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”There is no why”: A Psychoanalytic Approach to Trauma and Delusion in Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five
University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, Department of Humanities.
2020 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut provides a profound discussion on how the many traumas of war affect the human psyche. The novel’s protagonist, Billy Pilgrim, is a direct witness of many horrific events in World War II, which causes certain life-changing symptoms later in his life. This essay examines the psychological processes of Billy Pilgrim in relation to the traumatic events he experiences in the war. More specifically, Billy’s delusions of supernatural nature are discussed in an attempt to find a connection to the war-trauma. In doing this, the analysis utilizes a psychoanalytic approach to explore the theoretical concepts of trauma and delusion. The essay then identifies certain key moments that are of significance to the development of Billy Pilgrim’s psychological processes and investigates how the different events affect his psyche. Furthermore, Billy’s delusions are discussed to identify their cognitive functions. The analysis finds a clear connection between Billy’s delusions and his trauma, and the essay finds that several of his psychological mechanisms are supported by the corresponding ideas within the psychoanalytic framework. Moreover, a progression of his symptoms is identified and discussed in relation to his experiences in World War II.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2020. , p. 26
Keywords [en]
Trauma, Delusion, Psychoanalysis, War, Psychological Mechanisms, Time-Travel, Aliens
National Category
Specific Literatures
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-31429OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-31429DiVA, id: diva2:1385838
Subject / course
English
Educational program
Upper Secondary Teacher Education Programme
Presentation
2020-01-10, 10:00 (English)
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2020-01-16 Created: 2020-01-15 Last updated: 2020-01-16Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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