Saturday, April 16, 2011

Slaughterhouse Five


This classic novel by the acclaimed Kurt Vonnegut is a mixture of science fiction and historical fiction.


Vonnegut tells the story of a soldier during the WWII era. Billy Pilgrim is a pathetic dental student from Ilium, New York who is drafted into the war in between his transition from college to dental school. Billy hates his life. He has a hard time finding joy in anything he does.

Vonnegut tells the story of how Billy Pilgram travels through time in his dreams, and during the daytime, when he is at war and in class back in New York. The science fiction aspect of this novel comes when Billy is abducted by aliens. No one believes Billy's story and thinks he's crazy.

Vonnegut's unique literary technique shows throughout this novel. Since there is a large amount of human death in this book, he uses the phrase "So it goes." after every mention of death. Why do you think he does this?

Billy Pilgrim is a timid, shy man who most people cannot take seriously. How would you feel if you were trying to convey a point (such as Billy did when telling people he was abducted by aliens) and no one would listen to you and they thought you were crazy? How would you react?

21 comments:

Kali D. 13-14 said...

2. If no one would listen to me and thought i was crazy i would probably feel bad about myself and hurt that no one would take the time to actually listen to what i was saying. I would probably feel insecure at times and in the future would not tell anyone a point i was trying convey due to the fact that people thought i was crazy.

Bojana D 11.12 said...

1. I think he does this in order to show that death is a natural part of the human cycle. "so it goes," I believe, means that the cycle continues.

2. I would probably be really upset. But then again, I feel like if I was abducted by aliens, I wouldn't tell anyone because that is something that's hard to believe.

Emily C. 13-14 said...

1. I agree with Bojana, i think it is just saying there goes another person and the cycle of life goes on.

2. I would get really frustrated if i am trying to convey a point but no one would listen. If what I was trying to say isn't something really important, then i would probable jsut give up and drop it because it wouldn't be worth it.

Erika B 13-14 said...

2. I would feel extremely frustrated if everyone thought I was crazy because of something I was trying to prove. It's hard to try and sway people to your side if you're telling a seemingly insane story, so I'm not sure if I would give up telling the story or not. It depends on how strongly I felt toward it being told. Even if I did give up with conveying my point, I would stay very annoyed for a long time because no one seemed to be able to understand me. I would probably start to think I really was crazy.

Eric Y 13-14 said...

For question one, I agree with bojana and emily; death is a natural part of life. Death is inevitable and every other person's life must also go on just like one's soul.

For two, frustration would definitely be the first emotion I would feel, especially if the situation actually occured.

McKenzieM 11-12 said...

I agree with Eric, I do think he is trying to show that death is just apart of life and there's not much you can do about it.
2. I would feel so frustrated that no one believes me and eventally I think I would start to think I was the one that had the problem.

Allie H 11-12 said...

Answering question mumber 2, if I was trying to convey a point and no one would listen, I would be extremely frustrated. It happens very often in movies and novels where the character is trying to tell someone the truth but that person believes that he or she is crazy. It can be very irritating when no one believes you when you actually are telling the truth. Eventually, I may start to think I was actually crazy and that they were right the entire time.

LibbyS5/6 said...

To answer question number one, i believe he does this to portray that life will inevitable come to an end for everyone. By using the phrase, "so it goes," he is trying to imply that the circle of life must continue.

Mike B 13-14 said...

I think I would be frustrated. I would begin to question my on sanity if everyone told me I was crazy. In the back of my mind I would know i wasnt and I would try to prove my point with any evidence I could find.

Alexander C. [13-14] said...

The short cycle of life that Bojana mentioned in her comment is what I theorized what it meant. Vonnegut tells this story with almost a sarcastic sort of tone. "So it goes" after each mention of death can signify many meanings to the brief period humans spend on earth.

It is hard to take people seriously sometimes if they bring about a topic that may sound fictitious to some. I like to have an open mind when people express their experiences to me, yet hearing someone explain an alien abduction would be a little out of my range of consciousness.

Alexander C. [13-14] said...

I agree with McKenzie's comment about question number 2. Self realization is important when considering such a strange topic like alien abduction. Billy Pilgrim does not ever think that he is the crazy one because he is hellbent on proving to people that aliens are real. He never takes in to consideration that he may be the crazy one.

SeanK56 said...

2. I would be very angry because I would know it's true and no one else is believing it. And in a situation like that there really is no physical evidence. I was abducted once before but I havnt told anyone because I knew this would happen and this book backs up my beliefs.

Alexander C. [13-14] said...

Sean, what is the name of the planet they took you to?

SeanK56 said...

Vystrikyeniack

SeanK56 said...

They all spoke Russian.

Alexander C. [13-14] said...

I don't believe you.

Kenneth C.M. 13-14 said...

When I kidnapped sean I made the environment seem very peculiar so that when he told people of it they wouldn't believe him. It also apparently just caused him to not tell anyone in general. got away with it yessss

Kenneth C.M. 13-14 said...

oh and i would be very frustrated and probably seclude myself from people if i were sean

Greg P. 13-14 said...

2) I would be frustrated if i was abducted by aliens and no one believed me. People would think I was crazy which would only add to the frustration.

Greg P. 13-14 said...

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Cieran B. 5-6 said...

For question 2 I would feel insulted and disgruntled at the same time for nobody would listen. Due to the way society is I would probably be recommended to a doctor which would worsen my mentality.