Slaughterhouse-Five

by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

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Chapter 9 Summary

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Last Updated on February 2, 2023, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 318

When she hears about the plane crash in which Billy was injured and her father died, Valencia drives to see Billy in the hospital and is hit by another car, which damages the exhaust system. Although she survives the crash and reaches the hospital, she dies of carbon monoxide poisoning in the parking lot. Billy knows nothing about this. He is sharing a room in the hospital with a seventy year-old Harvard history professor named Bertram Copeland Rumfoord, who has broken his leg skiing while honeymooning with his fifth wife, Lily. Lily, who is twenty-three and a high-school dropout, has brought Rumfoord some reading material, including a book on the bombing of Dresden by the English historian David Irving.

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Rumfoord is writing a book about Dresden, and Billy, who has been mumbling in his sleep, says that he was there. Rumfoord says that Dresden had to be destroyed, though he admits that it “must have been hell on the ground.” Although this is true, Billy repeats the lesson he has learned from the Tralfamadorians: everything is all right. Billy’s daughter, Barbara, takes him home, where a nurse looks after him. However, he sneaks out and goes to New York City, where he hopes to tell people about the Tralfamadorians and what they have taught him.

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In New York, Billy goes into a pornographic bookstore, because he sees four novels by Kilgore Trout in the window. He buys one of them, a book about a man who travels back in time to meet Jesus. At the checkout, he sees a magazine with the following question on the cover: What really became of Montana Wildhack? After leaving the bookstore, Billy persuades a radio show to give him airtime by pretending to be a literary critic from a newspaper, then speaks about Tralfamadore, and is quickly asked to leave. He travels back to Tralfamadore, where Montana is nursing their child.

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Chapter 8 Summary

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Chapter 10 Summary