The Plot (Magill's Guide to Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature)
Slaughterhouse-Five: Or, The Children’s Crusade, A Duty-Dance with Death is a framed narrative in which Kurt Vonnegut himself appears in the first and last chapters, explaining how and why he wrote the novel. He also pops up occasionally in the action itself, because he was—like his protagonist Billy Pilgrim, as he tells readers in the frame chapters—a prisoner of war in Dresden, Germany, when Allied bombers incinerated the city on February 13, 1945.
The novel proper opens in 1944, when Billy, a chaplain’s assistant and inept foot soldier, is captured by the Germans. He and his fellow prisoners of war are taken by railroad boxcar to Dresden as forced laborers. Housed in a slaughterhouse bunker below the city streets, Billy is one of the only survivors when the city of Dresden is destroyed by incendiary bombs dropped in a ring around the ancient city, causing fires to burn toward its center. Billy emerges from the slaughterhouse to witness a moonscape.
The novel hardly moves in such a straight line; its structure rather mirrors Billy’s time travel. Chapter 2 opens with Billy coming “unstuck in time,” and thereafter the novel moves jerkily among its three plots: the story of Billy’s life, before and after the war; the bombing of Dresden; and life on Tralfamadore, a planet to which Billy was carried in 1967.
With the exception of World War II, Billy’s life is quite bland. Born in 1922 and drafted in 1940,...
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Slaughterhouse-Five (The Sixties in America)
Slaughterhouse-Five: Or, The Children’s Crusade, A Duty Dance with Death, highlights Billy Pilgrim, who, like Vonnegut, survived the firebombing of Dresden, Germany, by finding refuge in a meat locker under the slaughterhouse where he was employed as a prisoner of war. After the war, Pilgrim marries and becomes a successful optometrist in Ilium, New York; however, he cannot escape the horror and atrocity of war. Believing himself to be “unstuck in time,” Billy alternates among his memories of World War II, his life as a civilian in a world grown desensitized to violence and brutality, and a rich fantasy life on the planet Tralfamadore. On display in a Tralfamadorian zoo, Billy is mated with an Earthling named Montana Wildhack, a pornographic film star with whom, unlike with his real-life wife, Billy can share his memories of Dresden. While reliving his war experiences, Billy meets Roland Weary, a cruel and sadistic foot soldier who glorifies in the gruesome aspects of war and an ironic perception of himself as heroic, and Edgar Derby, a high school teacher who volunteered his service because he believed in the nobility of the Allied cause. Vonnegut’s brilliant characterization further adds to his picture of war as a brutal, dehumanizing force.
When Vonnegut dramatized his World War II experiences, including the February 13, 1945, firebombing of Dresden, then a cultural haven, by the...
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Places Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Places)
*Cape Cod. Massachusetts setting of the novel’s present-time autobiographical frame in the first and last chapters, Cape Cod is where author Kurt Vonnegut lived while writing the novel during the 1960’s.
Ilium. Fictional New York city where the main action unfolds. Modeled on New York’s upstate city of Schenectady, where Vonnegut once worked for General Electric, Ilium (after the Greek name for ancient Troy) is the place where protagonist Billy Pilgrim grows up, returns after serving in World War II, marries the daughter of the founder of his optometry college, and has a successful career as an optometrist.
The novel’s present-day setting of the late 1960’s is heavily middle-class and suburban and, in Vonnegut’s satirical prose, is revealed to be empty of such important American values as compassion and diversity. The novel’s loose plot turns on Billy’s waning enthusiasm for living. His sudden and inexplicable weeping episodes suggest that he is a victim of delayed stress syndrome, due to his horrific wartime experiences. His stress is manifested by his claim that in 1944 he became “unstuck in time.” Since then, he has traveled back and forth throughout time and interstellar space.
Vonnegut’s frame makes clear that the novel’s larger meaning applies to the late 1960’s, when Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. were assassinated, riots were tearing...
