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Slaughterhouse-Five

Slaughterhouse Five is the now famous parable of Billy Pilgrim a World War II veteran and POW who has in the later stage of his life become unstuck in time and who experiences at will or unwillingly all known events of his chronology out of order and sometimes simultaneously Traumatized by the bombing of Dresden at the time he had been imprisoned Pilgrim drifts through all events and history sometimes deeply implicated sometimes a w. I write this review for the first time Vonnegut reader In my freshman year at Texas Tech University we read Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut Jr I ll call it BOC from now on It wasn t the first piece of illustrated literature I d read but all the uirky illustrations were simple hand drawn images of objects I never expected to be depicted in such a way such as little girl underpants and a beaver In BOC Vonnegut pardon if I don t put the Jr on each time introduced the character Kilgore Trout a writer of science fiction At one point Kilgore Trout has an exchange with a truck driver that includes this conversation Excuse me said the truck driver to Trout I ve got to take a leak Back where I come from said Trout that means you re going to steal a mirror We call mirrors leaks I never heard that before said the driver He repeated the word Leaks He pointed to a mirror on a cigarette machine You call that a leak Doesn t it look like a leak to you said Trout No said the driver Where did you say you were from I was born in Bermuda said TroutAbout a week later the driver would tell his wife that mirrors were called leaks in Bermuda and she would tell her friendsVonnegut Kurt Breakfast of Champions pp 91 94 RosettaBooks Kindle EditionI remember laughing out loud at that passage Anyway I fell in love with what I thought was his sense of humor and went on to read six of his books As I did I got and depressed I eventually uit reading his books because I couldn t take it One of them that I never got around to reading was Slaughterhouse Five I wish I had It would have explained a lotLike Breakfast of Champions Vonnegut put himself along with his characters into the books This is especially true in Slaughterhouse Five which I will now refer to as S5 S5 chapter 1 begins with Vonnegut s own story Chapter 2 begins the story of Vonnegut s avatar Billy Pilgrim The story both the fictional and true elements is how during the Second World War they got to the German city of Dresden and then survived its firebombing Witnessing that event in particular and World War II in general had a profound effect on Vonnegut He became charmingly cynical in the extremeAn NPR writer said this about him Kurt Vonnegut was a counterculture hero a modern Mark Twain an avuncular jocular friend to the youth until you got to know him He wanted to reach young people with his writing even though he was 50 years old So he created a writing voice that reached the Viet Nam era youth to tell them his damaged views of life It worked Books like S5 and BOC flew off the shelves Normally you have to be dead a long time before they are teaching your books in freshman college courses unless you have become a countercultural hero Such was the case BOC was published in 1973 and I was a freshman in 1975ListenYou may think I am warning you not to read this or any of his books but it isn t true I think he was a brilliant writer and truly was an American master But I also think you should inform yourself about what is going on behind the scenes There is no lack of information about the enigma that was Vonnegut so do a bit of digging and make sure you understand something about the trip you will takeOne of the things you ll discover about his books is to watch for his signature move In BOC the little drawings were the uirky window dressings he added In S5 he uses the phrase So it goes When you read S5 you ll see this phrase every time death is mentioned whether it is the death of a person an idea a product or whatever There has been a fair bit of analysis written about what he meant by it One of the things about World War II that deeply affected Vonnegut was the mass killing of people whether by firebombing Dresden Tokyo etc or the nuclear bombing of cities Hiroshima Nagasaki This was death on a grand scale and it had a profound effect on his mind In S5 there are over 100 references to death and each one is accompanied by So it goes uite often the references are both ghastly and ironicHere is an exampleEarly in 1968 a group of optometrists with Billy among them chartered an airplane to fly them from Ilium to an international convention of optometrists in Montreal The plane crashed on top of Sugarbush Mountain in Vermont Everybody was killed but Billy So it goesWhile Billy was recuperating in a hospital in Vermont his wife died accidentally of carbon monoxide poisoning So it goesVonnegut Kurt Slaughterhouse Five p 31 RosettaBooks Kindle EditionI hope you enjoy Slaughterhouse Five I did However I protected myself by waiting until I was 63 and knew how to guard my mind Others can tell you about what you ll get from the story I m just here to make sure you are wearing your safety harness

