My Final Opinion

This book was one of the greatest books I have ever read. It’s true that if you’re looking for an anti-war book, this would be the perfect book for you. The book has an amazing analysis of how war affects people. With Billy being stuck in and out of time, his random weeping, and his triggering PTSD, how can this not change your mind about war? Of course, this book may be sort of sensitive or hard for someone who’s pro-military or extremely patriotic. They might take it as an attack on them personally. In my most humble opinion, you probably should.

The book kind of tackles the idea of why war shouldn’t be glorified. It talks about the grotesque realization of war. Like for instance, the prisoners of war were using soap made out of human flesh. The fact that they have seen so many dead bodies and dig up dead bodies is scary. Not being able to explain what happened to their own family because it can be too triggering is scary. The fact that some of them have so many mental illnesses that they aren’t even aware of where they are, what time is it, or what year is it is scary. It should bother you that that’s the reality of a lot of veterans and active duty soldiers. It should bother you that they have seen that much death. The most important thing that should bother you is the fact that we as humans result to killing each other of issues that could be solved by talking to each other. Now that my friend, should really bother you. The fact that we even glorify that as something to be proud of is sickening. How can we advocate for our kids to resolve conflict peacefully if we advocate for war?

In all honesty, I don’t think I would ever fight in a war. It’s just not in me to have to kill innocent people. That would haunt me for the rest of my life. I’m pretty sure it haunts the many veterans and soldiers today. The only thing I can say that is honestly different about soldiers now than back then is the support for mental health issues. One thing I disliked in the book was how they treated Billy after the war. His friends, family, everyone treated him like a raging lunatic. Now, part of me understands why they did it. Back in the 40s-60s, mental health wasn’t really a great talking point. Most people back then lacked the range to even understand or debate about it. Many of them assumed mentally ill people were crazy and just through them in jail. Nobody ever stopped to understand why they may have been like that. Nobody even tried to get them help. It amazes me to how ignorant people were about mental illnesses then. Once again, I have to keep in mind this was in the 40s-60s.

Anyway, back to Billy. Billy was just treated like a lunatic. His kids treated him like a child, especially his daughter. It kind of infuriated me. How dare you do your father like that? This also reminds, however, how times have truly changed. Mental illnesses nowadays aren’t treated like that. People have support groups and hotlines to call for those issues. In some states, they’re even offering to teach mental health courses in class! How amazing is that? Yet still, we have a lot of work to do in this society. A lot of the attitudes in the book towards Billy or even war in general, still are prevalent in our society. We must change that.

Lastly, one thing I will say about the book is that it is different. It’s different in a good way. The book itself seem to tell the story backwards in my opinion. As you all know, it started off with Billy speaking about how he went to modern-day Dresden with O’Hare. He met this man who talked to them about Dresden and his life. I remember him saying that he hopes to live in a world full of peace. Then in the last chapter, it jumps back to explaining the trip they took. It was amazing to me how well chapter one matched with chapter ten. It’s like all the missing pieces in the first chapter were put together in chapter ten.

When you read chapter ten, you’re like “wow, how come I didn’t think of this to begin with?” The book is just so full of twists and drastic changes that it can be hard to even focus on one part. I honestly think I can say that chapters one, nine, and ten might have been my favorite. This book was really an interesting read. For it to be fiction, it can trigger lots of emotions. I guess it makes sense considering Kurt Vonnegut, which is the author, wrote a lot of this about his life in the book. He has a brilliant mind, and I hope this book will be read by many others.

Even though I said lastly in the last block, I wanted to say thanks to those who have actually read my blog. I appreciate anyone who has stopped by and enjoyed reading it. I want to specifically thank Dr. Ferguson (my teacher) for assigning me this book to read and type on a blog. At first, I thought this blog was going to be a disaster. My first two posts were terrible, and I thought it was doomed. However, once I got into the book more, it was easier for me to express how I felt about this book. It became as easy as breathing. I honestly would redo this assignment over again on a different book. Sadly, we have come to an end of this phase and blog. Once again, thanks to any and everyone who looked at my blog. I appreciate the support or even the lack of support. This was a great experience and learning lesson. Hopefully, you guys could see me writing on another blog in the future. This has been fun. The End.