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The Firebombing of Dresden
The most important historical event which informs Slaughterhouse-Five took place almost a quarter of a century before the novel was published. On February 13 and 14, 1945, allied aircraft dropped incendiary bombs on the German city of Dresden—a so-called ‘‘open city’’ with no significant military targets. The bombing raid created a firestorm that destroyed the city and killed an estimated 135,000 people, almost all of them civilians. This was nearly twice the number of people killed by the first atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The Dresden bombing remains the single heaviest air strike in military history. The raid remains controversial to this day, as many historians have suggested that the raid served no real military purpose and did nothing to hasten Germany's defeat. Approximately one hundred American prisoners of war, captured at the Battle of the Bulge, were in Dresden during the bombing. Vonnegut was one of them.
The Vietnam War
The war between communist North Vietnam and non-communist South Vietnam began in 1954 and ended in 1975 with a North Vietnamese victory and the reunification of Vietnam under communist rule. This same time period also covered most of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, a political conflict which led to the United States entering the Vietnam War on the side of South Vietnam. The year before Vonnegut's novel was published, 1968,...
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For many years categorized strictly as a writer of science fiction, Vonnegut has a propensity for mixing the ordinary and the otherworldly in his fiction. Structured in "the telegraphic schizophrenic manner of tales of the planet Tralfamadore," Slaughterhouse-Five jumps backward and forward in time, and back and forth across the universe in setting. Snippets of events, seemingly unconnected either chronologically or geographically, follow one another; Vonnegut suggests that the cataclysmic devastation of modern warfare has deadened human sensitivity and that modem technology has outstripped the reach of human comprehension. The novel follows Billy Pilgrim, who "has come unstuck in time," to the battlefields of World War II, the slaughterhouses of Dresden, the suburban comforts of Ilium (modeled after Schenectady), and the zoos of distant Tralfamadore. In an age when progress frequently means destruction, the Tralfamadorian concept of time—which, essentially, states that all moments exist and always have existed, all at once—seems the only antidote to a maddening sense of helplessness.
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Chapter 1 Questions and Answers
1. What does Vonnegut say his breath smells like when he has been drinking?
2. What is strange about the set-up Mary O’Hare arranged for Vonnegut and her husband to talk about the war?
3. What does Vonnegut say World War II did for people?
4. Which previous occurrences of the destruction of cities does Vonnegut mention?
5. What is the only sound that disturbs the quiet following a massacre?
6. How does Vonnegut’s boss in Schenectady compare to the other veterans Vonnegut meets there?
7. How does Vonnegut describe the carp in the Hudson river?
8. Whose death sets off the first “so it goes?”
9. How many books does Vonnegut refer to reading in this chapter?
10. Why does Vonnegut say he loves Lot’s wife?
1. He says his breath smells like mustard gas and roses.
2. It is bright and uncomfortable, rather like an operating room.
3. World War II has made everyone very tough.
4. Vonnegut reads about the flattening of Dresden in 1760, as well as the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
5. The only exception to the general hush is the chirping of birds.
6. Vonnegut’s boss is hostile and implies there is something wrong with him for not having been an officer in the war. The other veterans are kind men who hate war because of their experiences...
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Chapter 2 Questions and Answers
1. What is the name of the fighting group to which Weary imagines he belongs?
2. How does Billy later find one of his army practice maneuvers to provide a Tralfamadorian type of adventure?
3. Why was Billy not missed while he was in the Tralfamadorian zoo?
4. Why does Billy say he did not talk about his adventures before the plane accident?
5. How do Tralfamadorians perceive time?
6. How do Tralfamadorians understand death?
7. What phrase is the Tralfamadorian response to death?
8. How does Billy’s vocation parallel his purpose in propounding Tralfamadorian philosophy?
9. How does Billy’s first time travel experience parallel his condition in real time?
10. Why do Billy and Weary surprise the German soldiers?
1. The group is called the Three Musketeers.
2. In later life, the experience of having his unit eat lunch after the men in it were pronounced “dead” struck him as a very Tralfamadorian experience.
3. Billy was taken through a time warp, so although he was on Tralfamadore for years, he was only gone from Earth for less than a second.
