Slaughterhouse-Five Questions and Answers
by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

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In Chapter 5 of Slaughterhouse-Five, how are the Germans reflective of the Tralfmadoreans? 

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The links between the Germans and the Tralfamadoreans are highlighted in this chapter through reference to free will and the reasons why things happen. This is shown when an American prisoner is knocked down for muttering something in English and has two teeth knocked out. He asks the guard a question that echoes what Billy Pilgrim asks the Tralfamadoreans when he is abducted: "Why me?" The German guard's answer eerily echoes the response Billy received from his alien abductors:

The German guard shoved him back into ranks. "Vy you? Vy anybody?" he said.

Vonnegut thus again highlights the key theme of free will and its absence, when things happen for no reason but just because they do, irrespective of personality, character, actions or individual choice. This German guard through his actions and words therefore mirrors the approach of the Tralfamadoreans to life in his recognition that there is no free will and no apparent reason for what happens to anyone.

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