Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Someone in Dresden was shot for taking a teapot that didn’t belong to him. It was after the war. It was 1967 and Guggenheim money was used. I (Kurt Vonnegut) went to the slaughterhouse with Bernard V. O’Hare, an attorney. It was where we were kept as POWs. The cab driver was Gerhard Muller. Things were much better after the war. I was writing an anti-war book on Dresden. Wars were ever-present at that time. I wanted to seek advice from Bernard to write my book on Dresden. I came upon an Englishmen who carried souvenirs in his bag. They were made of gold. His name is Yon Yonson, and he worked at a lumber-mill. After on in life, I got married with kids. I went to the University of Chicago and studied Anthropology. I also worked as a police reporter for the Chicago City News Bureau. Someone got crushed by an elevator and was killed. I was supposed to make a police report. WWII made people very tough. I worked in public relations for General Electric. To make the Dresden story, I tried to find out more information on the air raid. I took my daughter and her friend to Cape Cod. I visited Bernard’s house for dinner and met his wife, Mary. She treated me awkwardly and I wondered why. Mary kept agitating about the house. War made her very angry and she thought it was influenced by mass media. We became curious about Children’s Crusade, my book. In the past, children were made to join armies and then would be sold as slaves in North Africa. I also taught creative writing in the Writers Workshop at Iowa. I wanted to share my experiences with Bernard during the war. I was intrigued by a couple of books that I read. The world, as I know it, was full of vile evil people. My next book would be about Billy Pilgrim.

Billy has been dead and alive many times and his pays visits to events. He was born in 1922, a child of a barber. His father died in a hunting accident. Billy was conscripted during WWII. He was taken as a prisoner during the war. After a mild nervous shock, he started receiving treatment. He was rich from the optometrists business and he had 2 kids, Barbara and Robert. Unfortunately due to some unfortunate events, his children and his wife left him. Billy was now alone. Once, he told the news reporter that he was kidnapped by aliens but no one believed him. He described the creatures in Tralfamadore. Every time someone dies, they go ‘So it goes.’ The aliens believed that death is but a bad incident in someone’s life and that other than that, the person is still fine. His daughter, Barbara, was looking for him while he was writing in the room. Billy’s brain was slightly damaged from the air crash. Billy didn’t have a good impression of people on Earth. Billy’s mother was still alive. Barbara questioned the existence of the planet and thought her dad was out of his mind. Billy was assigned to an infantry regiment during the war. He was ready for death during a fighting scene. Although he was posted to fight, Billy didn’t look like a soldier. Two bullets nearly hit him but surprisingly the marksman missed. Finally Billy got off the road in the nick of time and was spared. He was chided by his mates for not being tactical in battle. He didn’t want to continue and asked to be left behind. Weary was his comrade during the war. Everyone was killed except Weary when a tank fired its shells. Weary was 18 and Billy was 21. Weary was a loner who liked to beat others up. His father had very sadistic weapons to kill people. Weary thought of many different ways to torture others. He had a trench knife which was given by his father. Billy was familiar with gore too. Billy had a model of the crucifix on his wall. Weary was very well equipped for the war. Weary was the natural leader in the group. It was Weary, Billy and another guy. Billy had the power to die and be revived again. He could transit between life and death easily. Now, he travelled in time to 1965. Now he was putting his sick mum into hospital. A soldier was killed for being cowardly. It was now 1961. He started flirting with a woman he brought home. Someone stole his steering wheel and he couldn’t drive. The problem was that he was in the backseat of the car and didn’t move to the front. Weary woke him up from his drunken stupor. Billy didn’t want to continue but was persuaded to continue by Weary. Now, he experienced a form of hallucination. The two scouts ditched them as Billy and Weary were too slow. Now, hallucination gave way to time-travel. Weary was extremely pissed at his behavior. Billy dreamt that he just finished a public speaking class. Weary had been ditched again. Weary kicked and punched him in a fit of rage. He was about to break his spine but German soldiers were witnessing it and he held back.

The worst form of execution: You stake a guy out on an anthill in the desert. He’s facing upward, and you put honey all over his balls and pecker, and you cut off his eyelids so he has to stare at the sun till he dies. – Weary

The dog was trained for war but hired by the Germans. Two of them were in their early teens. The corporal wore stolen golden boots. Billy was caught by the Germans. He imagined seeing Adam and Eve’s reflection in the boots. The two scouts had been shot and they were dying. Only Weary and Billy were left. All of their weapons were removed. They had to wear clogs in the harsh snow. Billy imagined himself as an optometrist in the future. He wondered where his youth went. He expected WWIII. Thankfully it was just a dream. A photographer took photos of Weary’s and Billy’s feet. In his future state, the streets were deserted. It is now 1967 during the Vietnam War and Billy had a son who was a sergeant. Billy had a good job as an optometrist and had his own business. He was rich. He was prone to crying in his home for no reason. A crippled was at his door trying to sell magazines. A man was ringing at his door. Now, the scene is back to WWII. The soldiers were made to march. Tens of thousands of Americans looked like water flowing during their march. Some of the Germans were always drunk. Finally they marched into Germany. Many of the American colonels were sick. The colonel started talking to Billy. He was delusional and imagined that Billy was his entire infantry regiment. All of them were dead. The author and Bernard were there. Now, Billy and Weary were separated. A hobo commented that his normal life was worse than during capture. The guards’ car was very well decorated. The Germans carried a dead colonel, Bob, out of the car. Prisoners were starving and had little to eat. Billy’s train didn’t move for two days. People had to excrete into helmets. Conditions were horrible. Now, Billy travelled to 1967.

