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Essay 2.docx - Ellis 1 Karissa Ellis Professor Brandyn...

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Ellis 1 Karissa Ellis Professor Brandyn Johnson English 2017 4 May 2017 Slaughterhouse-Five and Flight : The Development of Trauma and the Solution to it Both Slaughterhouse-Five and Flight are novels that give great insight into the mind of a person who has been through traumatic, life-changing experiences. While Slaughterhouse-Five delves more into the damage that these experiences have on the mind and the experience of a person dealing with these problems, Flight shows much more of the real-world consequences of abandoning these already damaged souls. Is this destruction inevitable? Is there a way to lessen the damage, or even reverse it? Unlike Slaughterhouse-Five , which is mostly a stream-of- consciousness novel that leaves its issues largely unresolved, Flight ends with what is one of several possible solutions to this nagging problem that lays quietly on the underbelly of our society. The character Billy Pilgrim from Slaughterhouse-five is a fascinating example of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and perhaps confabulation. Daniel Pendick from Memory Loss & the Brain has written about the experience of a neurosurgeon named John DeLuca who deals with patients suffering from confabulation, which is the misinterpretation and artificial construction of memories. Throughout the novel, Billy describes his experience as being caused by having been taken to another planet and coming “unstuck in time” (29). However, based on his reactions in the novel and other cues, this just seems to be a case of his post-traumatic stress
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Ellis 2 from his experience in Dresden in World War II hitting him and triggering confabulation and confusion. Rather than Billy Pilgrim’s trips back and forth in time being random, they seem to be triggered by the events surrounding him. If he is in an uncomfortable situation, often he will time-travel to a better period in his life – much like a dissociation. When he is going about his daily life in his later years, and he hears, for example, a siren go off, he is immediately transported back to the war in his mind. As readers of the novel would know, there is much more to his travels than even just this disorder. Billy Pilgrim also claims to have been kidnapped by aliens and taken to a planet called Tralfamadore. This behavior from Billy seems to be quite a departure from what a person would typically fabricate in their mind. However, it should be noted that even Tralfamadore and the events that happen there share many similarities with his experiences on earth. This heavily implies that his experiences may be an illusion – a confabulation that his mind has created as a kind of coming mechanism which may have also been compounded by a plane crash that he experienced later in life.
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