Perhaps the most noticeable part of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five is the repetition of the phrase “So it goes.” This phrase is repeated throughout the novel after every instance of death and serves as a reminder of the inevitability of death. It is hard to ignore the number of times that the phrase is repeated throughout the novel. Vonnegut uses the phrase to make a point of how many lives were lost because of war and how death is very much a part of human existence. While death is a significant aspect of Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five, the repetition of the phrase “So it goes” after every instance of death emphasizes death’s presence by highlighting how it is a part of everyday life.
While I was disappointed that I would not be volunteering with the same class at Tunbridge as I did last semester, I was ecstatic to learn that I would be volunteering with the art class. I have loved art classes since a very young age and have consistently taken various forms of art classes up until college. Just as the phrase “So it goes” appears in Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five, art classes have appeared in my life just as sporadically. I didn’t and still don’t consider myself the most athletic person in the world, so I turned to art when I was younger as an outlet. I loved to challenge myself and create new works of art or practice singing new pieces of music. Art was always a natural part and presence in my life.
I think one of the reasons why I enjoyed art so much is because each art project is different. The Tunbridge students create something different in every class. Unlike math, where you practices problems again and again, you learn to be a better artist by letting creativity flow and trying different techniques. Today at Tunbridge, the kindergarten students made colorful trees from a Dr. Seuss book. While there was a basic way how to create these trees, the students were allowed to be creative in the creation of their pieces of art. In the end, not one of the trees looked the same. The students were allowed to let their creativity flow and express themselves through the personalization of their projects.
Unlike the Tunbridge students’ freedom, the characters of Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five lacked freedom. The main character, Billy Pilgrim, is enlisted as a soldier and is required to behave a certain way, although he is not professionally trained to fight in a war. When it comes to war, there is no room for creativity or interpretation as this could cause serious harm to yourself and the rest of your soldiers. By not following directions, soldiers can lose their lives and be marked with yet another “So it goes” moment after the death of someone they know.
Life is marked with many “So it goes” moments. For many, it is the passing of someone they know. For others, it’s creating something new or mastering a new talent, such as art. Each significant moment is marked by something, whether it is a phrase or merely a memory.