4. Billy thought the time was not ripe.
5. Tralfamadorians see time all at once, like a mountain range.
6. Tralfamadorians see death as just one bad moment, with plenty of other good moments of life...
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Chapter 3 Questions and Answers
1. In what context have the blue and white feet of this chapter’s corpses previously appeared?
2. What precise phrase describes the condition of Weary’s feet?
3. How do the actions of the teenaged German soldier toward Billy contrast to Weary’s treatment of him?
4. What underlying misconception fuels Wild Bob’s ranting?
5. How does Vonnegut humanize the German guards?
6. What heavenly visions does Billy have in this chapter?
7. What is ironic about Billy’s lack of discussion at the Lions Club meeting he attends in this chapter?
8. How does the adult Billy’s attitude toward his son’s profession differ from what Vonnegut says he has inculcated in his sons?
9. What does the former hobo have to say about conditions on the boxcar?
10. Why was Billy thrown into a shrubbery by the Germans?
1. Chapter Two described Billy as having blue and white feet as he typed in the basement of his frigid house.
2. They are being turned into “blood puddings.”
3. While Weary was ready to beat Billy senseless, the German boy helps Billy to his feet.
4. Wild Bob is still imagining that war is neat. He is essentially living in a war movie rather than in the reality of war.
5. Rather than shooting at Billy when he is seen looking out of the ventilator of his...
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Chapter 4 Questions and Answers
1. Where has the phrase “mustard gas and roses” previously appeared?
2. What promise does Paul Lazzaro make to Roland Weary before he dies?
3. Aside from crowding, what hardships do the Americans endure on their voyage to the prison camp?
4. How is Billy’s coat different from everyone else’s?
5. Give three details from this chapter that highlight the irony of Edgar Derby’s eventual execution.
6. Why is Billy not allowed to sleep on the floor with everyone else?
7. How does the Tralfamadorian say his kind sees time?
8. What two people die on the way to the prison?
9. For what purpose was the German camp constructed?
10. What is the first question Billy has for the Tralfamadorian?
1. Vonnegut used this phrase to describe his own breath in Chapter One.
2. Lazzaro promises to punish Billy Pilgrim for causing Weary’s death.
3. It is very cold outside, and they receive no more food.
4. Billy is the only person to receive a civilian’s coat.
5. First, Derby had to pull strings to get to fight in the war. Second, his treatment of Roland Weary shows him to be a good man. Third, Derby is one of the few men who actually appears fit enough to be a soldier.
6. He kicks and makes noise in his sleep.
7. He says Tralfamadorians see...
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Chapter 5 Questions and Answers
1. What does Billy dream of when he is on morphine?
2. How does the scene with the punched prisoner parallel an experience Billy has with the Tralfamadorians?
3. What does Eliot Rosewater have to say about The Brothers Kamazarov?
4. While visiting Billy what does Valencia’s chosen topic of conversation say about her personality?
5. What is the problem with the Bible as it stands, according to The Gospel from Outer Space?
6. At what two points does Vonnegut insert himself into the narrative of this chapter?
7. How does the universe end, according to the Tralfamadorians?
8. How is Montana Wildhack’s body described?
9. Why was Paul Lazzaro’s arm broken?
10. Why does Billy think he can make his young patient happy?
1. Billy dreams he is a giraffe.
2. Both prisoners ask, “Why me?” to which the German responds, “Why anybody?” and the Tralfamadorian, “Why anything?”
3. It used to contain everything there was to know about life, but it just wasn’t enough anymore.
4. Valencia’s discussion of silver patterns makes her appear to be very shallow.
5. The Bible teaches that it is okay to lynch people who have no connections, according to the alien narrator of Trout’s book.
6. Vonnegut says that Billy’s epitaph would...
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Chapters 6-7 Questions and Answers
1. Does Billy get committed to an asylum after the incident in his optometry office?
2. What does Paul Lazarro say is the sweetest thing in life?
3. Why does Billy take Cinderella’s silver boots?
4. What animal disease is used to describe Paul Lazarro?
5. Why are the Dresdeners the color of putty?
6. What mistake does Billy make after the plane crash?
7. Which of the “millions of things” that Billy dreams after his operation are true?
8. What sarcastic comment does the cook in the communal kitchen of the slaughterhouse make to Billy, Derby, and their 16-year-old guard?
