Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children's Crusade: A
I miss Kurt Vonnegut.He hasn t been gone all that long Of course he isn t gone, yet he is gone He has always been alive and he will always be dead So it goes.Slaughterhouse five is next to impossible to explain, let alone review, but here I am And here I go.What is it about It s about war.It s about love and hate.It s about post traumatic stress It s about sanity and insanity.It s about aliens not the illegal kind, the spacey kind.It s about life.It s about death.so it goes That s one thing Earthlings might learn to do, if they tried hard enough Ignore the awful times and concentrate on the good ones This is how I live my life This is how I get through the day Most days I am successful, some days I m not Today is one of the not days Like so many Americans these days, I feel I m in a rut Like so many Americans I don t understand why I am where I am This was not the plan This was not what I had in mind Oh poor me.boo hoo This book This book got me thinking So much about life sucks, true, but not many of us want to give up on it that easy Why because of the good ones And what makes good ones is our ability to create and enjoy creating..at least I think so Write it Shoot it Publish it Crochet it, saut it, whatever MAKE Joss WhedonIf you make something, a painting, a poem, a novel, a good meal, a person..you continue to live even after death I think that s what Mr Vonnegut was getting at Maybe.At least that is how he has remained alive for me. Every so often you read a book, a book that takes everything you thought created an excellent novel and tears it to pieces it then sets it on fire and throws it out the window in a display of pure individual brilliance That is how I felt when I read this jumbled and absurd, yet fantastic, novel.The book has no structure or at the very least a perceivable one it s all over the place But, it works so well It cements the book s message and purpose underlining its meaning Indeed, this book is an anti war novel, which is asserted in part through its random and confusing organisation The story is jumbled and jangled such as the meaning of war It appears pointless to the reader, again alluding to the meaning of war It also suggests that after the war a soldier s life is in ruins and has no clear direction, which can be seen with the sad case of Billy Pilgrim So it goes.Billy Pilgrim is a poor tortured soul who after the fire bombing of Dresden is in a state of flux His mind cannot remain in the present and darts back and forth in time like the narrative He was never the most assertive of men, and after the war became a shadow of his already meek self The war has left him delusional, which is manifested by his abduction by aliens This may or may not have happened Vonnegut leaves it up to the reader to decide What decision they make effects what genre the novel belongs to.Is it science fiction If Billy was abducted by aliens then this is sci fi, but if it is a figment of his imagination then this becomes something much deeper It s up to the reader how they interpret it, but I personally believe that he wasn t abducted I think he made it up, unconsciously, as a coping strategy for the effects of war, and that the author has used it as a tool to raise questions of the futility of free will, but importantly to further establish the anti war theme.Vonnegut draws on a multitude of sources to establish this further, such as the presidential address of Truman He ironically suggests that the A bomb, whilst devastating, is no worse than ordinary war he points out the fact that the fire bombing of Dresden killed than the nuking of Hiroshima Through this he uses Billy Pilgrim s life as a metaphor for what war for the effects of war on the human state.So it goes.Vonnegut himself is a character within the narrative as the life of Billy Pilgrim is, in part, an autobiographical statement The narrator addresses the reader and informs them of this He tells them that this all happened or less This establishes the black humour towards war and the inconsequential deaths of those that are in it Hence the motif so it goes at each, and every, mention of death whether large or small He ends the book on the line poo te weet He even tells the reader he is going to do this, but at the same time demonstrates that there is nothing intelligible to be said about war.I warn you, if you ve not read this, it is one of the most bizarre books you will ever read The main character time travels, in his mind, and has no real present state The narrative initially appears random and completely confusing But, once you reach the end you ll see this book for what it is the most individual, and unique, statement against war that will ever be written.FBR Twitter Facebook Insta Academia I have to admit to being somewhat baffled by the acclaim Slaughterhouse 5 has received over the years Sure, the story is interesting It has a fascinating and mostly successful blend of tragedy and comic relief And yes, I guess the fractured structure and time travelling element must have been quite novel and original back in the day But that doesn t excuse the book s flaws, of which there are a great many in my seemingly unconventional opinion Take, for instance, Vonnegut s endless repetition of the phrase So it goes Wikipedia informs me it crops up 106 times in the book It felt like three hundred times to me About forty pages into the book, I was so fed up with the words So it goes that I felt like hurling the book across the room, something I have not done since trying to read up on French semiotics back in the 1990s I got used to coming across the words every two pages or so eventually, but I never grew to like them God, no I found some other nits to pick, too Some of them were small and trivial and frankly rather ridiculous, such as wait for it