Questions and Answers for Slaughterhouse-Five

Slaughterhouse-Five

What is the moral or message of Slaughterhouse Five?

Kurt Vonnegut's World War II novel Slaughterhouse-Five, published in 1969, is his most widely read, discussed, and taught book. It is a strange book, blending the genres of sci-fi, war novel,...

Latest answer posted April 17, 2020 3:48 pm UTC

4 educator answers

Slaughterhouse-Five

In Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five, why are the last words of the novel “Poo-tee-weet”? What statement is...

The birds in Slaughterhouse-Five make the sound “Poo-tee-weet”—something that is heard after a massacre. The sound “Poo-tee-weet” is a stand-in, a nonsensical noise made by birds that represents...

Latest answer posted June 18, 2019 3:08 am UTC

3 educator answers

Slaughterhouse-Five

Why does the author continually use "so it goes" in Slaughterhouse-Five?

Billy is able to display a flippant attitude to death and mortality because he has been influenced by the Tralfamadorians, a strange race of aliens who bring him back to their planet to exhibit him...

Latest answer posted April 26, 2020 9:35 am UTC

5 educator answers

Slaughterhouse-Five

In Slaughterhouse Five, what is the significance of the name "Billy Pilgrim" and why does Vonnegut put him in Ilium?

Billy Pilgrim's name in Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five has definite symbolic and connotative meanings. We can look at Billy as a common name for a common man that represents all men. We can also...

Latest answer posted December 14, 2017 10:56 pm UTC

3 educator answers

Slaughterhouse-Five

Why does Billy time travel and what is its significance in "Slaughterhouse-Five"?  

In the book, one major life-changing event appears to be the catalyst for Billy's non-linear time travels: his war-induced PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). We know that Billy's devastating...

Latest answer posted December 20, 2016 1:49 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Slaughterhouse-Five

What is the significance of the "hobo" saying, "This ain't so bad"?

At this point in the story, in chapter 3, Billy finds himself in a boxcar as a prisoner of war. The boxcar is crowded. The other prisoners of war pass around a helmet to be used as a chamber pot....

Latest answer posted May 24, 2019 9:06 am UTC

2 educator answers

Slaughterhouse-Five

What is the purpose of the backwards movie episode in chapter four of Slaughterhouse-Five?

Chapter 1 of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five is more of a prologue than a cold opening to the book. In this opening to his difficult-to-categorize but seriously surrealistic novel, Vonnegut...

Latest answer posted March 10, 2020 3:36 pm UTC

5 educator answers

Slaughterhouse-Five

Whats the purpose of the "perfect Adam and Eve" reference?

The allusions to Adam and Eve can be seen as a symbolic contrast to the central action of the novel. They are symbols of innocence in high contrast to the folly and violence of war and pettiness...

Latest answer posted February 1, 2012 6:14 am UTC

1 educator answer

Slaughterhouse-Five

What happens when Billy sees the movie going backwards in Slaughterhouse-Five?

Watching the war films in reverse, Billy Pilgrim sees war as restorative and peaceful. The film's action, going backwards, becomes truly inverted. Instead of planes shooting each other they suck...

Latest answer posted June 15, 2013 4:23 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Slaughterhouse-Five

What are examples of irony, playfulness, and black humor in Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five? Why did he choose to...

Kurt Vonnegut's 1969 novel Slaughterhouse-Five is steeped in irony. The subtitle of the book, after all, is "The Children's Crusade." He opens the novel by speaking in his own voice and the refrain...

Latest answer posted April 25, 2020 4:11 am UTC

1 educator answer

Slaughterhouse-Five

In Chapter 5 of "Slaughterhouse-Five," there is a passage that begins "Under morphine, Billy had a dream of...

The giraffe passage is an interesting one; it reinforces the themes of alienation and apathy. In Billy Pilgrim's morphine-induced dream, he is a giraffe living among other giraffes. All his giraffe...

Latest answer posted April 24, 2017 9:40 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Slaughterhouse-Five

What is Kurt Vonnegut's tone throughout Slaughterhouse Five?

Concerning your question about Vonnegut's Slaughter-House Five, I suggest that the speaker's tone is detached understatement. You are certainly correct about sympathy being revealed by the tone,...

Latest answer posted March 18, 2010 9:59 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Slaughterhouse-Five

"Like so many Americans, she was trying to construct a life that made sense from things she found in gift shops."...

