Slaughterhouse-Five Personal Response

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut discusses various interesting topics, such as one’s PTSD from war and free will, through the non-linear narrative.

Writing in a non-linear narrative in the novel raises the question of free will. To do that, Vonnegut narrates Billy Pilgrim unstuck in time, where he is involuntarily unable to choose where he goes next, and there is no beginning, middle or end. If everything is already predetermined, is there any point in trying? In the novel, billy gets drafted to the war, and he is improperly trained, but he survives while many other soldiers that are much better die, making readers question if this is because of fate or coincidence. Other than that, “so it goes” is used frequently when there is a death; this presents the idea of the Tralfamodorian, where a person may be dead at the moment but alive in another. It conflicts with the readers existing concept of death and grief.

While another perspective of writing in a non-linear narrative suggests that it expresses Billy’s PTSD from the war. The confusion created among the readers caused the structure, representing how Billy experiences his life in disorder, where he cannot tell the reality to cope or escape from the world. This gives readers a glimpse of one’s experiences with PTSD and the difficulties that a soldier goes back to a ‘normal’ life after all the trauma they have gone through.

In conclusion, even though this novel created a lot of confusion among the readers about the non-linear structure, the different topics and questions are interesting. It makes readers question the world we live in and whether we have control of our own lives.

PR to Slaughterhouse Five

After reading slaughterhouse five, I noticed the connection between the science fiction parts of this novel and the real, serious topics of war that are discussed. I think it is impressive how Vonnegut weaves a tragic war story into a humorous science fiction novel. It causes the readers to understand the effects of the war in a more comedic tone. Often I found myself questioning the importance or deeper meaning of some of the things that were written by Vonnegut. I noticed that I would search for a message, something that was conveyed through the crazy narratives in the story, but often there wasn’t one. The way Vonnegut writes Slaughterhouse Five is very straightforward and concise. To me this also indicated how war should not be glamorized and it showed the harsh realities of war. War is often viewed as heroic and the person is praised but Vonnegut writes in a very straightforward tone to show that while also talking about the PTSD Billy endured. 

Another thing that stood out to me was the non linear timeline in which slaughterhouse Five is written in. The non chronological order of Billy Pilgrim’s life highlighted the idea that he was unstuck in time. It created suspense in the book and made the reader’s question what was going to occur next. It also gave the book a bigger picture as it wasn’t one particular story we were reading about but rather many stories and many timelines. Vonnegut ties it all together in the end to create one story about all of Billy Pilgrim’s experiences. The narrative and stories we read about Billy’s experiences all travel with him as he becomes unstuck in time. This scattered timeline allowed Vonnegut to include every war experience that took place in different times. 

The saying “so it goes” impacted me as a reader as well. It was most often said after someone had died. It was a very nonchalant and unemotional response to the situation that had happened prior. To me, that emotional (or unemotional) response seemed like it was the normalized way death should be thought of. For Billy, given his experience with the tralfamadorians, he now perceives death in the same way that the tralfamadorians do. He thinks of death in a very nonchalant and unserious way as it is only a part of their lifetime that they are dead. The repeated phrase “so it goes” also showed how death was unavoidable. This leads us to the idea of free will. The idea of free will is illustrated by the tralfamadorians who are very comfortable with the idea that death is inevitable and how their fate cannot be changed. Billy then adopts this same belief of free will. It makes me question as a reader whether or not free will exists. Do we have a say in what happens? Can we change our outcomes or are they pre-decided for us already? 

Overall, Slaughterhouse Five was an interesting read and was definitely different from any of the books we have read thus far.


Personal response to SlaughterHouse-Five

I found that SlaughterHouse-Five was very intrigion to read, and unlike every other book we’ve read in class this book didn’t have a timeline that was from day only moving forward. This book was very confusing but also very to read I’m not going to lie but I think that’s what made it very interesting. Its structure wasn’t a consistent timeline it didn’t just talk about the presence of the character in only moving forward, it would jump to different points in time of the character Billy Pilgram that was of importance. His past wasn’t only talked about but rather relived instead we got to go back and experience what happened in his past. While reading this we didn’t attach to the character or felt like we were living and experiencing everything the character was experiencing. It was more like we were rather learning about the character and other character’s in the book and that was it.

This book also raised a lot of questions for then the other books we’ve read in class. There was so much more that I didn’t know in this book. I think what made this book intrigion was that normally I can understand it but that wasn’t the case while reading this book. The fact that the book while reading it was confusing and not in a focused structured writing style is was made it so interesting to read. We could never predict or tell what we’ll read next and what’s going to happen next. Though all books are like slaughterhouse-five to me was very different, because the book wasn’t in a timeline order like most books. As I said before this book takes us to different points in Billy’s life from war to being in a hospital, this book wasn’t just talking about his past experience but rather takes us to that exact moment in time. In a way it is structured but not in the way we’re used to reading it today. When we read books today we read and can almost all the time books follow a certain timeline and we can kind of get an idea of what’s about to happen next. With slaughterhouse-five though that wasn’t the case, just as soon as we think we’ve made sense of the book it throws a curve ball at us and we end up lost or confused again.

