In Chapter 2 of Slaughterhouse Five, we learn an awful lot about Billy Pilgrim. We learn that he was born an only child, drafted for military service, taken prisoner by the Germans, returned home a successful optometrist and had a nervous breakdown.
Billy Pilgrim relives the Dresden bombings and his captivity. His "unstuck in time" or time-traveling was just a mechanism to help him cope with post traumatic system disorder. His time-traveling always found him going back to Dresden. By not having the story told in a normal chronological sequence, Billy is not permitted to bury the past nor forget about it. As such, neither are his readers.
Chapter 2 also tells of an airplane crash killing everyone but him. Additionally, we learn that while he was recuperating, his wife died of carbon-monoxide poisoning trying to get to the hospital to see him. The entire story is basically told in Chapter 2.It is also in this chapter that Billy,"time-travels for the 1st time The series of scenes and fragmentations of Billy 's life in chapter 2 alone unnerving. Had we leaned the corse of events in a normal chronological sequence, rather than tidbit here and there, the events would have been m,ore understandable. We learn of his wife 's death in chapter 2, yet we learn the full circumstances of her death in chapter 9.
In chapter 7, Billy Pilgrim is on a chartered airplane in which he knows that it is going to crash. This chapter starts in the year 1970. Billy and 28 other people(optometr...
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...im a stripper, Montana Wildhack, to mate with. The Tralfamadorians can see in the fourth dimension, meaning time, and they try to teach Billy how time actually works. This is his ideal world.
In summary, Billy Pilgrim is merely a victim of post traumatic stress disorder. As he struggles to cope with the memories of the Dresden bombing, he comes up with a name for his vivid flashbacks and terrible reactions to little day-to-day things: time-travel. Another coping device is his imaginary world of aliens who can also time-travel. His family thinks he is senile and even his daughter, Barbara asks what she is going to do with him. He puts a great effort towards trying to convince others that he really is travelling back to Dresden and really does experience the firebombing over and over. Billy is not unstuck in time, he is suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.
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