Slaghterhouse Five, by Kurt Vonnegut, is a story about Billy Pilgrim’s life as he lives in circular time frame. We bounce back and forth to the times of his marraige, time in Tralfamadore, and to the times in Dresden, Germany. It is a very well written book full of war criticism that makes you think about you’re current position in life.
Billy Pilgrim is purely one who “can feel nothing and still get full credit for being alive.” He tells the story in this book, as he gets thrown around into different time periods of his life.
He starts off as an optometrist in Ilium, New York; where he soon became engaged to the daughter of the founder and owner of the school. Shortly after he suffered a mild nervous collapse. Billy oddly never really understood why he married Valencia Merble.
After this it is hard for me to piece together quite what he is doing next, for he jumps around to different periods of time so frequently, but i guess he is taken to Tralfamadore sometime during his college years.
Tralfamadore is the planet that he is taken to by his alien friends. They show him how foolish humanity looks from an outside view, and just how easy it is to live in peace. The Tralfamadorians can not understand why the earthlings fight instead of love. They place Billy in a sort of ‘zoo’. He lives in a simulation of a house, just with no walls. They bring to Billy a beautiful actress by the name of Montana Wildhack who falls in love with Billy during her time there. The Tralfamadorians loved to see how they lived and reacted to each other.
Billy is also to be sent into war. The only problem is that Billy has no desire to hurt anyone and ends up wandering around with no weapon, making his position well known to the enemy. If it wasnt for Roland Weary, he would have been blown to bits in the middle of an open road. Eventually they get captured and brought by train to a camp. Some died on the trains and the men had to withstand being cramped next to a dead man for days. When they got to the camp, they were fed and were able to watch performances. Billy ate nothing, and in turn saved himself from becoming sick like the others. They were shortly taken to Dresden, after the Russians could no longer stand looking at the Americans. They wrote bad reports about the condition of the army, complaining about how white they were, and how they were just a group of young boys thrown into a battle they shouldn’t have been in.
In Dresden, the men enjoyed some freedoms in between working. They could at least be allowed to go about the city, and not be restrained to a certain place. Billy mixed giant tubs of syrup, which he had hidden spoons to take constant tastes of. Soon Billy and the rest of the Americans were taken into another room of the slaughterhouse building number five. They were warned the great city was going to be attacked. They could hear the planes and fire above, and when they arose from their building, they realized they were the only ones left.
Billy was glad to see the war over, now he could go back home. He enjoyed fooling the humans around him and reading his Kilgore Trout books, full of humor only few could understand.
this book is a bibliography