the hyphen in the book s title Seriously, what is that hyphen doing there There s no need for a hyphen there Couldn t someone have removed it, like, 437 editions ago And while I m at it, couldn t some discerning editor have done something about the monotonous quality of Vonnegut s prose about the interminable repetition of short subject verb object sentences Don t get me wrong, I m not saying all authors should use Henry James or Claire Messud length sentences Heaven forbid I m actually rather fond of minimalism, both in visual art and in writing But Vonnegut s prose is so sparse and simplistic it s monotonous rather than minimalist, to the point where I frequently found myself wishing for a run on sentence every now and then, or for an actual in depth description of something I hardly ever got either As a result, there were times when I felt like I was reading a bare bones outline of a story rather than the story itself Granted, it was an interesting outline, larded with pleasing ideas and observations, but still, I think the story could have been told in a effective way A less annoying way, too.As for the plot, I liked it I liked the little vignettes Vonnegut came up with and the colourful characters he created the British officers being my particular favourites I liked the fact that you re never quite sure whether Billy is suffering from dementia, brain damage or some kind of delayed post traumatic stress disorder, or whether there is some actual time travelling going on I even liked the jarring switches in perspective, although I think they could have been handled in a slightly subtle manner And I liked the book s anti war message, weak and defeatist though it seemed to be In short, I liked the book, but it took some doing I hope I ll be less annoyed by the two other Vonnegut books I have sitting on my shelves, Breakfast of Champions and Cat s Cradle. I read this book first in 1999 when my grandfather passed away It was a bit of a coincidence as his funeral occurred between a Primate Anatomy exam and a paper for my Experimental Fiction class on Slaughterhouse Five I was frantically trying to remember the names of all kinds of bones when I picked this up in the other hand and tried to wrap my head around it.Basically, Vonnegut has written the only Tralfamadorian novel I can think of These beings, most undoubtedly inspired in Billy Pilgrim s head by the scattered science fiction plots of Kilgore Trout, experience time as a continuum that is constantly occurringand when they look at time, even though in their version of history, the world is in a constant state of being destroyed for example, they choose to see the things that make them happythe good moments What Billy learns from these creatures is that each traumatic event that has happened in his life fits very precisely into a state of meticulous nature It has always happened and always will happen and so it goes on and on and on What Billy Pilgrim truly experiences over and over in his life is Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome He exists throughout his memories traveling back and forth with the knowledge of what will happen and how precise it all is Dresden is bombed in every moment and his friend Derby is put in front of a firing squad At every second, he is the only survivor of a plane wreck, he is getting married, and he is fighting a Children s Crusade It s the only way he can look at the despair that has happened and make sense of it.When my grandfather died and I read this, I felt as if it was just what I needed because I could escape back into time and remember the good memories of my grandfatherif they existed even if in some fourth dimension then he was just as dead as he was alive and eating peanut butter chocolate ice cream At the same time my grandfather had a heart attack, I was watching him play cards with my grandma at the kitchen table But which one to think of Well, that was easy Death can t be prevented and so it goes but you can always try to change which moment you live in It s a little bit different than a memory and if you go far into it, you ll end up like Billy Pilgrim, which is to say, you will go insane because the rest of the world sees time as linear and counts seconds and minutes and hours.Once and awhile, it doesn t hurt I re read this again on the plane rides home and back before and after my grandmother s funeral on Monday and last night My grandma was a strong and intelligent woman and she always read everything she saw My recent memories of my grandmother were of her at the holidays She always had her mind but her physical condition had deteriorated and she was dependent on oxygen It made me sad to think of her like this a bit It s really hard for me to think that my grandma is no but then I tell myselfwell, it s silly for me to keep crying on and on about this My grandma is right now reading at 4am in her living room chair and I am a child creeping down the stairs hoping she s still up She is telling me that one day I ll come around and like green onions She is reminding me to keep my feet off of the davenport and about being tickled by something She lives in a jungle of houseplants and watches musicals all of the time, always pointing out when some distant relative of mine appears briefly in The Greatest Show on Earth My grandma can t be dead and be doing all of those things, can she It doesn t make sense She will always be alive in some moments just like I will always be seven and nine and twenty eight and perhaps past thirty and forty So, she ll always be here.I just wish I could dream about her. Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of all time, Slaughterhouse Five, an American classic, is one of the world s great antiwar books Centering on the infamous firebombing of Dresden, Billy Pilgrim s odyssey through time reflects the mythic journey of our own fractured lives as we search for meaning in what we fear most. I finally read Vonnegut I finally read a war novel And after a long time I finally read something with so many GR ratings and a decent number of reviews which is precisely the reason I have nothing much to add to the already expressed views here So I urge you to indulge me to state a personal anecdote Thank You.My Grandfather was a POW during Indo China war and remained in confinement for some six months By the time I got to know about it I had already watched too many movies and crammed endless number of answers about when and where such n such war was fought But I was na ve and let s assume innocent and someone who was yet to learn to ask the right questions So the fact that someone so close in the family had witness something I only read in schoolbooks was utterly fascinating for me Thus began my streak of stupid questions.Me Did you kill someone Did they torture you Did you dig some sort of tunnel to escape And so on.My Grandpa gave this hearty laugh he is famous for and said that I m missing one important question Why the war happened at first place I thought for a while and answered Because it always happens I can t recall properly what he replied to that but it was something on the lines of this I wish the answer changes when you ll grow up because as of now that s exactly how it is War always happens With books like Slaughterhouse Five Schlachth f f nf , it s not the writing which matters but simply the ideas and thoughts it carries which transgresses the literary boundaries and create a place in the heart of the readers as a humble reminder that Love happens, Hate happens, Life happens, Death happens, Peace happens, War happens and sometimes Shit happens. A fun visit with cantankerous old Uncle Kurt Vonnegut is on a short list of my favorite authors and this is perhaps his most famous work Not his best, but most recognizable Billy Pilgrim is also one of his best characters Kilgore Trout is his best.I liked it as I like everything I have read of him The recurring themes and characters, use of repetition for emphasis and comic relief, his irreverence and postmodern lack of sensitivity shine bright as ever here Vonnegut can be funny and grim on the same page, same sentence even, and not lose relevance or sincerity 2018 My wife and I visited Dresden, Germany this year and I could not help think of Vonnegut as a young POW who miraculously survived the firebombing and lived to tell the tale. 375 Slaughterhouse Five The Children s Crusade A Duty Dance with Death, Kurt VonnegutSlaughterhouse Five, or The Children s Crusade A Duty Dance with Death 1969 is a science fiction infused anti war novel by Kurt Vonnegut about the World War II experiences and journeys through time of Billy Pilgrim, from his time as an American soldier and chaplain s assistant, to postwar and early years It is generally recognized as Vonnegut s most influential and popular work A central event is Pilgrim s surviving the Allies firebombing of Dresden as a prisoner of war This was an event in Vonnegut s own life, and the novel is considered semi autobiographical 2011 5 2011 1372 263 1380 1381 9646751490 1389 1939 1945 20 11 1922 11 2007 84 1950 2005 1945 1971 1979 2007 1952 1959 1961 1963 1965 1969 1973 1976 1979 1985 1987 1997 2005 1961 1967 1999 1999 2009 1971 1951 1999 25399 This book is an absolute masterpiece and it makes it clear in every single sentence I think it is best to go into it without knowing too much about the plot You just got to take it as it comes, so to say.Before reading, I was worried that I might have trouble with the writing style English isn t my first language and the older a book is, the trouble I seem to have with the writing because of obsolete words, unusual sentence structures, ect However, my worry was totally for nothing in this case I found the entire book very easy to read which is even surprising considering the heavy topics that get dealt with I also loved how there were many little passages and repetitions of certain phrases It seemed fitting somehow.I would have never guessed that the blend of a war story with Science Fiction could work so well It gives it so much room for analysing and interpretation Honestly, I could write a thousand reasons why I loved this book, but in the end I would just repeat myself, because I seriously just loved every.single.little.thing I highly recommend everyone to give it a shot. Listen This reviewer is stuck in time He is unable to escape the narrow confines of the invisible, intangible machinery mercilessly directing his life from a beginning towards an end The walls surrounding him are dotted with windows looking out on darkened memories and foggy expectations, easing the sense of claustrophobia but offering no way out The ceiling is crushing down on this man while he paces frantically through other people s lives and memories in hopes of shaping his own and forgetting the enormity of oblivion looming above his head He reads book after book after book He reads Kurt Vonnegut s Slaughterhouse Five He gets immersed, he gets lost in the pages He smiles He wonders He tumbles He laughs a laugh that seems to come from somewhere deep within him, telling him that everything is beautiful A laugh that shoots up from a dark place and illuminates the universe, bathing it in colour, showing all the hidden threads in a fraction of a second The man is consoled, recognizing that fraction as an eternity He closes the book and looks around him The space got bigger, the windows show a clearer picture He sees his situation with a new light emanating from his own eyes and, looking up, notices the oppressive ceiling is no longer there It made way for the sky, sometimes blue, sometimes painted with stars and clouds He ruminates on this new canvas for his thoughts as a bird flies by and calls to him Poo tee weet.