Billy Pilgrim is born in 1922 and grows up in Ilium, New York. A funny-looking, weak youth, he does well in high school, then he enrolls in night classes at the Ilium School of Optometry, and is soon drafted into the army. He serves as a chaplain's assistant, is sent into the Battle of the Bulge, and almost gets taken prisoner by the Germans. Just before being captured he first becomes unstuck in time. He sees the entirety of his life in one sweep. Billy is transported with other privates to the beautiful city of Dresden. There the prisoners are made to work for their keep. They are kept in a former slaughterhouse. Billy and his fellow POWs survive in an airtight meat locker. They emerge to find a moonscape of destruction. Several days’ later Russian forces capture the city and the war is over. Billy returns to Ilium and finishes optometry school. He gets engaged to the daughter of the founder of the school. His wealthy father-in-law sets him up in the optometry business. Billy and his wife raise two children and become wealthy.
One day in 1967, as he claims on a radio talk show and in a letter to the editor, Billy is kidnapped by two-foot high aliens whose body shape is reminiscent of an upside down toilet plunger. These are the Tralfamadorians. They take him to Tralfamadore where they mate him with the actress Montana Wildhack and keep both earthlings in a zoo. They also explain to him their perception of time, how all of it exists for them simultaneously in the fourth dimension. When someone dies he is simply dead at a particular time. Somewhere else and at a different time he is alive and well. Tralfamadorians prefer to look at the nice moments.
When he is returned to earth, Billy initially says nothing. However, after he suffers a head injury in a plane crash and after his wife dies on her way to see him in the hospital, Billy tells the world what he has learned. He goes on a radio talk show and writes a letter to the newspaper. His daughter is at her wit's end and doesn't know what to do with him. Billy makes a tape recording of his account of his death, which will occur in 1976 after Chicago has been hydrogen bombed by the Chinese. He knows exactly how it will happen: a man he knew in the war will hire someone to shoot him. Billy will experience the violet hum of death, then will skip back to some other point in his life. He's see...
... middle of paper ...
...ughterhouse-Five, it seems that both the narrator and Billy Pilgrim are represented as author. The point of view in this book is the author is looking at the events of his own life; past, present, and future and trying to make some sense out of them the same way that Billy is trying to order the events of his own life.
The author uses short, simple sentences that manage to say a lot in a few words. The author also uses imagery. He also puts in his book references to historical events. These references increase the understanding and appreciation of Billy's story by suggesting historical and literary parallels to the personal events in his life. The novel does not have smooth transitions from one event to the next.
A normal novel has smooth transition. Vonnegut wrote this book without any smooth transition. This novel is very complicated. The topics that are mention are hard to understand. The book was a bit difficult to follow. Slaughter House-Five's character's needs more depth. More description is necessary. There was too much jumping around in time in Billy’s life. I thought that this book was going to be better than it actually was.
