Example research essay topic: The Extraordinary Muicianship Of Beethoven – 1,290 words

… eeping quarters. This comes as a shock to the
reader, because of the torturous intentions the
Nazis invented for the showers, thus creating the
reader’s surprise to find the victims in a German
camp, unharmed. Vonnegut uses the setting to play
upon the nerves of the reader by setting up a
terrible death that the fatigued Americans are
prepared to walk right into. Billy recalls, The
Americans halted. They stood there quietly in the

The sheds they were among were outwardly
like thousands of other sheds they had passed.
There was this difference, though: the sheds had
tin chimneys, and out of the chimneys whirled
constellations of sparks (93). There is a sense of
unavoidable death in the description of the
prisoner-of-war camp. This apprehension originates
from the horrendous deaths of the Jewish people
when they were burned in ovens, and ground down to
be used as bars of soap and buttons. Furthermore,
it seems apparent to reader that the Americans are
fated to die, as they stood there quietly in the
cold. Also, this shows the acceptance of fate by
the Americans, and their lack of free will, as it
is futile to resist what must ultimately happen to
them. Consequently, the setting in
Slaughterhouse-Five was employed to create a
fatalistic view of life.

A fatalistic perspective
of life is shown through Vonneguts use of
structure. Throughout the novel, Vonnegut uses a
fragmented structure, shifting between events in
Billys life. Consequently, this structure almost
implies that Vonnegut has no control over the
order of the novel, and therefore no control over
life, even if only on paper. Vonnegut tells how
the story ends before it begins, creating the
destiny of the story before the reader has even
commenced to make any conclusions about the
content. Vonnegut writes: It begins like this:
Listen: Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time. It
ends like this: Poo-tee-weet? (22) With the
structure of this introduction, Vonnegut is
creating the destiny of his book.

The format of
Slaughterhouse-Five makes relations form in the
readers mind with the Tralfamadorian novels, and
from the Tralfamadorian novels, one’s mind is
connected again with fate, because of the strong
Tralfamadorian belief in fate. Billy tried to read
a Tralfamadorian novel once, then commented on its
structure, how it was organized, or disorganized,
in a rather patternless way. An alien responds,
There isn’t any particular relationship between
all the messages, except that the author has
chosen them carefully, so that, when seen all at
once, they produce an image of life that is
beautiful and surprising and deep. There is no
beginning, no middle, no end, no suspense, no
moral, no causes, no effects.(88) Vonnegut uses
this loose structure so that, when the book is
read, there is a feeling about life that is
extremely insightful in certain areas. By relating
Slaughterhouse-Five to a Tralfamadorian novel, one
must also think of the Tralfamadorian belief in
fate. Furthermore, the disconnected ordering of
events that Vonnegut implements, when seen all at
once reveal that war is inevitable because no
matter, which period humanity is examined, war is
always present, and will continue to be present.
Therefore, Vonnegut uses this structure to form a
mould of a fatalistic world by concocting a
compound of events that are so disorganized that
they could not possibly happen to anyone but
Billy, because fate has destined his life to be
incoherent and unrelated.

In this way, Vonnegut
uses structure very effectively for his purpose of
displaying the inevitability of war. Another
literary device that Vonnegut uses are allusions,
which aided in the creation of a world that was
inevitably predetermined. Vonnegut uses examples
that, on the surface, have no connection with the
events of a Billy’s life. However, the examples
sink into the readers mind, and eventually form a
general sense of fate by linking the lives of the
characters with the lives of people who have
already lived, and experienced destiny, people
whose history has been recorded as an example of
the necessity of certain events. Vonnegut makes
many connections with Biblical people who were
fated to die a certain way, knowing beforehand
what their fate would be if they committed a
certain sin, but still committing the sin because,
even then, these people were human, and could not
live otherwise. One specific example can be found
in Lot’s wife, a woman who has endured many
hardships, and has finally been evicted from her
home because the Lord is about to burn the city,
and wishes to save Lots family.

The only way that
Lot, and his entourage can remain innocent is to
walk away from the city without looking back.
However, even though Lots wife knew the
consequences, she still looked back. Vonnegut
introduces his book, And Lot’s wife, of course,
was told not to look back? But she did look back,
and I love her for that, because it was so human.
So she was turned into a pillar of salt? This one
is a failure, and had to be, since it was written
by a pillar of salt.(22) In this quotation,
Vonnegut is comparing himself to Lots wife, a
woman who knew before leaving that she would be
turned into salt if she looked back, but she did
look back. The author compares himself to this
woman because he is looking back, so perhaps his
book is a failure, because looking back has turned
him into a pillar of salt, but fate had previously
decreed that Vonnegut and Lots wife would both
look back, Vonnegut to his war years, and Lots
wife to the city of her former residence. Another
biblical allusion that appears throughout this
novel is comparison of Billy Pilgrim to Jesus
Christ. Vonnegut writes, Billy cried little,
though he often saw things worth crying about, and
in that respect, at least, he resembled the Christ
of the carol. (197) The carol referred to is, Away
in the Manger, a song unique for its peaceful
description of Jesus humble birth and
surroundings, as well as the infants response to
his new habitat.

Subsequently, Billy is portrayed
as a young child, nave, and wondering at his
surroundings, yet peaceful, and quiet. However,
this is only shown by allusion, because Vonnegut
never clearly states how young and innocent Billy
was when he went off to war. Billy Pilgrim’s
naivet is shown only in the way he responds to the
war, and how the war has made him a weeping, and
disconnected young man permanently, a man so
confused that he commits himself to an insane
asylum, and refuses to see his own mother. Billys
whole life is alluded to as a fated journey that
someone has to endure, and Billy could do nothing
to change his situation, as with keeping with the
Tralfamadorian philosophy of this novel:
everything is subject to fate. In concordance,
Vonnegut uses allusion to display the events of
the world as inevitable, and the lives of its
peoples dominated by fate. Undoubtedly,
Slaughterhouse-Five is an examination of a world
ruled solely by fate.

Through the atmosphere of
the scenes, the construction of Vonneguts writing,
and the insinuation to other connections to fate,
clearly depict that life in Slaughterhouse-Five,
follows a predetermined master plan. Vonneguts
world is a microcosm of reality through its
recognition that war is inevitable. In addition,
the Tralfamadorian philosophy of that life is that
everything that will happen as already been
predetermined, whereas it is certain that there
will continue to be wars, as it is impossible to
tame the greed, and insanity of every individual.
Furthermore, it is futile to try to prevent wars,
as is apparent in the Middle East. In conclusion,
Vonneguts novel, Slaughterhouse-Five, effectively
creates a world that is dominated by fate..

Research essay sample on The Extraordinary Muicianship Of Beethoven