Slaughterhouse-Five Topics for Discussion
by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

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Topics for Discussion

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

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?