20 Literary Elements in the book, Slaughterhouse-Five:
1. Motif: The repeated phrase which signifies the theme of the story is
"So it goes." "Now, when I myself hear that somebody is dead, I simply
shrug and say what the Tralfamadorians say about dead people, which is
'So it goes."
2. Metonymy: The third bullet was for the filthy flamingo, who stopped
dead center in the road when the lethal bee buzzed past his ear.
3. Allusion: "Weary looked like Tweedledum or Tweedledee, all bundled up for battle. He was short and thick."
4. Illustrations: Vonnuget actually provided three or four small illustrations to add to the writing. (Page 79)
5. Dark Humor: "Billy coughed when the door was opened, and when he
coughed he shit thin gruel. This was in accordance with the Third Law of
Motion according to Sir Isaac Newton...This can be useful in rocketry."
6. Aphorism: "There is no why."
7. Juxtaposition of attitudes: When Billy was stuck on a boxcar to be
sent off to a German camp, he had a hobo is his car who stated, "I been
hungrier than this. I been in worse places than this. This ain't so
8. Symbolism: "But, lying on the black ice there, Billy stared into the
patina of the corporal's boots, saw Adam and Eve in the golden depths.
They were naked. They were so innocent, so vulnerable, so eager to
behave decently. Billy Pilgrim loved them"
9. Irony: "The dog, who had sounded so ferocious in the winter
distances, was a female German shepherd. She was shivering. Her tail was
between her legs.She had been borrowed that morning form a farmer. She
had never been to war before. She had no idea what game was being
played. Her name was Princess."
10. Perspective: "The soldiers' eyes were filled with a bleary civilian
curiosity as to why one American would try to murder another one so far
from home, and why the victim should laugh."
11. Repetition: "The congregation had been theoretically spotted from
the air by a theoretical enemy. They were all theoretically dead now.
The theoretical corpses laughed and ate a hearty noontime meal."
12. Direct Characterization: "He had been unpopular because he was stupid and fat and mean, and smelled like bacon no matter how much he washed."
13. Indirect Characterization: "They supposed that he was a splendid specimen. This had a pleasant
effect on Billy, who began to enjoy his body for the first time."
14. Figurative Language: "The hobo could not flow, could not plop. He wasn't liquid anymore. He was stone."
15. Antagonist: Paul Lazzaro. Vows revenge on Billy Pilgram.
16. Dialect: ""Yank," told them "Good show," promised them that "Jerry was on the run," and so on."
17. Allusion #2: "He was given a book to read. The book was The Red Badge of Courage, by Stephen Crane. Derby had read it before."
18. Onomatopoeia: "Poo-tee-weet?"
19. Hyperbole: "An unseen hand turned a master valve. Out of the showerheads gushed scalding rain. The rain was a blowtorch that did not warm. It jazzed and jangled Billy's skin without thawing the ice in the marrow of his long bones."
20. Protagonist: Billy Pilgram. Travels through time and space realizing this will go how they will.