9. What benefit does working at the malt syrup factory have?
10. Why are there spoons hidden all over the factory?
1. He is not committed. His Tralfamadorian philosophy apparently becomes very popular some time between the publication of his first letters and 1976.
2. He says that revenge is the sweetest thing.
3. His own shoes have been nearly destroyed.
4. Lazarro is described as “fizzing with rabies.” If he were a dog, he would have been shot.
5. They have been living off potatoes for two years.
6. He thinks he is back in World War II.
7. According to the text, the true things he dreams were time-travel.
8. She says that all of the real...
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Chapter 8 Questions and Answers
1. What detail about the hog barn shows how intense the firestorm that engulfed Dresden must have been?
2. What is Campbell’s final argument in favor of fighting the Russians?
3. Who does Barbara blame for Billy’s problems?
4. How does Trout’s book “The Gutless Wonder” recall Billy’s son, Robert?
5. Why does the narrator claim there are few to no characters in this story?
6. How did the troop of Americans come to have only four guards?
7. What episode immediately follows Billy’s recollection of the painful memory of Dresden?
8. How does Billy’s response to the barbershop quartet reflect a conversation he had with Valencia on their wedding night?
9. How is Billy’s survival given a further component of randomness on the march to the inn?
10. What is odd about the innkeeper’s kindness to the American prisoners?
1. The fire was hot enough to leave “dollops of melted glass” on the ground.
2. He says that the Americans are going to have to fight the Communists “sooner or later.”
3. Barbara blames Kilgore Trout.
4. Billy’s son is a Green Beret in Vietnam, presumably dropping jellied gasoline on people or committing some similar atrocities.
5. There are few characters in the book because the characters in it are “so sick and so...
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Chapters 9-10 Questions and Answers
1. How do the aliens from Zircon-212 manipulate their human captives?
2. When did Billy previously read The Big Board?
3. What does the wagon Billy rides in look like?
4. What is the topic of the panel Billy sneaks into?
5. What killed the Maori soldier?
6. Where has the message on Montana’s necklace previously appeared?
7. Why is Barbara glassy-eyed when she comes to visit her father in the hospital?
8. Why does Rumfoord say the Air Force wanted to cover up the bombing of Dresden?
9. Which historical personage do the Tralfamadorians find fascinating?
10. Where has the special picture the owners of the bookstore kept behind the counter previously appeared?
1. They make the humans think that they are investing in stocks for them back on Earth.
2. He read it when he was in the mental ward of the veterans’ hospital.
3. It is green and coffin shaped.
4. The panelists have gathered to discuss the death of the novel.
5. He died of the dry heaves.
6. It was the motto on the wall of Billy’s office.
7. She has been put under sedation because of the death of her mother and collapse of her father.
8. He says that the bombing was kept a secret because of the “bleeding hearts.”
9. The Tralfamadorians...
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Perhaps the most notable aspect of Slaughterhouse-Five's technique is its unusual structure. The novel's protagonist, Billy Pilgrim, has come ‘‘unstuck in time’’; at any point in his life, he may find himself suddenly at another point in his past or future. Billy's time travel begins early on during the major experience of his life—his capture by German soldiers during World War II and subsequent witnessing of the Allied firebombing of Dresden, Germany. Both the centrality of this event and its radically alienating effect on the rest of Billy's life are represented by the novel's structure. Billy's experiences as a prisoner of war are told in more or less chronological order, but these events are continually interrupted by Billy's travels to various other times in his life, both past and future. In this way, the novel's structure highlights both the centrality of Billy's war experiences to his life, as well as the profound dislocation and alienation he feels after the war.
Point of View
Another unusual aspect of Slaughterhouse-Five is its use of point of view. Rather than employing a conventional third-person ‘‘narrative voice,’’ the novel is narrated by the author himself. The first chapter consists of Vonnegut discussing the difficulties he had in writing the novel, and Vonnegut himself appears onstage as a character several times later in the novel. Instead of obscuring the...