Billy Pilgrim's mother buys a crucifix from a gift shop on a family trip to Santa Fe; though she is not deeply religious, she buys it to make herself feel better in some way. It is a trivializing...

Latest answer posted May 27, 2019 11:28 am UTC

2 educator answers

Slaughterhouse-Five

In Slaughterhouse-Five, is Billy Pilgrim really time traveling? How do you know this?

The answer depends on what you mean by "really time traveling." Billy does become “unstuck” in time, but it is not clear what that means. In a sense, as other answers have pointed out, the question...

Latest answer posted May 4, 2016 1:41 am UTC

2 educator answers

Slaughterhouse-Five

In chapter 4 of "Slaughterhouse-Five", what is the significance of Billy being able to see the war movie in...

Throughout most of the novel, Billy is living is life in reverse and also in fast forward. He is "unstuck "in time." Seeing the war movie backwards exemplifies Billy's experience of going back to...

Latest answer posted January 23, 2009 10:25 am UTC

1 educator answer

Slaughterhouse-Five

What is the genre of Slaughterhouse-Five? Is it science-fiction, satire, neither or both? Make an argument for your...

Slaughterhouse Five presents elements of science-fiction and satire, but is most often categorized as literary fiction. This is true for several reasons, the most prominent simply being Kurt...

Latest answer posted February 1, 2012 5:41 am UTC

1 educator answer

Slaughterhouse-Five

What does Kurt Vonnegut achieve by placing himself as a character in his novel "Slaughterhouse-Five?"

There are several reasons as to why Vonnegut would place himself in his popular novel Slaughterhouse-Five. For one thing, Vonnegut is a noted postmodern writer who frequently deconstructs the...

Latest answer posted April 26, 2018 5:46 pm UTC

3 educator answers

Slaughterhouse-Five

In Slaughterhouse-Five, what made Kurt Vonnegut choose a "Reagan for President" sticker years before he was elected? 

Good question! If Reagan served as president from 1981 to 1989, and if Slaughterhouse-Five was published in 1969 and takes place between the 1920s and 1976, with most of the action happening around...

Latest answer posted March 28, 2016 10:02 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Slaughterhouse-Five

In Chapter 5 of Slaughterhouse-Five, how does Billy's characterization as "the filthy flamingo" deepen in this chapter?

Billy Pilgrim, the most unlikely hero (or anti-hero) there ever was in a novel, is shown to be even more of an outcast and an oddity in this chapter through the clothing that is given to him at the...

Latest answer posted December 15, 2012 9:52 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Slaughterhouse-Five

What are the similarities and differences between Slaughterhouse-Five and The Things They Carried?

Obviously any two books about war will have elements in common. Still, one might expect, based on what we've often been told about how different Vietnam was from World War II, that the war...

Latest answer posted March 8, 2019 8:24 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Slaughterhouse-Five

In Chapter 5 of Slaughterhouse-Five, what two natural wonders does this chapter make reference to and how? 

Chapter 5 includes two flashbacks to when Billy was twelve and on holiday with his parents. On this holiday, he visits two natural wonders: the Grand Canyon and Carlsbad Caverns. Both experiences...

Latest answer posted December 15, 2012 9:40 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Slaughterhouse-Five

What is the significance of the word "Listen" in Slaughterhouse-Five?

The word "Listen" in Slaughterhouse-Five serves as a directing word for the reader to understand that the style and focus of the story is about to change. At the beginning of the novel, the...

Latest answer posted April 29, 2012 5:35 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Slaughterhouse-Five

Why does Kurt Vonnegut use metafiction in Slaughterhouse-Five? What are the good examples of metafiction in the novel?

Metafiction is a literary device employed in a fiction work that writes about fiction. The term meta generally refers to an astute awareness about something or oneself. Authors using this technique...

Latest answer posted April 25, 2020 4:59 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Slaughterhouse-Five

What are some examples of satire and social criticism in the book Slaughterhouse Five?

Though it's subtle enough that many readers probably would not recognize it, Vonnegut is arguably satirizing "conventional" science fiction in Slaughterhouse Five. A striking aspect of the novel is...

Latest answer posted September 16, 2019 5:22 pm UTC

3 educator answers

Slaughterhouse-Five

What is the significance of Billy Pilgrim's powerful reaction in the following passage from Kurt Vonnegut’s...

Vonnegut has Billy react this way because the barbershop quartet reminds Billy of the German soldiers when they saw the destruction of their homeland after the bombing of Dresden. Billy, the...