The End (Chapter 10)

Wow, guys. We’re finally at the end of the book. We made it through all of the content in the book. We made it. I can remember when I was just on chapter one and explaining the first bit of information I read. It feels just like yesterday but also long at the same time. Anyway, let’s wrap this analysis up. For the most part, this chapter is basically the rest of what happened in the beginning. Let me refresh you guys’ memory. First, Billy went with O’Hare back to Dresden. It describes the conversation with the taxi driver who took them back to the slaughterhouse. However, while O’Hare is in present- day Dresden, Billy is in 1945 Dresden. He will probably reminisce about Dresden even after he gets shot. What a character. Billy and other prisoners were basically finding remains in the moon as he liked to call it. What they discovered was “…dozens of bodies down there. They were sitting on benches. They were unmarked” (page 273). The brutality of war is one big pill to swallow. The people you come to war with will be the people you may dig up. Crazy how war works. The stink was like roses and mustard gas. This is the same scent Billy had in the beginning. How coincidental. After this, Billy and the prisoners were locked up once again until they weren’t one day. After they were freed, the world seemed reborn again. Everything seemed new but empty. One bird came down to Billy to say the infamous saying, “Poo-tee-weet” (page 275). I’ll never forget that saying. Ever.

Quite the Chapter (CH 9)

This chapter is the second to last, obviously. Soon, we will come to the end of this book. Wow. But anyway, let’s dive into the chapter. It starts off rather sad. The first sentence of this chapter is literally about how Valencia, Billy Pilgrim’s wife, died. She got into a car crash and was rushing to see Billy at the hospital. It stated that she was “…unconscious, overcome by carbon monoxide. She was a heavenly azure. One hour later she died. So it goes” (page 234). Wow, what a great way to start off the chapter. This information alone shows me how much she loved Billy. Imagine going to check on someone after you get into a car crash. That’s honestly real and unconditional love. The love that Valencia had for Billy that Billy hadn’t had for her. In the next page, we learn about this Rumfoord person Billy shares a room with. And let me tell you, he’s a lot. For one, I don’t like how he antagonizes Billy. He looks at Billy like most people look at Billy, and it’s annoying. Secondly, he’s seventy-two dating a twenty-three. That’s in total for 47 years apart. I guess Lily, his wife, views him as a sugar daddy. Who knows?

As we move along in the chapter, I learn something about Billy that I didn’t really pay much attention to: He makes very impulsive decisions. Like for instance, he would go into other places of his house and have his family scared. In the chapter, he just up and went to New York without saying anything. Boy, does he sure just act off his impulses. His mental illnesses probably play a role into that, though. He also made a similar comment his mom made about being old. It’s like they were both in disbelief about being old. On the contrary, his mom was confused about being, and he just didn’t think being old would be like it is. It reminds me of how children want to be older because of freedom until they realize that the freedom is almost nonexistent. Being an adult feels like being in a constant battle of health problems, bills, and uncertainty. In a lot of ways, we live like the Tralfamadorians. We just live life. What saddens me about Billy though, was the fact that he really wasn’t happy. His happiest moment was his ” sundrenched snooze in the back of a wagon”(page 249). The fact that he would rather have been in a wagon in war than out of war says a lot.

In the last part of the chapter, something sparked another thought I’ve always had. In the wagon, Billy and the other Americans got stopped by Russians. They scolded him on how the horse looked. The were shocked at how the Americans had treated the horse or in their words, their form of transportation. Boy, wait till they see how America treats its people. It reminded me of how businesses treat their employees. The employees are the malnourished, broken, dehydrated horse. The Americans are the businesses. It’s like businesses have little to no regard to how their behaviors affect their employees. As long as they produce the desired result, it doesn’t matter how they feel. However, when Billy noticed how the horse looked once the Russians pointed it out. He cried. I don’t know whether he cried because PTSD or because the horse was in bad condition, and it reminded him of how he is. Either way, each reason is valid and worth crying about.

Lastly, the end of the chapter is weird yet satisfying. Billy is in New York and goes to this bookstore. It’s kind of like Spencer’s in a way with its graphic content. The bookstore had Mr. Trout’s books in it. The book that Billy picked up by him was basically very similar to Billy and Montana’s situation on how they ended up on Tralfamadore. It’s odd yet fascinating. The other book was about a man traveling to see if Jesus really died on the cross. It’s like a nonbeliever’s way of getting the facts about Christianity. Billy purchased this book to support Trout. I also think maybe he also got it because he wasn’t really a religious person. Both could be true, honestly. This bookstore also had the picture of a Shetland pony and a woman having sex. This was the same picture that they had on Tralfamadore if I’m not mistaken. Coincidence? Maybe or maybe not. He goes on the radio to talk about time and gets moved out of the radio station. Wow, what a shocker. At the very end, he’s back on Tralfamadore. Montana’s breastfeeding their baby. Part of this still sounds like his fantasy rather than time. But anyway, Montana had this necklace with the same quote as the picture above. That’s when I knew, that I had to make this the picture of this chapter. It’s a beautiful yet pure saying.

