Friday, April 2, 2010

Slaughterhouse - Five Literary Term: Prolepsis

  • Def.- insertion of an image in a narrative scene that suggests that something occurred in the future, or flash forward
  • Ex.- pg. 141, "[Lazzaro] pointed to Billy with his one mobile hand. 'I promised [Roland Weary] I'd have this silly cocksucker shot after the war.'... Billy Pilgrim says now that this really is the way he is going to die, too... At the time of his death, he says, he is in Chicago to address a large crowd on the subject of flying saucers and the true nature of time... [Billy] swings back into life again, all the way back to an hour after his life was threatened by Lazzaro"
  • C.- Paul Lazzaro was telling Billy that he was going to kill him in revenge for Roland Weary's death, when Billy became "unstuck in time" and told of how Lazzaro really does kill him in 1976, long after the war is over.
  • C.- Vonnegut's use of prolepsis serves to
  • C.- emphasize the theme of free will versus fatalism and Billy's acceptance of the Tralfamadorian philosophy of death, which shows that through his acceptance of his own death Billy finally became the strong character that he was not throughout the book, when he was rather just a weak-willed and slightly farcical character.

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