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.

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