Reading this book was certainly new to me and something that I’ve never read anything like. This book to me was surprising to me because it’s not like any other war book that I’ve read where they only talked about the war and the glory of the soldiers and only a bit of the downside of the war. Whereas slaughterhouse-five only talked about the negative things about the war, and the fact that Kurt Vonnegut made a promise to not glorify the war and only talk about the negatives of the war I think is what made it more interesting to read. I feel that some writers make promises not to glorify war but end up adding it to the book anyways regardless of making that promise. Kurt Vonnegut however stayed true to his word and didn’t glorify the war in his book. He only really wrote about his bad experience of the war and not really once talked about the good things about the war, or made the soldiers look like they were big, strong, brave, and fearless soldiers. He actually made told it how it was and wrote how they were weak, small, old, young, and scared.

This book and its structure were very interesting to read, and I really enjoyed reading the book. Even though sometimes I didn’t understand the book at times I believe that sometimes we can’t always make sense of the book and what were reading. To me, that’s what makes a book really interesting and enjoyable to read. Not all books are for us to fully understand and I learned that now by reading slaughterhouse-five.

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut PR

The way I would describe this book would be as a work of art. It’s simple yet confusing. It is not for everyone. It can make you sad, happy, relaxed, or even angry.

I find the book a narrative, not something with a plot. With the way the timeline is, it feels like small clips being put together and connected to each other. The way Vonnegut described emotions and, what some think was, PTSD. How he created Tralfalmadore as a way to escape reality because, who would really be abducted with a ex-pornstar, it is kind of a stretch, even for science fiction writers. On Tralfalmadore was the only way Billy could be satisfied with his life, and he was able to relax a little. I feel that Vonnegut created it by being genuine because, he sort of felt alienated after the war, and wanted to share how stupid it felt to be back home after the war.

Vonnegut created a fictional character by looking at his war experience in the third person. I think he alienated himself from those feelings by doing that. Vonnegut was a very intelligent man and, he wasn’t going to let war mess with his mind, instead, he would be messing with ours.

The hardest part that I found with this book was: separating the author from the story, like I’ve said before, I have a hard time believing that any part of this story is true. Meanwhile when reading The Color Purple I had to remind myself that it was just a story, every time I had an assignment on it.

I would of liked to know what Vonnegut was feeling when he wrote the book, when he messed with our minds, when he decided to scramble the timeline, and if somedays were worst than the others. If one day he could write to his heart’s content, and another where he couldn’t even see what he was writing. I also would of liked to know what Mrs. O’Hare had to say about the book. And if he ever became a pillar of salt again. He brought light to a massacre not many people thought about, let alone talk about it, like what he said, “Everything is supposed to be very quiet after a massacre, and it always is, except for the birds. And what do birds say? All there is to say about a massacre, things like ‘Poo-tee-weet?’” He became the bird, the bird he heard all of those years ago.



Slaughter House Five Reflection

Slaughter House Five, by Kurt Vonnegut, has been the most engaging piece we have looked at to this point. It is engaging because it directly prompts questions from the reader. Other texts may raise questions on a deep philosophical and almost discrete level, but in order to ‘understand’ the text questions are necessary. This engagement and questions start before you even open the book with a name of slaughter house five, which can be taken as “its a book about butchery” or to think what metaphor this could suggest. The questions continue in chapter one, which we question as even a chapter instead of an introduction. And continuously throughout the book when we see Vonnegut appear out of nowhere to speak in first person as the author. I have a theory that many of the questions we ask have no answer. If Vonnegut was asked why chapter one was an introduction or mostly any of there other questions in the book his response would be ‘there is no why, it just is’. Something I realized a bit too late in the book after attempting to over analyze it. So, to conclude, while the questions this book raises are engaging that is their only purpose as they have no answers.

Another enjoyable part of Slaughter House Five is the unique use of dramatic irony which also has the effect of making Billy seem like a reader. As hard as we try we cannot influence anything that happens in the book. From Billy we know many things in the future (ex. people he knows, as well as himself dying) but like Billy we can do noting about it. It is almost enlightening to see this perspective as although it is not one I hold many things about it lined up nicely with the book.

On a non-analytical note Slaughter House Five has been my favourite English Class book so far due to the reasons I outlined previously, the low diction which gives an Orwellian feel to read, and the ‘Black Humour’ which often got a genuine laugh from me.