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Itness He is surrounded by Vonnegut's usual large cast of continuing characters notably here the hack science fiction writer Kilgore Trout and the alien Tralfamadorians who oversee his life and remind him constantly that there is no causation no order no motive to existence The unstuck nature of Pilgrim's experience may constitute an early novelistic use of what we now call post traumatic stress disorder; then again Pilgrim's aliens. I felt compelled to revisit Vonnegut s iconic anti war novel Slaughterhouse Five for two reasons Firstly because from time to time and our times are no exception we all have to remind ourselves of the macabre of warsVonnegut shows us the true colours of war He dismantles all the naively romantic notions anyone may have about war the unrealistic heroism and the false premise of winners and losers I didn t enjoy reading Slaughterhouse Five but then it wasn t written for anyone s entertainment It is stark cruel and unforgiving It is a warning People die good people bad people losers as well as conuerors soldiers and civilians youngsters and the elderly dogs horses allies and enemies No one is exempt No one is immune No one is above it And so it goes Vonnegut shows it in raw ugly detail and that detail is no fictionWar and death eualise everyone No nation is idealised and no nation is condemned in its collective totality Faults and failings befall all It is a brave concept not to idealise the winners In fact Vonnegut shows uite effectively that war destroys everyone and everything Every construct of what s right and wrong good and bad justifiable and inexcusable is absolutely false The victorious Americans are bombed on par with German civilians in an open city of Dresden The bombs don t discriminate between them and us It is all us And this is the irony of it wars are started because of divisions but as they rage everyone pays the same price feels the same pain and has only one life to loseMy second reason was to explore the time travel idea in the book It is harrowing for Billy Pilgrim to go over and over again through his terrifying war experience Time doesn t work chronologically in this tale The war never really ends It remains present throughout Billy s entire life Events from his birth childhood wartime and his post war civilian life are mingled together The trauma he has lived through can never be consigned to the past There is no past There is no future Time is not linear Everything is happening simultaneously all the time and Billy jumps in and out of events while they carry on unfolding on an endless loop Billy s sojourn into the alien world of Tralfamadore is his brain s way of coping with the scars left by the war on his psyche Those who lived through war will never put it behind them That message really hits home when you think of all those child refugees physically leaving war affected areas but having to spend the rest of their lives trapped back there foreverIt is such a powerful idea War is timeless Once you have unleashed it it will not end Slaughterhouse Five should be a compulsory read for young people to digest before they enter adulthood in order to dispel their childhood jolly war myths and shield them against glorification of war Idenics premise of winners and losers I didn t enjoy reading Slaughterhouse Five but then it wasn t written for anyone s entertainment It is stark cruel and unforgiving It is a warning People die good Night Owl Loonette people bad Deadshifted (Edie Spence, people losers as well as conuerors soldiers and civilians youngsters and the elderly dogs horses allies and enemies No one is exempt No one is immune No one is above it And so it goes Vonnegut shows it in raw ugly detail and that detail is no fictionWar and death eualise everyone No nation is idealised and no nation is condemned in its collective totality Faults and failings befall all It is a brave concept not to idealise the winners In fact Vonnegut shows uite effectively that war destroys everyone and everything Every construct of what s right and wrong good and bad justifiable and inexcusable is absolutely false The victorious Americans are bombed on El agujero del infierno par with German civilians in an open city of Dresden The bombs don t discriminate between them and us It is all us And this is the irony of it wars are started because of divisions but as they rage everyone The Essential Jim Brickman, Vol. 4 (Piano/Vocal/Chords) pays the same Teddy price feels the same Calling Me Home pain and has only one life to loseMy second reason was to explore the time travel idea in the book It is harrowing for Billy Pilgrim to go over and over again through his terrifying war experience Time doesn t work chronologically in this tale The war never really ends It remains Mr. Francis Wife post war civilian life are mingled together The trauma he has lived through can never be consigned to the The Shadow People past There is no Demons, Yes--But Thank God for Good Angels put it behind them That message really hits home when you think of all those child refugees The Pride and Prejudice Movie Cookbook physically leaving war affected areas but having to spend the rest of their lives trapped back there foreverIt is such a Vietnam Perkasie powerful idea War is timeless Once you have unleashed it it will not end Slaughterhouse Five should be a compulsory read for young

