach that one should face death calmly( +ecause death is not
the end/ @n the Christian vision the self after death proceeds for.ard in time
eternally( either in heaven or hellN for Dilly( ho.ever( 2after6 death the soul
proceeds +ac1.ard in time( +ac1 into life/ 3M4 0hus Dilly( the ne. Christ(
preaches that human +eings do have eternal lifeFeven if there is no life after
death/
9
Also( Freese .rites that ,onnegut 2simultaneously ma1es Dilly a latter"day Christ crucified
+y a .orld of cruelty and lovelessness and a postlapsarian Adam pinning for a return to
paradise/6
9#
As a conclusion( a Geert)ian approach to religion can +e applied significantly
.ell to 0ralfamadorian thought as seen in -laughterhouse"Five/ Fictional religions are
a+undant in ,onnegut8s .or1s( and although @ do not intend to say that he actually meant
0ralfamadorian philosophy to +e interpreted as a religion( note must +e ta1en of the fact that it
offers itself for such interpretation( and a carefully applied approach can refer
20ralfamadorianism6 to the ran1s of fictional yet scathingly intelligent religions procreated +y
,onnegut8s creative genius/
9 1illiam #odney AllenA -laughterhouse"Five/ @nA Kurt ,onnegut (Dloom8s %odern Critical ,ie.s$/ &d/
Harold Dloom/ @nfo+ase( *e. Cor1( U-( 2=/ pp/ KH=/
9# "reese, $.A @nvented/ p/ #::/