Slaughterhouse Five Personal Response

Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five is a confusing work in nearly every dimension, being a fundamental self-contradiction almost by its premise alone. While the author/narrator establishes right from the get-go that the book is a reflection upon one of the most brutal massacres of the Second World War, this central thesis is set against the absurd and iconic sci-fi elements, used to justify a non-linear narrative progression that places the focal character’s death smack in the middle of the book. With its narrative style, structure, and technique as borderline incoherent as this book so often is, we can (perhaps ironically) see the impressive degree of care and thought that went into crafting as bizarre a story as possible.

Starting with perhaps the least odd aspect of the book’s structure, the narrative features two separate framing devices, one held inside the other similar to a nesting doll. The famous non-chronological narrative, seemingly brought on by the protagonist’s abduction by four-dimensional aliens, serves as a frame for the story. Meanwhile, the first chapter, which is narrated by Vonnegut himself, frames and contextualizes the book itself. This, interestingly, achieves something most authors deliberately strive to avoid: pulling the audience out of the story rather than into it. Because we, as the audience can clearly see from the start that this is a work of fiction, Vonnegut invites us to take his story at more than just face value; to suspend our suspension of disbelief. The author has spoken to us directly, so he must have something to say, therefore we must listen.

Then, in a strange twist of technique, Vonnegut subverts his subversion by creating deliberate ambiguity in the narrative, obscuring any deeper meaning the text might have. Throughout the course of the novel, we only know one thing for certain: the city of Dresden will be destroyed, and Billy Pilgrim will witness it. This singular anchoring event functionally serves as the book’s climax. Although it may not be obvious upon a casual reading, the events leading up to Dresden’s destruction are in perfect chronological order, emulating traditional narrative progression. From this perspective, Billy’s time-traveling fills the role of character backstory, contextualizing the events we see by providing additional insights on the character, allowing us to sympathize with him less by knowing who he was before, but more who he will become. Had the time travel been excluded from the narrative, these insights would be absent, and Billy Pilgrim would be an empty character.

However, because Vonnegut has acknowledged the fictitious nature of his work, we are incentivized to examine the story critically and make sense of the madness. Despite this, it is unclear if there is any sense to be made, or any deeper meaning to be found. One might interpret the book as having any number of hidden messages: messages relating to war, life, death, humanity, or reality itself. However, just like the book itself, these messages always return to the destruction of Dresden, and little more can be gleaned from the text then the author’s statement of “I was there.” Nevertheless, Vonnegut has already done what he set out to do. By planting an overwhelming sense of confusion in the reader’s mind, the book has forced the audience to examine it on a deeper level than they would have otherwise, and possibly even form their own insights.

Slaughterhouse- Five Personal Response

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut was an incredible, unique work of literature which, through the form used and content work, readers were able to understand the actual reality and absurdity of war and its impacts on individuals, and the content work described by the inclusion of the Tralfamadorians which impacted the life of Billy Pilgrim affecting his relationships acting as a coping mechanism, and gave him an ideology about “free will” that helped him when he was not supported after returning from war.

The form of this literature included a writing technique where the sentences were written in a simplistic form and consisted of short straight, forward sentences that did not sugarcoat the situations that Billy Pilgrim was facing in different periods in his life. This supported the promise Vonnegut made not to describe war as something amazing but instead as the reality of it. “so it goes” was used several times in the story when the characters died instantaneously throughout the story.
​​In Chapter 3, just before Billy and his team are taken prisoner, they come upon German reserves rushing to the front: “[The Germans] were festooned with machine-gun belts, smoked cigars and guzzled booze. They took wolfish bites from sausages, patted their horny palms with potato-masher grenades”. (Page. 54). This sudden change was right after Billy was in his office working and transitions between each paragraph showed a direct correlation to the horrific and abrupt events in the war. These abrupt transitions from event to event frequently happen throughout the novel. By doing this, Vonnegut created the feeling of constant abrupt action where we got to visualize the war happening through the lens of Billy pilgrim.

The inclusion of the Tralfamadorians at the beginning of the book seemed silly to me. Why did Vonnegut include such childish unreal content with a serious topic? As I continued to read, I realized just how much they arrested. Not only were the Tralfamadorians used as a coping mechanism they showed how the war made Billy feel when he was back home. This included connections with his wife, who he disliked, his rude and disrespectful daughter as well as his teenage son. Throughout the novel, we are taken on a time travel journey and see how at each point in his life, he still feels disconnected from the people after the war because they would never truly understand everything he witnessed and had to go through war. An example of this acceptance established by the Tralfamadorians Included, “Among the things Billy Pilgrim could not change were the past, the present and the future” (page.60). This ideology shows how much the Tralfamadorians impacted him as an individual and his thinking. An example where there is a lack of connection between Billy and his family members is the interactions between his daughter Barbara and him. At this moment, she was mocking his letters about the Tralfamadorians. She stated, “If you are going to act like a child, maybe we will treat you like a child.” (page. 131) Here we can see the miscommunication between them and how hard it really is for Billy to connect with his family because they don’t understand his experiences and think his thoughts are false and crazy.