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Vonnegut's title page statement that Slaughterhouse-Five is written in a "telegraphic schizophrenic manner" is a fairly accurate description of the novel's stylistic approach. Drawing on the literary devices of "flashback" and "flash-forward," Vonnegut ignores the restrictions of linear time and fixed space to fashion a novel that, despite its sometimes extraterrestrial setting, displays less affinity with science fiction than it does with psychological drama. Vonnegut, the writer-narrator, moves freely through narrative time, mixing descriptions of historic Dresden and his personal wartime experiences with Tralfamadorian fantasy and characters from his earlier fiction. Playing Tralfamadorian time against sequential Earth time allows Vonnegut to establish the psychic disorder of both Billy and the society that has produced him.
Vonnegut denies being a science fiction writer, and some critics have argued that Slaughterhouse-Five is a novel of "science reality" rather than science fiction. Vonnegut describes a world in which technology has rendered an event such as the annihilation of 135,000 people both possible and almost beneath notice. Although Slaughterhouse-Five does not fit neatly into any one genre, it stakes a place for itself in the literary canon with a combination of startling originality and thought-provoking literary allusion. Billy Pilgrim's name implies a connection to John Bunyan's seventeenth-century allegory,...
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The 1960s produced a string of novels of the absurd that reflect the bleakness of a time when unabated optimism was checked by the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 and of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1968. By the end of the decade, the Vietnam War had reached its height, and the mood of the country had sunk to one of abject pessimism. Many people believed that society had gone berserk and that a few world leaders exercised control over the destiny of millions. Vonnegut's expressed theme in Slaughterhouse-Five is the madness of war. In his novel he uses the senseless bombing of Dresden as the symbol of such madness, but he has stated that his purpose in writing the novel was to make Americans more aware of the absurdity of the Vietnam War. Vonnegut consciously wanted to avoid writing a novel that glamorized the brutality of war and thus, as the subtitle suggests, portrays war as fought by young and uncomprehending innocents.
Although Slaughterhouse-Five remains an enormously popular novel some two decades after its publication, it has not been without its critics. Some readers are offended by the book's black humor and irreverent attitude, and charge that Vonnegut's view of life is so slanted by his personal experiences that he is incapable of serving as a legitimate social critic. Vonnegut uses vulgar slang, but before condemning Vonnegut's books parents and teachers should note that the vulgarity serves the...
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Compare and Contrast
- 1940s: World War II was a decisive victory for the United States and its allies and was widely supported by Americans. Americans’ knowledge of the war came from delayed accounts in newspapers, on radio, and in newsreels shown in movie theaters. By the end of the war, the United States was the top military and economic power in the world.
1960s: American involvement in the Vietnam War eventually lost the support of most citizens, perhaps in part because of extensive television news coverage, which brought the realities of war into American living rooms. The war concluded in 1975 with the United States withdrawing from Vietnam—the only war America ever lost. While still the ‘‘leader of the free world,’’ the Vietnam War deals a strong blow to American prestige around the world.
Today: The United States most recent military conflict, the Persian Gulf War against Iraq, was an overwhelming victory, in part because of American determination to avoid ‘‘another Vietnam.’’ The war enjoyed widespread support among Americans. However, media coverage was carefully controlled by the military. Although the end of the Cold War after the collapse of the Soviet Union left America as the only true ‘‘superpower,’’ its economic supremacy is being challenged by countries like Japan, China, and Germany. There is a reluctance within the U.S. government and the populace to commit U.S. troops to...
(The entire section is 391 words.)
Topics for Discussion
1. Describe the Tralfamadorian philosophy of life. How do the Tralfamadorians describe the fate of the universe? How do they react to this vision of the future?
2. Billy thinks of himself as a prophet. Do you agree that he is? Is he in any way a Christ-like prophet?
3. Is Billy's life in Tralfamadore heaven, hell, or just an extension of life on earth?
4. At the beginning of the novel, why looking back at Sodom and for doing so was turned into a pillar of salt?
5. What is the symbolic significance of telegraphs in the novel?
6. Cite evidence from the novel to support the position that Billy has lost touch with reality and that his time travel is just a function of his madness.