Among the things Billy Pilgrim could not change were the past, the present, and the future. – Kurt Vonnegut

It was his daughter’s wedding. His wife was Valencia. He was about to be kidnapped by a flying saucer. His children were no longer there. The saucer was arriving in an hour. Billy wanted a movie on the WWII on TV. It was played backwards and seemed weird. He imagined the start of the Universe to be from Adam and Eve. The saucer was enormous and started hovering over Billy, casting a purple light. Soon he was in. The aliens communicated telepathically. They didn’t give an explanation as to why he was chosen. Billy was put to sleep. Now, Billy was back during WWII. Someone whispered in his ear and wanted him to move aside. Now Billy had to stand. The hobo passed away on the 9th day. Weary died of gangrene too. So it goes. It was day number 10. The people were being described as liquid. The guards gave the POWs overcoats stolen from dead soldiers. Billy was told to remove his clothes, a similar experience on the alien planet. Derby was a survivor from Weary’s cabin. He was a high school teacher. However he was soon executed in a firing squad. Now Billy was an optometrist again. He imagined himself playing golf. Now he was in the flying saucer again. The aliens didn’t seem to believe in free will. When asked, he didn’t know what free will was. Only Earth had such a thing as free will, the other planets didn’t have that.

The naked American prisoners had no faucets they could control. They could only wait for whatever was coming. Their penises were shriveled and their balls were retracted. Reproduction was not the main business of the evening. – Kurt Vonnegut

All time is all time. It does not change. It does not lend itself to warnings or explanations. It simply is. Take it moment by moment, and you will find that we are all, as I’ve said before, bugs in amber. – Tralfamadorian

There is no beginning, no middle, no end, no suspense, no moral, no causes, no effects. What we love in our books are the depths of many marvelous moments seen all at one time. – Tralfamadorian

Billy only had access to Valley of the Dolls and the aliens kept all the other books. He couldn’t read the Tralfamadorian novels. There were weird symbols in their books. Their books were not read in sequence. Everything was captured in a moment in time. Now, Billy was 12 years old. He was viewing the Grand Canyon. Now, he was touring the Carlsbad Caverns. Billy was back at WWII after a cold shower. A guard knocked down an American who insulted him. Billy was assigned with a number. He wore a dogtag at all times. A group of Englishmen joined the Americans. Their spirits were high, surprisingly. They looked super fit and healthy and well fed. A feast was about to happen that night. The banquet hall was well decorated and the meals were sumptuous. Cinderella was being performed and everyone enjoyed it. Billy was given a morphine jab. Now, Billy dreamt himself as a giraffe eating pear in a garden. Now, it was 1948, 3 years after war and he was in a ward for mental patients. He was going crazy after the war. Kilgore Trout was Billy’s favorite sci-fi author. Rosewater was a drunkard who checked in to the hospital. Both were using sci-fi to reinvent their horrible past. Billy’s mother came to visit sometimes. Billy was disappointing in the way he approached life. His mum prayed that he would greet her properly. Rosewater’s mum was dead. Billy’s father was dead. Rosewater and Billy’s mum got along well. Now, Billy was back in prison. The children’s crusade refers to shaven men who fought the war. Derby recounted how he was first captured. Billy found a diamond ring and gave it to Valencia. The visitor from outer space didn’t believe in Christianity. Now, Billy was in the zoo on the alien planet. The aliens were fascinated with the human body. Escaping was impossible. He was displayed in a zoo. The crowd starting cheering when he did something funny. He started exercising and showering. Billy enjoyed the attention he was receiving. There were 5 sexes on the planet, on the 4th dimension. The aliens didn’t understand most of what Billy said. War was never in their vocabulary and Billy was impressed with the peace. The aliens mentioned that they could terminate the Universe’s existence. The aliens had bad moments, but they only concentrated on the good ones. Now, he was back at his wedding. It was time for the honeymoon. Valencia vowed to lose weight for him. Billy did think about the war sometimes. His wife wanted him to recount some of the experiences of war, for instance, the execution of Edgar Derby. Now, he was back at the prison hospital. Billy started wandering around the hospital. It was back to the wedding now. Lazzaro was injured after being hit by an Englishman and was placed in hospital. The British were treated much better than the Americans. Howard W. Campbell Jr wrote a damning remark about how dumb Americans were. Now, Billy was with his daughter, Barbara. The aliens brought Montana Wildhack, a girl, to him. She was naked too. Montana screamed fervently. Billy liked her but didn’t touch her until she was okay with it. They slept together. Billy was an optometrist now and business was good. Whenever he told others about the alien experience, people thought he was out of his mind.