Not only did the presence of the Tralfamadorians make this novel more engaging to read. They gave Billy a purpose to keep living and helped him accept all the hardships and traumas he endured throughout the war based on the concept that we don’t have free will and can’t choose the lives we lead; consequently, all these experiences were meant to happen.

In conclusion, Vonnegut effectively formatted this novel to educate readers on war and all its realities and truths while still making it a very interesting story. He did this by being straightforward with the language and contact work included, which showed the horrifying, traumatic experiences Billy Pilgrim encountered and all its effects throughout his life journey.


In Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, we appreciate an unusual type of writing that causes feelings of craziness in the reader. First, we start off with a fictional character that goes through the writer’s personal experiences, and later on, the writer also appears in the story, which causes great confusion. The story is also written in a non-linear order, where the story jumps from one point of the character’s life to another and back to some other event, making most readers confused and lost. And as the story goes on, the reader can notice some repetitive descriptions in the book, and the writer did it on purpose to make the reader feel like they’re going crazy.

The main character in the book, Billy Pilgrim, goes through Kurt Vonnegut’s experiences, especially the World War 2 ones. Yet, that wasn’t enough for Vonnegut, he had to point out specific stuff that happened to him through his own character. There are parts where the writer talks about a random non-important character and later writes “That was I. That was me. That was the author of the book.”(p.125). This causes an irregular type of fourth wall break between the reader and the book, to remember that the writer was there. However, it not only does that, but it also generates greater confusion for the reader.

In the novel, there are other things that may cause further confusion for the reader. The non-linear chronological order of the story is one of the most confusing things in the story, especially in the beginning. The writer never lets the reader know what’s next, in a moment the novel takes you to a field of flowers, then you find yourself escaping from german soldiers. The constant change in scenario and time gives the reader a feeling of madness and losing themselves between the timelines.

As the novel goes on, the reader can find descriptive sentences that reappear throughout the whole book. The sentences are weirdly unique descriptions, the repetition of  “blue and ivory”, “nestled like spoons” or “mustard gas and roses” gives even more feeling of craziness to the reader. Repeating meaningless descriptions can cause the reader to believe there is a connection or meaning between them. This makes the reader feel even crazier than before.

In conclusion, Vonnegut wrote a crazy novel that makes the reader go crazy too. The writing of all the points viewed before all have a purpose, making the reader feel lost, confused, and crazy. The writer, Vonnegut, knew what he was doing by writing the novel in this peculiar way.

PR: Slaughterhouse-Five

The novel Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut has been the most enjoyable novel I have read throughout the DP English literature course. Almost immediately after reading the story, I made clear connections between Slaughterhouse-Five and other books I have read and enjoyed, namely, Candide and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. While reading Slaughterhouse-Five, I made connections because of the similar philosophical questions within the novels. In the past, I never truly thought of myself as someone who enjoyed pursuing philosophic questions and dilemmas; stories akin to Slaughterhouse-Five have piqued my interest by raising some questions for me to ponder. More specifically, the question of: “why do we suffer?”

The first notable appearance of this question is on page twenty-seven:

‘When a Tralfamadorian sees a corpse, all he thinks is that the dead person is in a bad condition in that particular moment, but that the same person is just fine in plenty of other moments. Now, when I myself hear that somebody is dead, I simply shrug and say what the Tralfamadorians say about dead people, which is “so it goes.”‘ (P. 27)

The way death is brushed off here with the saying “so it goes” reminds me of the Greek philosophy of Stoicism. One key idea of Stoicism is that we should accept that which we cannot control. Death is more often than not out of our control; hence, it should not burden us and should instead be accepted. This idea can be seen throughout Vonnegut’s novel, as well as in Candide and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Some brief examples include Earth being destroyed in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and others robbing Candide of his riches in Candide. These events were out of the protagonist’s control, much like how the deaths caused by the Dresden bombing, for example, were out of Billy’s control. According to Stoicism and the Tralfamadorians, these events are out of the character’s control, and they should therefore accept it for how it is.