7. Billy is an optometrist whose job it is help people see better by prescribing corrective lenses. Does his profession influence his attempts to look at the world through a Tralfamadorian framework of ideas?
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Ideas for Reports and Papers
1. Read St. Luke's Gospel in the Bible and demonstrate how it has influenced Billy's "Tralfamadorian adventure with death."
2. Research and describe the bombing of Dresden. Include information about the cultural history of Dresden up until the time it was bombed.
3. Research and explain the philosophical concept of determinism.
4. Research the Children's Crusade and explain why Vonnegut found it an appropriate subtitle for his novel.
5. Research the type of twentieth-century literature referred to as "the absurd," and explain some of the "absurd" characteristics of Slaughterhouse-Five.
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Topics for Further Study
- Research the Dresden, Germany, firebombing of World War II and compare Vonnegut’s account of the event with the historical record.
- Research the history of UFO sightings in the United States and compare Billy Pilgrim’s experience with the Tralfamadorians to actual reported sightings and ‘‘abductions.’’
- Compare and contrast Slaughterhouse-Five with another well-known novel of war, such as The Red Badge of Courage or All Quiet on the Western Front.
(The entire section is 70 words.)
Just as Vonnegut mixes history and fantasy in Slaughterhouse-Five, he also combines new material with characters and references to his earlier fiction in the book. The fictional city of Ilium is the setting for Player Piano; the Tralfamadorians are the central focus of The Sirens of Titan; Howard Campbell is the protagonist of Mother Night; and Eliot Rosewater and Kilgore Trout return from God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater.
The apocalyptic nature of Slaughterhouse-Five is echoed in many of Vonnegut's other works. In Mother Night Howard Campbell defends the Holocaust; in Cat's Cradle the Earth is destroyed by a substance called "icenine"; in Deadeye Dick the citizens of Midland City are inadvertently killed by a neutron bomb; and in Galapagos the narrative takes place in the distant future, long after humankind has been wiped out by a virus.
The film version of Slaughterhouse-Five, with a screenplay by Stephen Geller, was directed by George Roy Hill and starred Valerie Perrine, Michael Sacks, and Ron Leibman. The film was released by Universal Pictures in 1972 and won a special jury prize at the 1972 Cannes Film Festival.
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- Slaughterhouse-Five was adapted for the screen by writer Stephen Geller and director George Roy Hill in 1972. The film stars Michael Sacks as Billy Pilgrim, Ron Leibman as Paul Lazzaro, and Valerie Perrine as Montana Wildhack. Available on MCA/Universal Home Video.
- The novel is also available in abridged form as a sound recording, read by the author, on Harper Audio, 1994.
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What Do I Read Next?
- Player Piano, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.’s 1952 novel, also deals with the limitations of science and technology.
- The Red Badge of Courage (1895) is Stephen Crane’s classic story of the Civil War that, like Vonnegut’s novel, portrays the horrors of war in an unromanticized fashion.
- Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front (1928) is a classic novel of World War I that, like Vonnegut’s novel, portrays German soldiers as ordinary people caught up in the horrors of war.
- Norman Mailer’s The Naked and the Dead (1948) was one of the first major American novels based on its author's experiences in World War II.
- Tim O’Brien's Going After Cacciato (1978) was one of the first major American novels based on its author’s experiences in Vietnam.
- Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 (1953) is another example of science fiction as social criticism.
- Vonnegut’s 1962 novel, The Sirens of Titan, also features the Tralfamadorians.
- Daniel Keyes’ Flowers for Algernon (1966) uses both science fiction devices and an unusual narrative structure to tell a story of alienation and displacement.
- More Than Human (1953) is the most famous novel by science fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon, whom some have cited as a...
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For Further Reference
Giannone, Richard. Vonnegut: A Preface to His Novels. Port Washington, NY: Kennikat Press, 1977. Analyzes Vonnegut's novels, concentrating on his development as an artist.