Slaughterhouse (Chapter 8)

“One of the main effects of war, after all, is that people are discouraged from being characters”(pages 208-209). Whew. What a quote. This quote alone speaks volume. It means that people are just usually dead. No pun intended. People have seen so much destruction, death, and corruption that you sort of become dead inside. It’s like a mix between being in constant shock but not being surprised. It’s like living in a matrix sort of. But anyway, let’s dig into the novel. Howard W. Campbell, Jr. is a very different American but not really different. During this time period. In the beginning of the chapter, he is described as being a Nazi. “White is for the race that pioneered the continent, drained the swamps, and cleared the forests and built the roads and bridges. Red is for the blood of American patriots which was shed so gladly in years gone by”(page 207). Now, of course, I would expect an American to be mad about the last part. Bragging about the blood of American patriots or anybody is cringeworthy. However, the ideology that being white was superior is something that I feel like at the time and even now, that a lot of Americans actually believe in. It’s sort of weird to me that many Americans hate Nazis when they share the same ideals. Like are you in denial or what?

In the middle of the novel, Billy finally gets to meet Kilgore Trout. Kilgore Trout is this author that Billy adores because he writes science fiction. What’s so interesting about Kilgore is that he was taken away by the fact that Billy actually called him an author. I mean, nobody really reads his stuff like that. That has a lot to do with the fact that he’s so bitter. Many people probably think he’s a weirdo, which I can’t say I necessarily blame them though. All of his fiction has to do with death in some shape or fashion. He just seems like a weird, bitter person. He’s even like that to the kids who help him deliver his papers. What a jerk. However, I personally don’t find him to be as weird as he comes off but more so misunderstood. I feel like his fiction has an underlying message that many at the time wouldn’t understand. That’s their loss, though.

But anyway, Billy invited him to his 18th wedding anniversary. They played this song named “That Old Gang of Mine” , and Billy freaked out. At first, he didn’t even no why he felt that way. He was an open book (to himself) about many things that happened to him. He then figures out why he was triggered by that song. And yes, if you’re wondering, it has to due with war. It has everything to do about Dresden more specifically. This song was played after the Dresden bombing. It reminded him of all of those dead bodies he had seen while in the war. No wonder why he was freaked out. I feel like I’ve seen an episode of his PTSD coming out. I can only imagine what it’s like to live with that. I have family members who suffer from that, but they hide it so well, just like Billy. Until this recent moment, nobody would have ever known. As a person who has suffered with a mental illness, certain things just randomly attack you. You could be fine in your world, and then BAM. It literally catches you off guard, and it’s very hard to even try to explain. Billy’s scenario is another case of why I will forever be anti-war. Nobody deserves to go through that.

Short (Chapter 7)

This chapter is very short. It doesn’t have much detail, so bare with me now. It starts off with a very tragic beginning. Billy is reminiscing in the time period to where the plane Billy and twenty-eight other optometrists were on crashed. Everybody died except for Billy. Wow, what a great way to start off the chapter. Of course, Billy already knew this was going to happen. However, he didn’t say anything in fear of being humiliated. The people were listening to songs being played on the plane not having any idea that they are about to die. In many ways, that’s the reality of us humans. You will never know when you’ll take your last breath. However, while I understand not wanting to be casted off as crazy, I probably would’ve still told them this was going to happen. I mean, it’s kind of odd to know people are going to die and not say anything. But, once again, I totally get why he decided to be quiet. Sometimes, you have to let fate play its role, and watch it happen. It’s like Billy is experiencing a life that has a consistent phenomenon of
deja vu. I couldn’t imagine how tiring they may be for Billy.

Fast forward to Dresden, he was watched over by this guard named Werner Gluck. What’s so interesting about this boy is that “they were, in fact, distant cousins, something they never found out”(page 201). For some reason, this quote saddened me, and I don’t know why. I guess it made me think of how many people we may be related to that we may never know about. We never get to actually know these people. It’s a small world honestly. Lastly, when Billy and the other soldiers get served food, the lady who served them food made an odd comment. Her comment was this:”All the real soldiers are dead.”(page 203). The quote honestly didn’t even make any sense. Is she implying that because they aren’t deceased that they are not real soldiers? Is she making a mockery of their appearances or something? She honestly didn’t make sense to me. It’s also ironic because all the American soldiers (except Edgar Derby, really) are dead. What I mean by dead is that they are no longer even alive mentally or spiritually. All the stuff they have seen and been through it’s hard for them to even be full of life. They’ve seen so much death that being alive and full of life is almost a farce.

Foreshadowing (Chapter 6)

This chapter was the chapter of foreshadowing. Of course, this whole book so far is full of foreshadowing, but this specific chapter was short and mostly foreshadowing. Let’s start off by mentioning Paul Lazzaro. We learn a little more additional information about this small, short man. And let me tell you, he reminds me of Roland Weary a lot. He’s kind of aggressive and holds a mean grudge. “Anybody ever asks you what the sweetest thing in life is–said Lazzaro, it’s revenge” (page 177). This quote describes Lazzaro’s whole personality. He talks about how he put knives in a dog’s steak because the dog bit him. He watches the dog suffer in pain as the knives cut him in his gut. Now, I can understand him being upset about being bit but to put knives in the dog’s steak? That’s…odd and is also a lot. I can’t imagine going to that length to get revenge. It’s just isn’t worth it; but that’s not even the crazy part about Lazzaro.