When I first pondered these ideas, I thought of how unrealistic they would be for me to apply. If someone with whom I have a strong relationship were to die, and I were to accept it and move on immediately, those around me would either think I did not like that person or assume I am just a psychopath. The grieving process is normal, and practically everyone experiences it in some way. If it were not normal to grieve, the concept of suffering would not exist. Humans only suffer because of the negative emotions experienced due to events considered suffering, and how we lament over suffering. After analyzing what it truly means to suffer and grieve, the practice of accepting that which we cannot control seems less farfetched. Although I am sure I will still mourn, there is something which can be learned from the practice of Stoicism and Tralfamadorian philosophy. If we as the human race truly only suffer because of the emotions we experience (we grieve), then why should we grieve at all? Would we be happier if we accepted circumstances for how they are? These are all tricky questions raised for me throughout my reading of Vonnegut’s novel.

An aspect of the form of this novel which ties into the whole concept of why we suffer, which I really admire, is Vonnegut’s use of chronology. From the beginning of the book, we are given the rules about Tralfamadorians: they experience life from birth to death as a whole rather than a linear experience. Billy experiences life in much the same way. Even after Billy, or anyone, dies or experiences suffering, there is still and always will be the time for which that person was alive or not suffering.

‘The most important thing I learned on Tralfamadore was that when a person dies he only appears to die. He is still very much alive in the past, so it is very silly for people to cry at his funeral. All moments, past, present and future, always have existed, always will exist. (P. 26-27)

This quote ties into the philosophy that a being’s death (or suffering) should not be lamented because of the time when there was no death or suffering for that being in the past. Vonnegut’s use of non-linear storytelling in his novel is an admirable way of combining form and content to produce a stronger overall effect. I specifically enjoy how Billy’s death happens in the middle of the book rather than at the end. The effect of this is that the death of Billy is only another event in his life. The story will continue on to show all the experiences Billy encountered in the past, further solidifying the mindset of the Tralfamadorians in the reader.

On Tralfamadore, says Billy Pilgrim, there isn’t much interest in Jesus Christ. The Earthling figure who is most engaging to the Tralfamadorian mind, he says, is Charles Darwin-who taught that those who die are meant to die, that corpses are improvements. (P. 210)

I want to end with this quote because it gives another example of looking at this whole philosophy of death. If “those who die are meant to die,” then again, according to Stoicism, it is out of our control and should be accepted. Once again, showing the relationship between Stoic and Tralfamadorian philosophy.

Grievance and suffering are interesting concepts because we have fabricated the idea of them. I believe there is a lot of truth to the philosophy of the Tralfamadorians, but also acknowledge that grievance and suffering have led to positive changes in the world. As the novel addresses war, the suffering caused by the war has changed how the world views it. Without the suffering caused by it, the change would most likely not be made because there would be no reason for it. Although the question is virtually impossible to answer, it is interesting to contemplate what suffering truly is and what is worth considering “suffering.” As of now, there is a common idea of what suffering is and the effects it has, which has given the word meaning (a TOK concept for you).

In summary, Vonnegut’s use of form and content is crucial to the novel’s ability to portray its ideas. The questions mentioned, which were raised in the novel, stem from Vonnegut’s ability to use form and content to produce a stronger effect on the reader’s ideas. My reasoning through the novel was especially due to Vonnegut’s use of non-linear chronology and the explanations of the Tralfamadorian’s philosophy.

SlaughterHouse Five PR

This personal response will focus on the use of a unique timeline in SlaughterHouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. In SlaughterHouse Five the timeline is jumbled and not linear, and instead in a non chronological order. This at first is very daunting and confusing however after continuous reading I began to notice things about this form of writing which enhanced the way the story impacted me.

First thing I noticed was how due to the era of Billy’s life switching almost every page it created a sense of tension almost like you have absolutely no idea what is coming next. Relating this to the topic of the book which is war, we can see how it is very similar. For example, in war the events that take place are very unexpected and you would feel great tension being a soldier who doesn’t know what is going to happen next. Because of this tension it makes me question if Kurt Vonnegut decided to write SlaughterHouse Five in this way to show the reader the feelings soldiers go through while fighting for their nation. 

The second thing I noticed about this form is that it reminds me slightly of past memories. For example it’s almost like the entire story is the past memories of a trauma induced soldier who only remembers bits of his past and continuously switches between them. This would make sense as there are also lots of sci-fi parts to the story which could just be imagination mixed in with the broken up memory of a soldier. Reading it in this way made me think that even if you survive the war, your brain will never be the same and memories of the horrible past will live on with you. 

The third and last thing I noticed is that because of the crazy timeline and crazy events happening and how the war scenes fit in perfectly, it’s almost like Kurt is showing us that war is just as crazy as the sci-fi parts in the book. I have never experienced war and considering how the war events fit in well with the sci-fi parts it makes me imagine that war is a truly insane and crazy thing that has happened throughout all of history.

