The Portrayal and Use of Sex in Slaughterhouse Five, a Novel by Kurt Vonnegut

Sex can be used to explain many concepts. In science, Freud, the famous creator of psychoanalysis, used sex to explain relationships between parents and their children. Psychoanalysis can be used to challenge biological principles that explain social behavior. In movies, Marilyn Monroe, a well-known actress, used sex to explain body image, In literature, Kurt Vonnegut uses sex to explain his main character’s thoughts toward innocent people. In Vonnegut’s novel “Slaughterhouse Five”, he describes the life of Billy Pilgrim, an insane veteran who time travels and sees aliens.

Told in a unique way, Vonnegut manages to demonstrate how sex and attraction are related to innocence through Billy and his sexual attraction and thoughts toward younger people. Billy shows how he admires innocence when he is attracted to a teenage boy during the war. Billy’s first confrontation with a younger person was when he was laying on the floor and looking up at the commander’s companion, a 15-year-old boy dressed in rags.

Billy thinks that the boy looks “heavenly” and “like Eve” which is important because earlier in the text Billy expresses his love for Adam and Eve Billy shows his love for Eve when he says, “They were naked. They were so innocent, so vulnerable, so eager to behave decently, Billy Pilgrim loved them “. Billy likes Eve because she is innocent just like the 15-year-old boy is innocent. Billy is attracted to the boy and refers to him as “heavenly“ because an innocent young person is Billy’s picture of an angel.

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Billy wants to be an angel which is why he likes the little boy and Eve. Vonnegut portrays how sex is related to innocence when Billy has sex with the young actress Montana Wildhack. Montana is only 20 years old; Montana ends up on Tralfamadore the same way Billy does. Billy and Montana have sex, and Billy describes the sex when he says, “It was heavenly”.

Vonnegut uses repetition in this sentence when he uses the word ‘heavenly”.l-le used this same word when describing the innocent 15-year-old boy. Vonnegut implies that Billy thinks the sex with Montana was heavenly because Montana is younger and ,therefore, more innocent.The reader knows that Billy enjoys the sex more because Montana is more innocent compared to how Billy describes sex with his wife who is of an older age. Vonnegut describes how sex ends with Billy and his wife as “Now he rolled off his huge wife, who rapt expression did not change when he departed” Montana compared to Billy’s wife is a better sex partener because Montana is more innocent. Vonnegut implies that Billy is also innocent which is why Billy may be attracted to innocent people. When Billy goes to a “comic book” store that doubles as a porn store, he only wants to look at the comics written by Troutr Vonnegut says Billy, “wasn‘t beguiled by the back of the store.

He was thrilled by the Kilgore Trout novels in the front”. Billy is more interested in fantasy comics then looking at porn with the men in the back. This could be considered more innocent than the rest of the men. When the clerk in the store encourages Billy to go to the back, Billy is not really interested in anything except the small clip of Montana; even so, Billy is not interested because she is naked, but he is more interested about her existing in this clip forever. His lack of attraction to naked pornstars shows Billy’s innocence. Vonnegut used sex and attraction to explain Billy’s thoughts about innocence. Sex and attraction are well known opposites to innocence or being pure; however, Vonnegut used the opposites to explain each other. This made the reader think about some challenging question: If one is obsessed with sex, are can they be innocent?

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The Portrayal and Use of Sex in Slaughterhouse Five, a Novel by Kurt Vonnegut. (2023, Apr 21). Retrieved from

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