Latest answer posted May 19, 2016 4:45 am UTC

1 educator answer

Slaughterhouse-Five

What is the significance of time-travel in Slaughterhouse-Five?

Time-travel works on at least two levels or toward two purposes in this novel. 1. Time-travel is a thematic element of the novel, relating to notions of fragmented self/identity and to the...

Latest answer posted June 14, 2013 5:06 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Slaughterhouse-Five

”And I asked myself about the present: how wide it was, how deep it was, how much was mine to keep” (Ch.1) What kind...

This is a particularly interesting quote, because it actually seems to contradict later understandings of time presented through the Tralfamadoreans and their curious way of perceiving past,...

Latest answer posted December 15, 2012 10:47 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Slaughterhouse-Five

What can I compare Slaughterhouse-Five to in an essay?

Catch 22 has been suggested already, but that is the first novel that comes to mind and probably the most direct and obviously compatible connection to Slaughterhouse Five. An accessible, albeit...

Latest answer posted January 29, 2012 5:45 am UTC

5 educator answers

Slaughterhouse-Five

In Slaughterhouse-Five, why is Cinderella referred to as "the most popular story ever told"?

Slaughterhouse-Five is a very pessimistic book, and also a satire; the tone of the book is almost unrelentingly dark (or funny, depending on the reader's sense of humor), and so its reference to...

Latest answer posted April 24, 2012 1:42 am UTC

1 educator answer

Slaughterhouse-Five

In Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five, who are the Tralfamadorians? What do they teach Pilgrim? How does Pilgrim...

In Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five, the Tralfamadorians are a race of aliens who can see in four dimensions and who uphold the philosophy that death is meaningless. The Tralfamadorians abduct...

Latest answer posted May 19, 2016 12:56 am UTC

1 educator answer

Slaughterhouse-Five

Whats the purpose of the bullet-proof Bible reference in the novel, Slaughterhouse-Five?

This detail can be taken as a symbolic device that comments on the absurdity of the workings of human faith. In a story that is building up to a massive fire-bombing and which includes mention also...

Latest answer posted June 25, 2013 3:19 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Slaughterhouse-Five

Is Slaughterhouse-Five a pastiche? What are the examples of temporal distortion, meta-fiction, and paranoia?

Slaughterhouse-Five can be considered a kind of narrative pastiche in that it is written in a non-sequential way, assembling bits and pieces from different timelines which, in effect, also...

Latest answer posted April 24, 2020 3:41 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Slaughterhouse-Five

What does Billy dream of when he is on morphine?  

In chapter five of Slaughterhouse-Five, Billy Pilgrim is “put to a bed and tied down, and given a shot of morphine” (p. 94). Another soldier named Edgar Derby volunteers to watch over him while he...

Latest answer posted June 11, 2018 8:43 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Slaughterhouse-Five

In the first chapter of Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five, one character tells the narrator that when he hears...

By focusing on images of destruction, brutality and the psychological derailment of the protagonist, Billy Pilgrim, Vonnegut presents a clear anti-war stance. His approach to conveying this message...

Latest answer posted May 19, 2016 5:07 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Slaughterhouse-Five

What is the literary function of Billy Pilgrim becoming "unstuck in time" in Slaughterhouse-Five?  I know what...

There are a few ways to approach this question. Thematically, the fact that Billy is "unstuck" in time supports the idea that the past and the present are inextricably connected. ‘‘All moments,...

Latest answer posted June 10, 2013 3:48 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Slaughterhouse-Five

In Slaughterhouse-Five, discuss the lifestyle of the English prisoners of war.

The English prisoners of the Germans are having a much different POW (prisoner of war) experience than Billy is. They have commandeered plentiful supplies through a paper error. Due to the wealth...

Latest answer posted September 22, 2011 8:31 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Slaughterhouse-Five

What are the destructions of war expressed in Slaughterhouse-Five? Explore the types of destruction.

The types of destruction caused by war in Slaughterhouse-Five are physical and psychological. The novel describes the physical toll war takes. Description of the destruction caused by the bombing...

Latest answer posted February 3, 2011 11:15 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Slaughterhouse-Five

Does this book have a happy ending? Why or why not? Explain.

Slaughterhouse Five ends on a surprising note, with a bird tweeting "Poo-tee-weet?" to Billy Pilgrim. The ending is certainly not a conventionally happy one. The bird tweets a question that humans...