(Im so tired)

Slaughterhouse-Five Personal Response

After reading Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, I understood the importance of narrative techniques. This book is confusing from beginning to end, however, the author makes a unique effect of bringing this confusion to think about different perspectives of life and society through the narrative technique. The narrative technique and the use of words raises questions about true opinions from society through characters and irrationality.

The author uses a narrative technique where there is not a normal chronology and there is not a normal relationship between the author and characters. The chronology represents all the events with sci-fi and characters with a sense of being unstuck in time. The relationship between the author and the characters raises questions of what a character really is and represents.

I think that having important true historic events brings a unique role for characters to represent true opinions of society with the author inside the story. Having stereotypes and sci-fi with no rational interpretation, raises questions about reality, if it makes it more realistic or distracts from reality. War is a sensitive topic as people are affected by it, bringing this topic with characters and sci-fi can give us an idea of how rationality affects our way of thinking and the different perspectives of what is important in society. Vonnegut brings the idea of true opinions of society that is controversial, accepting the things how they are or being able to change things in society.

Vonnegut also brings the idea of humans being machines through the ideas of Tralfamadorian and being unstuck in time. It explains how everything is determined and if something is different or unique, it must be removed. It raises questions about our real purpose in life and how society live to work or work to live. It made me realize how society has not changed, how it still divides society into enemies and stereotypes.

The narrative technique brings confusion into a deeper thought of the purpose of life and society around the world. Vonnegut bringing this narrative technique and register makes it more interesting to think about every detail and its true meaning with relation to  lifetime.


Slaughterhouse Five

Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut, fits the description of MacKnight’s favorite saying to describe a good novel: “Great literature raises questions, it does not answer them,” and that is all this book did, raise questions. Throughout the entirety of the novel, I was left somewhat confused and bedazzled by the form of Vonnegut’s writing. It was tied together in a purposeful way, and the writing made different readers question similar things. Vonnegut also wrote in such a way that readers of differing political viewpoints could still read and enjoy the novel, whilst realizing the stark significance of it. Although Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five was confusing, I did enjoy the questions that it brought to mind.  

The idea of being unstuck in time was difficult for me to grasp at first, partially due to my different viewpoint, and partially because despite Vonnegut’s best efforts, I still read in a linear way, so the writing was consistently portrayed in one direction. This being said, Vonnegut did an excellent job bringing the reader’s attention back to past experiences by using the same uncommon phrases like “mustard gas and roses,” etc. Vonnegut also wrote in a linear way through Billy, writing about his life, but mixing up the order in which he experienced some things. 

It is made clear from chapter one that Vonnegut is writing this book to portray the reality (in the most unreal sense) of war. He ties the seemingly fictional aspects like the Trafalmadorians in with the very stark real aspects of the novel. Vonnegut seems to do this to demonstrate the absurdity of war, demonstrating how the soldiers are just regular people like everybody else, he shows that there is nothing heroic about fighting in a war. Vonnegut ties the confusion of the novel in with his own life experiences, referencing himself. Vonnegut wrote this novel in a way that the reader questions if it is a tale of hallucinations, PTSD, and coping mechanisms, or if it’s a semi-fictional novel with some of that tied in. I prefer the latter idea, that Vonnegut wrote intentionally so that the reader would question the information being presented and its fictional and realistic qualities, leading them to inquire on why war happens and so on. Billy, the protagonist, wanders around WWII, seemingly unfazed by the destruction and absurdities of war. This is done artfully, allowing the reader to think deeper about the war that Billy is observing. Billy is depicted as wearing a silly fur coat with silver boots, this ridiculous costume in a time of war makes a laughingstock of him and the other soldiers. From chapter one Vonnegut makes it clear that this would be an anti-war book and he continues to prove this by his satirical writing on the soldiers, and the references to a child’s crusade, and the innocent deaths of Dresden. 


Slaughterhouse Five Personal Response

If anything, Slaughterhouse Five was a roller coaster of strange, happy and sad moments all bundled up together that forms an almost incomprehensible piece of writing, if not, straight up does not make sense at all, for the majority of the time. However, maybe it really was the author’s intention, that things do not have to make sense, this was evident through Vonnegut usage of the Tralfamadorians imagery, which leads to various effects on readers, such as a shift in understanding of the plot, the humor and the nature of reality.

