Blue and Ivory In Slaughterhouse-Five Purpose Statement Kurt Vonnegut incorporates the repeated color imagery of blue and ivory as a reminder of the intimate relationship life has to death. Blue, an archetypical symbol of hope (reminiscent of the Virgin Mary), is juxtaposed with the color ivory. Ivory, a mix of white (a symbol of purity) and yellow (a symbol of decay), suggests that something has been tainted – morally or physically. Vonnegut bonds these colors specifically to humans and infers that human life has hope, but acts of destruction, like war and violence, taint that hope. Vonnegut often targets people who have been sacrificed by others in the pursuit of technological advances, money and power. The colors are a thematic reminder of the bleak, tainted hope of the deluded army of men who have been sacrificed and are not really living and not really dead. Vonnegut implies that their deaths, like their lives, are essentially meaningless. Quote One Billy, the personification of sacrifice in the novel, types a letter about his new philosophy about “time” that he hopes to show to the world. He is unable to get his furnace working, so “his bare feet [are] blue and Ivory ” (35). His blue and ivory feet reinforce Billy’s deluded nature while emphasizing the irony that Billy hopes to change the world, but he cannot get his furnace working. The war has taken away any chance of a real life, so he lives his life trying to create meaning in the hopeless void. Correspondingly, the blue and ivory also suggests Billy’s metaphorical death in a world that he cannot control . Vonnegut underscores this with Billy’s location – “underground” in his basement. Quotes Two American turned Nazi, Howard W. Campbell, is “sheathed in a blue body stocking which [has] yellow stripes running from his armpits to his ankles” (207). Campbell is manipulative, and he symbolizes all that is fraudulent in America. He is a sadistic example (like Weary and Lazzaro) of a character who suffers from delusions. While the colors on Campbell’s uniform mimic the blue and ivory repeated during the novel, his “ivory” is described as yellow which indicates his greater moral decay and eradicates any hope blue may offer as it dominates his body “from his armpits to his ankles.” His uniform represents physical and metaphorical death: the real death of Campbell following the fall of Germany and the metaphoric death of the American dream following the pointless bombing of Dresden. Quote Three Quote three plus supporting detail will go here. Quote Four Quote three plus supporting detail will go here. Quote Four Quote three plus supporting detail will go here. Conclusion In Slaughterhouse-five, Blue and ivory symbolize how the harsh realities of war cause the physical, emotional and/or psychological deaths of all affected by it. World War II, in general, caused an entire generation of people to become deluded: some deluded by faith in America and some by their own feelings of superiority. In addition, Vonnegut suggests that it is not just the innocent men that suffered, but all of America which involved itself in a war effort that slaughtered innocent women and children. The only equality, Vonnegut concludes, is in death.