Slaughterhouse-Five

by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

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Chapter 10 Summary

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Vonnegut says that, at the time of writing, Robert Kennedy was shot two nights ago. A month before, Martin Luther King was shot, and every day corpses are “created by military science in Vietnam.” His own father, who was a sweet man, died many years ago and left Vonnegut his guns, which are now rusting unused. He says that if the Tralfamadorians are right about time, everyone will live forever, a thought that does not fill him with joy. At least many of the moments he will revisit are nice, such as his trip back to Dresden with his old friend Bernard O’Hare.

O’Hare has a notebook with various facts and figures printed in the back. One of them is the growth rate of the population, with a prediction that there will be seven billion people in the world before the year 2000. Vonnegut says that he supposes they will all want dignity.

In 1945, Billy Pilgrim is in Dresden, digging through the rubble for bodies. They find many, including that of Edgar Derby, who was shot for taking a teapot from the catacombs. Later, the Germans lock Billy and the other prisoners up and leave Dresden for the Russian front. Then, one day, the prisoners find that the door is unlocked and that the war in Europe is over.

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Chapter 9 Summary