I wouldn’t recommend this book to a person wh
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- People react differently to tragedies: some mourn, some speak up, and some avoid the sorrow. In Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut suggests the danger and inhumanity of turning away from the discomfort by introducing Billy Pilgrim as someone who is badly affected by the aftermath of the Dresden bombing, and the Tralfamadorians as the aliens who provide an easy solution to Billy. It is simpler to avoid something as tragic as death, but Vonnegut stresses the importance of confronting it. Vonnegut, like many artists, expresses his ideas through his creations.... [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five]
1664 words (4.8 pages)
- The Three Themes of Slaughterhouse-Five Kurt Vonnegut did a great job in writing an irresistible reading novel in which one is not permitted to laugh, and yet still be a sad book without tears. Slaughterhouse-five was copyrighted in 1969 and is a book about the 1945 firebombing in Dresden which had killed 135,000 people. The main character is Billy Pilgrim, a very young infantry scout who is captured in the Battle of the Bulge and quartered to a slaughterhouse where he and other soldiers are held.... [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five Essays]
938 words (2.7 pages)
- The Theme of Time in Slaughterhouse-Five Many writers in history have written science fiction novels and had great success with them, but only a few have been as enduring over time as Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five. Slaughterhouse-Five is a personal novel which draws upon Vonnegut's experience's as a scout in World War Two, his capture and becoming a prisoner of war, and his witnessing of the fire bombing of Dresden in February of 1945 (the greatest man-caused massacre in history). The novel is about the life and times of a World War Two veteran named Billy Pilgrim.... [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five Essays]
1071 words (3.1 pages)
- The Use of Fragmentation in Slaughterhouse-Five In the novel Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut uses fragmentation of time, structure and character in order to unify his non-linear narrative. Vonnegut's main character, Billy Pilgrim, travels back and forth in his own life span "paying random visits to all events in between" (SF 23). The result is Billy's life is presented as a series of episodes without any chronological obligations. This mirrors the structure of the novel which has a beginning, middle and end but not in their traditional places.... [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five Essays]
1478 words (4.2 pages)
- Death and Time in Slaughterhouse-Five We all wish we could travel through time, going back to correct our stupid mistakes or zooming ahead to see the future. In Kurt Vonnegut's novel Slaughterhouse-Five, however, time travel does not seem so helpful. Billy Pilgrim, Vonnegut's main character, has come unstuck in time. He bounces back and forth between his past, present, and future lives in a roller coaster time trip that proves both senseless and numbing. Examining Billy's time traveling, his life on Tralfamadore, and the novel's schizophrenic structure shows that time travel is actually a metaphor for our human tendency to avoid facing the unpleasant reality of death.... [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five Essays]
816 words (2.3 pages)
- The Themes of Slaughterhouse-Five The moral of "Slaughterhouse-Five" is whatever you want it to be. That is the beauty of the book. However, in his typically dark, sarcastic way, Kurt Vonnegut gives us several possible themes to explore. One of the themes relates to the way in which Mr. Vonnegut presents the human life span. Through his writing, Mr. Vonnegut poses an ancient question: Are we masters of our destiny, or are we simply pawns of fate. The medium through which Mr. Vonnegut presents this riddle is death.... [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five Essays]
910 words (2.6 pages)
- The Intricately Woven Themes of Slaughterhouse-Five At first glance Slaughterhouse-Five appears to be a simplistic story. It is a short account of a man's experiences in World War II and the effects the war had on his life. But by taking a deeper look into Slaughterhouse-Five we see intricately woven themes, contrasts, and morals. Vonnegut has disguised a great lecture against war and an acceptance of death through the idiocy and simplicity of Billy Pilgrim.... [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five Essays]
2208 words (6.3 pages)
- Analysis of Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five Section One- Introduction Slaughterhouse-Five, written by Kurt Vonnegut Junior, was published in 1968 after twenty-three years of internal anguish. The novel was a "progressive work" after Vonnegut returned from World War II. Why did it take twenty-three years for Kurt Vonnegut to write this novel. The answer lies within the book and within the man himself. Kurt Vonnegut served in the Armed Forces during World War II and was captured during The Battle of the Bulge.... [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five Essays]
2383 words (6.8 pages)
- Slaughterhouse Five Dresden "In Slaughterhouse Five, -- Or the Children's Crusade, Vonnegut delivers a complete treatise on the World War II bombing of Dresden. The main character, Billy Pilgrim, is a very young infantry scout* who is captured in the Battle of the Bulge and quartered in a Dresden slaughterhouse where he and other prisoners are employed in the production of a vitamin supplement for pregnant women. During the February 13, 1945, firebombing by Allied aircraft, the prisoners take shelter in an underground meat locker.... [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five Essays]
563 words (1.6 pages)
- Slaughterhouse-Five Dresden The focal point of Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five is the devastating fire-bombing of Dresden in World War II, an event which was experienced by the real-life Vonnegut as well as the fictional Billy Pilgrim. Through the novel, Vonnegut renders his account of an occurrence which is, in itself, indescribable. In order to tell this story to the world, Vonnegut uses Billy Pilgrim's Tralfamadorian experience as a window that allows the reader some relief from the horrors of war.... [tags: Slaughterhouse-Five Essays]
558 words (1.6 pages)