Like most books, the first chapter gives insight on the main characters and the first taste of information about the book. The first chapter of the book should be named the side effects of war. As stated in the book, Vonnegut is working on this book about the destruction of Dresden in World War II. It’s a struggle for him because he can’t even remember majority of the things that happened in the war. He tries to get more details about the war by chatting with an Mr. O’Hare, which is his old war buddy. However, Mr. O’Hare could barely remember anything regarding the war as well. Vonnegut has issues dealing with the aftermath of the war. At night time, he gets drunk and starts rambling on the phone. With the severe memory loss and alcoholism in the first chapter, it further strengthens my stance on why I dislike war. War, in my opinion, is very brutal and unnecessary. It breeds toxic habits and justifies relentless killings. With many soldiers seeing rampant death, it messes up the psyche. While I may never experience how war is, I understand how brutal war is mentally. Mr. O’Hare’s wife Mary has an attitude that I resonate with. Many of the men who fought in World War II were children. Even as an adult, it’s still mind-boggling to me as how many people think children are impulsive but think sending kids to war is acceptable. It’s a mindset that I have never quite understood. The most significant part of the book is the idea that war is “partly encouraged by books and movies” (page 5). It brings up an interesting point on how American media glamorizes war as this “rite of passage”. We look at war as something that is a necessary part of our life and getting rid of the “bad” boys; in reality, war is more about personal gain than actual justice.
Chapter two is my favorite chapter so far out of the book. This chapter gives a more specific outlook of life by Billy Pilgrim. Mr. Pilgrim believes that he is stuck in time. He has no control over this and goes into random places in his life. It’s almost as if he’s a time traveler. Towards the last few pages of the chapter, he blinks in and out of reality while he’s escaping the drudgery of the war. He’s in different parts of his life reliving those moments he once had. This part of the book is significant to me. Billy defies the notion that a moment can’t be relived. Thinking that moments can’t be relived is “…just an illusion…”that we have created. He wanted to relive different times of his life to escape his reality. Roland Weary, however, is the complete opposite. He reminds me of the notion of being a product of his environment. He was extremely violent due to him being let down and disregarded. It’s almost as if he becomes violent to cope with being disregarded. While both Weary and Pilgrim are extremely different, they are both fighting battles within themselves. They both want to defy the perceptions of what is considered normal.