The Tralfamadorians are, put in simplest term, interesting to discuss because when compared to other books that we have read so far, hardly anything can replicate this kind of solution to this feeling of senselessness when we read Slaughterhouse Five. If any person is handed any book to read, one logical answer is to flip the book from back to front, read the words closely and make some significant sense out of it, logically or metaphorically. Vonnegut does not seem to go with this flow in this regard, instead, he threw the readers into the messy world that he created in the book then leave us be. So naturally if one follows their own instinctual instruction, they will eventually run up a dead end if they try to make sense out of everything in the book. However, it is at that point that the Tralfamadorians will do their job: to remind us that everything happens just do. “‘…Why you? Why us for that matter? Why anything? Because this moment simply is.‘” (page 76-77) It creates a contrast between being given a compass to navigate in a incomprehensible world. So, the plot became not a puzzle to solve anymore, but something to be admired or embraced, then the story of Billy Pilgrim became an adventure with no guaranteed what will happen, then an anti-war book became a book before it is anti-war.

The effect is then the same on his humour, what made something funny was only that it was funny, or rather, absurd. “Billy coughed when the door was open and when he coughed he shit thin gruel. This was in accordance with the Third Law of Motion according to Sir Isaac Newton. This law tells us that for every action there is a reaction which is equal and opposite in direction. This can be useful in rocketry.” (page 80) What stood out here was that Isaac Newton had no relation in the overarching story of Bill Pilgrim, yet he was mentioned at the same time Billy was in a dire situation in the middle of an escort to prison. As a result, the joke gave me a sense of disturb and comfort at the same time, which I do not know if I should have been laughing at all or find this funny in the first place.

Speaking of absurdity, the Tralfamdorians lens, at the same time, is quite similar to Albert Camus’ take on the meaning of life: Absurdism. It argues that in the face of finding meaning to life, there might no meaning at all. Then, we must wonder how much of our life is so different from Billy: we are born into this world without permission, having to navigate with only so many tools we have in our disposal and we can somehow try to be hopeful in spite of it all. Therefore, we are in no difference with Sisyphus, trying to roll up a boulder then to only let it drop down the bottom again. “One must imagine Sisyphus happy.” well said and quoted from Camus.

Overall, I do not find the Tralfamdorian view to be new or eye-opening as I have been familiarized with Absurdism before, so I was able to made a strong recognition when I first encountered this idea. However, seeing it appear in a book certainly pleases me and gave me a comfort in blitzing through the book and really just immerse myself in it. I still have many unsetting thoughts about this book that have yet been formulated into words, but as said from Ceasar A Cruz, “Art should comfort the disturb and disturb the comfortable.” To this, I say Slaughterhouse Five is a true testament to this quote.

So it goes.

Personal Response to Vonnegut’s “Slaughter House Five”

After reading slaughterhouse five I was left confused and questioning a lot of what this book talks about. Kurt Vonnegut’s writing technique creates a storm of ideas and random points in the story. Slaughterhouse five did not have a linear plot, it didn’t really have a plot at all. The story is riddled with time and jumps through strange and random moments in the life of the strange and random character “Billy Pilgrim”. I believe this craziness of the story is what really helps the reader to understand (ironically) and really think critically about their own lives and mentalities.


Vonnegut has no general direction in his story, Billy is constantly jumping around the different stages of his life, and often times we witness traumatic and normally life-disrupting events for other people, but Billy goes through all the craziness with this strange very subtle monotone humor and it doesn’t seem to really affect him to the extent that a normal person would. This really made me think because personally some of these events would alter the direction or some aspect of my life, but Vonnegut made these events seem so insignificant in the greater span of life with the “tralfamadorian” idea that we are experiencing every moment of our lives always. This simply added to all the craziness because it’s very hard to wrap your head around a concept like this. 


The crazy and senseless story affected me personally and really raised some questions for me because I had to be complacent with the fact that there wasn’t really an “ending” (at least a typical one in literature), to this book.  I believe this crazy and random story had this effect because this book helps to illustrate what life is really like for humans, we act like everything is so normal when really what is going on in the world is just craziness. Us humans don’t want to come to terms that we are all going to die one day yet we let ourselves plague the world with global warming, wars, violence, and discrimination, and all without or with very little intervention when there is intervention it is most often just the addition of violence. This is what the “tralfamadorian” philosophy and the utter craziness of this book made me really think about. 


The “tralfamadorians” represent a perfect society that is almost directly opposite to human society. You can argue that tralfamadorians do have violence/wars, but they do not try to justify the violence or anything they believe they do not have free will and what happens will happen. I do not believe that this is a “perfect” way to think though. I do think however that it is a much more rational view on things than those that humans think, Billy is constantly criticized and called crazy for his views. Billy’s philosophy is so much simpler than the human society which I think is why it’s so un-accepted. The only thing that would make sense in the crazy book about this crazy world would be a crazy philosophy about the craziest things that humans experience. For that reason, I believe Kurt Vonnegut’s writing technique was very powerful and really helps the reader to inquire about the human nature and flaws that we all have because it allows you to read how crazy our world really is without being written about a real person. I know this response is very jumbled but it is hard to write a straightforward response about a book that is backwards.

