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In Chapter 5 of Slaughterhouse-Five there is a passage that begins "under morphine,...

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liz-biz12 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 9, 2009 at 4:38 PM via web

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In Chapter 5 of Slaughterhouse-Five there is a passage that begins "under morphine, Billy had a dream of giraffes". How does this passage connect to the theme of the book?



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e-martin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 15, 2013 at 7:06 PM (Answer #1)

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While this episode is open to interpretation, we can argue that it is related to themes of alienation expressed in Billy Pilgrim's character. 

Billy is not in control of his life and, more to the point here, he is out of touch with other people. The idea that Billy is out of step with his society can be seen in his relationships with his daughter and with Roland Weary. It is also symbolically in Billy's time-travel. 

This time travel is both a literal science-fiction event and a metaphor for the alienation and dislocation Billy, and contemporary humanity, feel in the face of overwhelming and inexplicable cruelty and violence. (eNotes)

As a contrast to this sense of being socially out of step, when Billy dreams of giraffes he is dreaming that he has finally found a group where he fits in.

It is interesting to note that Billy does not dream of finding a group of people where he fits in, but instead dreams of a group of gawky, "outstanding" creatures. This is the only kind of group where Billy might fit in - a band of other creatures that are out of step with the norm.


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