The craziest part about Lazzaro was him predicting Billy’s death. It sounds crazy at first until Billy actually confirmed it. Lazzaro said that he would get Billy eventually but just not now. It would be years later before he’d actually kill Billy. Billy talks about how he remembers dying on February 13th, 1976. He’s seen his own death so many times that it doesn’t even faze him. You would think since he’s seen his own death plenty of times he would try to prevent it. However, that’s just not how it goes. Billy has come to terms with his own death happening like that. It’s like he’s at peace with how he’s going to die. It’s honestly fascinating, scary, and sad all at the same time. Someone being that at peace with how they’re going to die is oddly great yet scary. It also shows how insane Mr. Lazzaro actually is. No wonder Roland and him are friends. Psychopaths got to stick together somehow, I guess.

The last part of the book gets into the part that is most significant in this book: Dresden. This is where we get a whiff of Dresden. They start off talking about beautiful Dresden. The scenery was beautiful there. Many Americans have not experienced a city so beautiful. Of course, the people of Dresden however, were not feeling the American troops. Billy might have been the most hated because of how he was dressed. He was wearing a blue toga, silver shoes, with his hands in a muff. I guess I can’t blame them for thinking he’s goofy. It also brings up another issue on how poorly U.S. soldiers are looked at it in other countries. It’s extremely embarrassing to even read sometimes. But anyway, they finally get to the slaughterhouse. This was the American soldiers’ home now, a slaughterhouse that was made to butcher animals. How delightful. The address they had to remember in order to get around was “Schlachthof-funf”(page 195). It meant Slaughter-house five. This shall be interesting.

The Longest Chapter Thus Far(Chapter 5)

Whew. This chapter was ALOT. Billy went through so many time periods of his life that it was hard to keep count. But anyway, let’s dig into this novel. It first starts off with Billy being with the Trafalmadorians. This is the first time in the novel that we get to really see how he’s treated in this “world”. First off, they have him in a zoo on Trafalmadore. It’s like he’s the animal in the situation, and they are the zoo guests. They’re examining Billy and his behavioral activities. It’s kind of ironic how they’ve put him in a zoo, though. It makes me think about how us humans would put Tralfamadorians in a zoo and observe them like rat labs. Sometimes, it’s interesting to see how roles are reversed.

What’s interesting about these Trafalmadores is how everything just is. “There is no beginning, no middle, no end, no moral, no causes, no effects. What we love in our books are the depths of many marvelous moments seen all at one time”(page 112). Even though they were referring to their books, you could apply that to their daily lives. They don’t reminisce on what something would’ve, could’ve, or should’ve been, they just accept things for what it is and go on about their day. It’s like their lives are like never-ending movies.

The saddest part about this book, though, is how everyone treats Billy like he’s a lunatic. People tend to not realize how much he’s actually been through and have seen. It irritated me how his daughter Barbara talks to him like he’s a child or how the Trafalmadorians viewed Billy as an idiot. I also don’t like how everyone views him as crazy either. People just view him as this chore, so to speak. They view him as this disposable freak they are required to keep looking after. It’s almost like he’s been in a zoo for pretty much his whole adulthood, and everyone is just observing him like a hawk. No one takes in regard to how much his life has changed over the years. No one tries to understand why he may be that way. Not even the doctors cared enough. That’s probably why he prefers to be alone and in his own little world. No one cares enough about him, anyway.

The most significant part to me about this whole chapter was the part about the American military and the American lifestyle. It was written by an American named Howard W. Campbell, Jr. “America is the wealthiest nation on Earth, but its people are mainly poor, and poor Americans are urged to hate themselves” (page 164). This quote alone summarizes much of our American lifestyle even today. We hate our own poor people and look at them as a disgrace and scum on earth. Americans like to pretend that poverty is only caused by people who don’t work, but that’s not the case. Money is hard to come by and keep in this country. It’s a big contradiction to what the American Dream sells to us and to others. America treats the overwhelming, majority of its population as if they matter less. Mr. Campbell also talked about how the American military ” send its enlisted men out to fight and die” (page 166). ” It is a genuine expression of the hatred of the poor, who have no one to blame for their misery but themselves” (page 166). The quote furthers prove me stance on why I’m against war and the military. As I’ve stated before, war has less to do about justice and more to do about personal gain. Before combat and after combat, America still has zero respect for its soldiers. It’s ironic because Americans scold people for being against war whilst treating actual soldiers like scum. It’s funny how we’re fighting overseas enemies but have yet to fight our biggest enemy, America.