Document Type

Sophomore Honorable Mention

Award Date

Spring 2010

Course Name

Literary Explorations II


Margaret Cain


Over the course of history, which type of person makes a bigger impact, an active manipulator fighting to stay alive or a passive observer floating along in the sea of life?

Slaughterhouse Five, by Kurt Vonnegut, and Maus, by Art Spiegelman, answered this question differently. Billy Pilgrim, the main character of Slaughterhouse Five, was so passive and uncaring about his fate that he effectively came “unstuck” in time. Conversely, Vladek Spiegelman of Maus put up a fight at every opportunity and never willingly traveled along in life. However, neither character made a difference on the events of the Second World War. Based on examples from each novel, one could argue the case that no matter what people do, they are always condemned to a life of insignificance, making little or no impact on the world around them.