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Transcript of Slaughterhouse-Five
November 11, 1922--April 11, 2007
Most of the war references in Vonnegut's novels are based off of personal experience, such as the bombing of Dresden in Germany during WWII.
Vonnegut has raised seven children: three from his first marriage (with childhood sweetheart Jane Marie Cox), three of his sister Alice's children (who died from cancer), and a seventh, Lily, who was adopted. Author Backround The most apparent historical references are the WWII scenes. All of these war scenes (particularly the bombing of Dresden) are reminises of Vonnegut's personal war experiences. Tralfamadorians
This is the race of aliens that allow the main character, Billy, to become "unstuck" in time. They teach him how to use their "third sight" in order to view life as more of a timeline of moments; where they can jump into any moment within their timeline that they please. Plot Summary Billy is a soldier in World War II, where he doesn't understand the purpose of the war. He is innocent and yet must suffer the horrors of war. He becomes a prisoner of war and is placed in an abandoned slaughterhouse (bunker number 5) with several other POWs. His experiences in the war have caused so much emotional and psychological damage that the existence of the Tralfamadorians is assumably imaginary. Others claim him crazy, but Billy insists that these other-wordly creatures exist. World War II While jumping through time, he occasionally stumbles into reality, where he meets moments shared with his wife and friends; or sometimes in the process of writing his book based on these experiences with life on Tralfamadore. Billy Pilgrim's Personal Life Billy Pilgrim is a WWII veteran who claims to have been abducted by aliens and transported to Tralfamadore while in an abandoned slaugtherhouse as a POW. He is "mentally insane" due to the horrors he encounted while serving in the war. Because he couldn't handle dealing with the stress of his experiences, he created aliens who could help him escape from himself and his realities to visit happier times in his life. Character Analysis Life Experiences
Historical References http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=DvlZtlBfCi0#t=30s Thematic Analysis Freewill
Tralfamadorians don't believe in freewill; They have only seen it on Earth
Creation of the Human mind and is meaningless to anyone/anything else in the Universe Death
Not a big deal
Tralfamadorians "So it goes" Happiness
Billy's search for happiness
He can only be happy without the dwelling on the past or being afraid of the future There is only one incident throughout the entire novel that Billy Pilgrim is described/seen as crying, despite all of what he has gone through. He weeps when he sees some German soldiers riding horses that are crying out in pain because their hooves are torn up and they aren't well taken care of. Despite their discomfort, they obey the riders' wills and continue to walk through the wreckage of Dresden. Billy felt he could relate to the horses (an illusion to Vonnegut's feelings) because he was nothing but an innocent bystander who has to now deal with someone else's war. He, like the horses, doesn't understand why he has to suffer, but has no other choice but to obey and go with it. Symbols "It is so short and jumbled and jangled, Sam, because there is nothing intelligent to say about a massacre." Important Passages Billy wears ridiculous clothing, he is weak, scrauny, not a steriotypical soldier; which is why this book is one the most known anti-war novels to date. Billy is refered to as crazy by his daughter throughout the novel, but the novel is read as truth to the expeirences going on around Billy, so even if the time travel, the aliens ARE made up, they are real to him, and prove to be an ample coping method with the terrors of war.