Slaughterhouse Five

Analysis of Minor Characters in "The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison and "Slaughterhouse Five" by Kurt Vonnegut 12th Grade

Minor characters may not be the center of action or attraction, but novelists can use them to supplement the understanding of major characters and the thematic purpose of the text. In his novel Slaughterhouse Five, published in 1969, Kurt Vonnegut depicts the fragmentation of the protagonist Billy Pilgrim’s life as he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder after the brutality witnessed in the war. He uses a metafictive frame and the disrupted chronology in his satirical novel to consolidate his critical tone towards the glorification of war by the institutions and society as it masks the corruption and marginalization of veterans. Toni Morrison, author of The Bluest Eye published one year later, also employs a fragmented structure in her novel to explore the low self-esteem of the African American community as a result of the oppressive and dominant white ideology in American society, which she terms the ‘master narrative’. She describes the various backgrounds of characters related to the protagonist Pecola and her eventual insanity as she seeks the white ideal of beauty to comment on the distorted and destructive nature of the master narrative. Vonnegut and Morrison both utilize symbolism and manipulate...

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