Latest answer posted May 23, 2018 8:42 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Slaughterhouse-Five

In chapter 5 of Slaughterhouse-Five, who is Edgar Derby?

Edgar Derby was one of the prisoners of war who was in Dresden during the city's incineration by firebombing. He survived in the meat locker with Billy Pilgrim. In chapter 5, Billy remembers in a...

Latest answer posted February 7, 2019 4:32 am UTC

2 educator answers

Slaughterhouse-Five

In Chapter 4 of Slaughterhouse-Five, what is significant about the two conversations Billy has with the Tralfamadorians?

Both conversations in this chapter present all forms of life as if they were bugs trapped in amber. This first is raised when Billy asks why his captors chose to abduct him and why he is now on a...

Latest answer posted December 15, 2012 10:11 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Slaughterhouse-Five

What is the tone that the author conveys throughout the novel, Slaughterhouse-Five? 

Tone is a highly important element in this novel. It is also, however, a rather complex element of the novel. Vonnegut employs a tone that can be described as wry, bitter, and even outraged. Yet...

Latest answer posted June 10, 2013 3:30 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Slaughterhouse-Five

Were the Tralfamadorians a product of imagination or truly real in Slaughterhouse-Five? 

If we accept that anything presented in Kurt Vonnegut's novel is true, then we have to accept that Billy Pilgrim's experiences with the Tralfamadorians are real. Vonnegut constructs a...

Latest answer posted May 25, 2019 4:55 am UTC

2 educator answers

Slaughterhouse-Five

In Chapter 4 of Slaughterhouse-Five, why do the other POWs want to avoid Billy sleeping next to them?

Billy Pilgrim has trouble sleeping in Slaughterhouse-Five probably as a result of what he has experienced during world war two. Pilgrim experiences the battle of the bulge and the fire-bombing of...

Latest answer posted May 18, 2019 5:34 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Slaughterhouse-Five

In Slaughterhouse-Five, explain the significance of Billy Pilgrim's becoming unstuck in time.

Slaughterhouse-Five is a largely anti-war text showing not only the terrible physical destruction that war can bring, as in the firebombing of Dresden, but also the psychological trauma that a...

Latest answer posted September 20, 2018 7:35 pm UTC

3 educator answers

Slaughterhouse-Five

What are some examples of the ways Kurt Vonnegut uses images of light and darkness in his novel Slaughterhouse Five?

Kurt Vonnegut uses imagery of light and darkness in various ways in his novel titled Slaughterhouse Five. Examples include the following: At one point, Billy Pilgrim becomes “unstuck in time” and...

Latest answer posted April 25, 2012 3:02 am UTC

1 educator answer

Slaughterhouse-Five

In Chapter 4 of Slaughterhouse-Five, what do you notice about the difference in the two deaths on the “Ninth Day”...

The differences between the two deaths on the ninth day are characterised by self-awareness. The forty-year-old hobo is described as being completely unaware, either consciously or unconsciously,...

Latest answer posted December 15, 2012 10:26 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Slaughterhouse-Five

Describe the spaceship.

Chapter 4 is probably the best location for a description of what the spaceship looks and sounds like. At this point, Billy knows that he is about to be taken by the spacecraft, so he goes out in...

Latest answer posted February 14, 2018 3:40 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Slaughterhouse-Five

What are some implementations and examples of the motif of death in Slaughterhouse-Five?

In Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut uses repetition and verbal irony (understatement and litote) to reveal that Billy Pilgrim has experienced many deaths and that death is inevitable....

Latest answer posted May 14, 2010 6:09 am UTC

1 educator answer

Slaughterhouse-Five

In Slaughterhouse Five, what is Kurt Vonnegut's tone in the conversation between the narrator and his editor Nancy...

Kurt Vonnegut’s tone as he relates a conversation he had years earlier, as a young reporter in Chicago, with one of the newspaper’s reporter-writers to whom he dictated his story over the...

Latest answer posted June 20, 2014 1:03 am UTC

1 educator answer

Slaughterhouse-Five

Why does Kurt Vonnegut choose to make a man like Pilgrim be the protagonist of Slaughterhouse Five?

Vonnegut states in the first chapter that he is attempting to write an anti-war novel. He promises Mary O'Hare, to whom the book is dedicated, that he will not have any John Wayne type characters...

Latest answer posted May 18, 2016 2:02 am UTC

1 educator answer

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