Derby described the incredible artificial weather that Earthlings sometimes create for other Earthlings when they don’t want those other Earthlings to inhabit Earth anymore. – Kurt Vonnegut

How the inhabitants of a whole planet can live in peace! As you know, I am from Earth that has been engaged in senseless slaughter since the beginning of time. I myself have seen the bodies of schoolgirls who were boiled alive in a water tower by my own countrymen, who were proud of fighting pure evil at the time. – Billy

Earthlings must be the terrors of the Universe! If other planets aren’t now in danger from Earth, they soon will be. So tell me the secret so I can take it back to Earth and save us all: How can a planet live at peace? – Billy

There were two bats in the prison hospital. Lazzaro wanted to kill the Blue Fairy Godmother, the guy who hit him. To him, revenge was the sweetest thing in life. He thought that Billy killed Weary. Billy predicted his eventual death. To him, he embraced death. He believed that he could live again. A sniper shoots him. Billy is dead. Now, Billy is told to get out of the hospital. The Cinderella show was on now. It is important to take pride in your appearance. It is important to keep a daily routine. Now the Americans got better food. It was time to head to Dresden. It was a journey that took 2 hours. Dresden was not bombed much. Billy was impressed with the architecture of Dresden. Little did he know that Dresden would be bombed too. They were brought to a slaughterhouse. There would be 100 American prisoners there. Schlachthof-funf meant Slaughterhouse Five.

Now, he was an optometrist again. In a flashback, Billy imagined himself with Weary. His plane crashed and he suffered some skull damage. Werner Gluck was the guard in the slaughterhouse. Billy had to help out in the kitchen. The prisoners had to take some syrup to ensure they had sufficient nutrition. Someone was coming into the slaughterhouse.

Howard W. Campbell was an American who became Nazi. He was there to recruit people for The Free American Corps. Derby stood up and insulted him, calling him a snake. The air raid sirens sounded. Everything was quiet that night. Billy was friends with Kilgore Trout, the author. Trout managed a group of newspaper boys. He was very mean towards his staff and nobody liked him. Now, Trout had to run his route now that the boy quit. Billy helped with the route. Rosewater was the one who introduced Trout to Billy. Trout was invited to his wedding anniversary. He was chatting with a girl called Maggie during the ceremony. Billy was deeply affected by the music played. He presented the ring to Valencia and she was absolutely delighted by it. Trout wanted to know what was on his mind during the song. Billy suddenly ran up to his room. He remembered hiding in the meat locker in Dresden. Everyone in the neighborhood were killed that evening through bombing. Now, Billy was on the alien planet. Montana was pregnant now. Billy told Montana about the bombing of Dresden. Dresden was like the surface of the moon, full of craters. American planes were flying overhead and thankfully didn’t shoot them.

Billy lost his wife, Valencia. She was killed in a car crash. Actually it was from carbon monoxide poisoning. Billy shared a room with a history professor, Bertram Copeland Rumfoord. Lily was his wife. Rumfoord was a war veteran and wrote many books. He was reading from a book by Harry Truman. Lily brought him a book known as the Destruction of Dresden. Over 135,000 people were killed in Dresden. More people in Dresden died from ordinary bombing as compared to the atomic bombs. Billy travelled back in time to the period when he was an optometrist. Now, he was a 16 years old. His son was wearing the Green Beret. Billy was badly damaged in the air crash. However, the doctors let him live. Billy told Rumfoord that he was in Dresden. Rumfoord thought he had echolalia. He was an evil and hateful man. Now, he travelled to the end of the war. He was happy during that period. It was the ride in the wagon that was possibly the happiest moment of his life thus far. He was raiding the slaughterhouse for valuable items. He bumped into a German couple along the way. The horses were famished and lacked water. Now he was in a hospital in Vermont. Billy was shipped back to America. Billy wanted to share his experiences on Tralfamadore. Entering a bookstore, Billy read Kilgore Trout’s book. It seems oddly familiar to him. What happened to Montana Wildhack? She was on Tralfamadore and was taking care of the baby. Billy got on a radio talk show. So it goes. He started rambling on the flying saucers and Montana Wildhack. Montana was breastfeeding their child. The aliens were always spying on Earthlings.

Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King died. The aliens believed that people will live forever. O’Hare and I were in the plane. Humans all want dignity. Billy was travelling back to Dresden as well. The digging for bodies began. There were a dozens of unidentified bodies. This was the first corpse mine. The bodies stank very badly. Instead of sending them up to the surface, they were cremated using flamethrowers. Edgar Derby was executed for stealing a teapot. The war was over.

slaughterhouse-five

 

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