By Kurt Vonnegut Ë 9 Free read

May be as real as Dresden is real to him Struggling to find some purpose order or meaning to his existence and humanity's Pilgrim meets the beauteous and mysterious Montana Wildhack certainly the author's best character name has a child with her and drifts on some supernal plane finally in which Kilgore Trout the Tralfamadorians Montana Wildhack and the ruins of Dresden do not merge but rather disperse through all planes of existence. It s clever I can see why it s considered a classic Poor Billy Pilgrim is the subject of a wide number of humiliations throughout the book inflicted by those who love hate or are indifferent to him He jumps from one place and time to another as he experiences his life as a child in the war and as a husband and father I found it impossible to say for sure how much or how little of the narration was reliable The narrative is fractured as is any semblance of chronology but that s intentional and works well with the story And certain phrases are repeated as if like a mantra that attempts to ground the narrator into the here and now or the then and thereIt s a philosophical book that considers how time might appear to beings who exist in four dimensions compared to our linear perception of time It also asks what is real and what is not real is it based on perception or is it possible to point to any one objective reality If you haven t read it and enjoy being confused check it out


9 thoughts on “Slaughterhouse-Five

  1. says:

    I remember reading this in American Literature class, and I always wanted to come back to it because it's just o

  2. says:

    I write this review for the first time Vonnegut reader. In my freshman year at Texas Tech University, we read "Breakfast of Champions" by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (I'll call it BOC from now on.) It wasn't the first piece of illustrated literature I'd read, but all the quirky illustrations were simple, hand drawn images of objects I never expected to be depicted in such a way, such as little girl underpants and a b

  3. says:

    I know this a oldie but goodie book but somehow I missed it all these years. Interesting reading it 50 years after it was published. It has passed the test of time. It is oddly engaging and unpredictable and just plain weird. This type of work can not be copied because it so utterly original. I can see how it was shocking

  4. says:

    My high school English teacher gave me this book with the caution, Don't tell anyone I gave this to you. Guess I let her down here. A classic read and perhaps the one you want to start with when reading Vonnegut. Cat's Cradl

  5. says:

    I finally got to read this book on the 50th anniversary of its publication. The originality of this anti war book made it worth the wait and the themes are as valid today as they ever were.

    The story is mainly set in Dresden during the Second World War, although eventually the protagonist realises that timeline of his life is something he can choose to enter when he chooses. So the story flits from his early days to when h

  6. says:

    I felt compelled to revisit Vonnegut’s iconic anti war novel, Slaughterhouse Five, for two reasons. Firstly, because from time to time (and ou

  7. says:

    I first read Slaughterhouse Five as student getting on for twenty five years ago now. I loved it and have returned to it at interval

  8. says:

    I love this book so I purchased it for my dad for christmas. When it arrived some of the pages were stuck together the book had clearly been

  9. says:

    It's clever. I can see why it's considered a classic. Poor Billy Pilgrim is the subject of a wide number of humiliations throughout the book inflicted by those who love, hate or are indifferent to him. He jumps from one place and time to another as he experiences his life as a child, in the war, and as a husband and father. I found it impossible to say for sure how much or how little of the narration was reliable. The

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