Goldsmith, David H. Kurt Vonnegut: Fantasies of Fire and Ice. Bowling Green, OH: Bowling Green University Popular Press, 1972. Examines visions of the Apocalypse in Vonnegut's writing.
Klinkowitz, Jerome. The Literary Character of Kurt Vonnegut, Jr." Modern Fiction Studies (Spring 1973): 57-67. Analyzes incidents and characters in Slaughterhouse-Five and shows how they are based on events from Vonnegut's life.
Vonnegut. London: Methuen, 1982. Surveys nine of Vonnegut's novels, emphasizing their relation to American culture.
Klinkowitz, Jerome, and John Somer, eds. The Vonnegut Statement. New York: Delacorte, 1973. Collection of essays that analyze Vonnegut's popularity.
Lundquist, James. Kurt Vonnegut. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1977. Argues for the essential midwestern quality of Vonnegut's work.
Reed, Peter J. Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. New York: Warner Paperback Library, 1972. Biography and analysis of the novels through Slaughterhouse-Five.
Schatt, Stanley. Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. Boston: Twayne, 1976. Outlines the concurrent development of Vonnegut's style and language.
Tanner, Tony. "The Uncertain Messenger." In City of Words. New York:...
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Bibliography and Further Reading
Allen, William Rodney. Understanding Kurt Vonnegut. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1991.
Aldiss, Brian, with David Wingrove. Trillion Year Spree: The History of Science Fiction. Victor Gollancz, 1986.
Broer, Lawrence R. Sanity Plea: Schizophrenia in the Novels of Kurt Vonnegut. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1994 (1989).
Clareson, Thomas D. Understanding Contemporary American Science Fiction: The Formative Period (1926-1970). University of South Carolina Press, 1990.
Crichton, J. Michael. Review of Slaughterhouse-Five, in New Republic, April 26, 1969.
Giannone, Richard. Vonnegut: A Preface to His Novels. Kennikat Press, 1977, pp. 82-97.
Hicks, Granville. ‘‘Literary Horizons,’’ in Saturday Review, March 29, 1969, p. 25.
Klinkowitz, Jerome. Kurt Vonnegut. Methuen, 1982, pp. 63-69.
---. ‘‘Slaughterhouse Five’’: Reforming the Novel and the World. Twayne, 1990.
Klinkowitz, Jerome, and John Somer, eds. The Vonnegut Statement. New York: Delacorte Press/Seymour Lawrence, 1973.
Klinkowitz, Jerome, and Donald L. Lawler, eds. Vonnegut in America: An Introduction to the Life and Work of Kurt Vonnegut. Delacorte Press/Seymour Lawrence, 1977.
Loeb, Monica. Vonnegut’s Duty-Dance with Death: Theme...
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Bibliography (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Giannone, Richard. Vonnegut: A Preface to His Novels. Port Washington, N.Y.: Kennikat Press, 1977. Astute reading of Slaughterhouse-Five, marking the biblical references and Vonnegut’s personal testimony. Devotes similar attention to other novels by Vonnegut.
Klinkowitz, Jerome. Kurt Vonnegut. New York: Methuen, 1982. Explains Slaughterhouse-Five as one of Vonnegut’s “personal” novels, as opposed to the earlier ones that adhere to the stricter forms of science fiction. Draws correlations among the Vonnegut novels.
Klinkowitz, Jerome. Slaughterhouse-Five: Reforming the Novel and the World. Boston: Twayne, 1990. A complete study of the novel. Criticism is taken from sources that reviewed Slaughterhouse-Five when it was published. Numerous passages of Slaughterhouse-Five are explained in depth, as well as Vonnegut’s philosophy as it was seen by the reviewers of his time.
Mayo, Clark. Kurt Vonnegut: The Gospel from Outer Space (or, Yes We Have No Nirvanas). San Bernardino, Calif.: Borgo Press, 1977. A short book with considerable insights into Slaughterhouse-Five and other novels by Vonnegut. The wit, sarcasm, and style of Vonnegut is prominent in the writing of this text.
Schatt, Stanley. Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. Boston:...
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