My thoughts on: Slaughterhouse-Five

Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-five was quite overwhelming to read. It took time to get used to the concept of being “unstuck in time” I found it confusing that he is in Dresden as a prisoner of war, and then suddenly he is back to the future or back in time. I often had to remind myself that Billy is not Vonnegut and that some of his experiences are fiction; this made it hard for me to differentiate between Vonnegut’s actual experiences, such as hiding in the meat locker during the bombing and the fiction portion of the book. This made me wonder where his random imagination originated. Vonnegut’s unique way of mixing an autobiography and science fiction was occasionally hard to make sense of and comprehend, especially at the start of the book. However, as I kept reading, the random bits of information from his time travelling presented at the beginning of the book slowly started to make sense. I gradually got used to the non-chronological way of storytelling Vonnegut used and how billy and the Tralfalmadorians view life.
I enjoyed reading this book more than the other books we read in class. Vonnegut’s humorous way of writing his own experiences in the war was something I had never read before. At first, it confused me why Vonnegut used a very neutral phrase, “So it goes,” whenever Billy encountered death because death is generally a negative and upsetting event. As I kept reading, I noticed the number of times Billy had to come across somebody’s death and the repetition of the phrase. I noticed that this was his way of facing death rather than accepting it.
The way Vonnegut was able to write this book in a humourous way, even though it discusses serious topics, made it easy for people to read about an upsetting topic. I liked how this book made me think about many genres and not only about war. Vonnegut succeeded in including science fiction, psychology and many other genres that a regular anti-war book would not include. In the first chapter, when Vonnegut visits his old war buddy (p 11), Bernard V. O’Hare, Vonnegut meets O’Hare’s wife, Mary. Mary exclaims that she does not want Vonnegut to portray war as a glamorous event because of her anxiety about losing her children in war. Vonnegut promises that his book will not become one of the movies that are “war-loving” (p 15). Vonnegut succeeds in doing as promised, making the book anti-war.
Trying to understand Billy’s time travelling and the Tralfalmadorian wisdom was a struggle initially as it was very out of the ordinary. Towards the end of the book, I was able to appreciate the Tralfalmadorian perspective on life. For example, they view life and death as indestructible and how Tralmalmadorians ignore the negative and focus on the positive. Billy admired the Tralfalmadorians and wanted humans to become more like them so that humans would stop desiring to become better than everyone and that it would not result in war. Vonnegut’s use of Tralfalmador and the Tralfalmadorians showed his desire to want the real world to become more like how life is on their planet. It successfully showed how hostile humans can be while still making it enjoyable for the audience to read. Overall, I enjoyed this book because it was something I had never read before, and it was enjoyable even though it was about a depressing topic.

Slaughterhouse Five – Personal Response

To me, personally, the novel “Slaughterhouse Five” by Kurt Vonnegut took some time to get used to. The first couple of pages I was extremely confused and could not really follow the timeline, until eventually I had adjusted to Vonnegut’s chosen form of writing: basing his novel on time-jumps. No more than two pages at a time focus on ongoings in one time era and so following the main character Billy’s thoughts, feelings and experiences was struggling. 

I however eventually really got to enjoy this form of writing due to an increase in tension and an enhancement in shown character development. Stopping the plot in a certain time-jump abruptly and only continuing further a paragraph or even a few pages later, kept my interest and tension ongoing and strong. It led me to explore the meaning of these interruptions continuously and understand the author’s intention through the meaning of said time-jumps. Also, watching Billy’s character development over time was extremely crucial in understanding his behaviours and actions in the present. If the whole storyline would have just been based in the Dresden war, I don’t think any reader could’ve understood what was happening. The way time-jumps and the form of writing aligned, therefore made it seem like they were symmetric poetry – watching Billy unpack his past, immediately made sense in the present, as well as the future. What made it seem so connected and natural, was that throughout the different stages, there was always one thing that was similar or the same in other stages of the story. For example, the three words “So it goes..” were always used when describing that someone had died, no matter what time era the storyline was in. This type of repetition allowed everything to come together and make it seem like it had only been one time era all along. It was essentially what made Billy from being stuck in time, transform into infinite possibilities and being unstuck in time.

Overall, though, I can definitely say that I am impressed with how Vonnegut managed to make his content fully match up with his style of writing. He was able to not only capture the key difference time-jumps can make in learning as much as possible about one narration, but also allow readers to fantasize and possibly identify themselves within all levels of the story.

Slaughterhouse 5 PR

I noticed a few things when reading Slaughterhouse 5. For one, Kurt Vonnegut uses repetition throughout the whole book. Every time there is a mention of death, most commonly someone dying, Vonnegut writes “so it goes”. This makes the book come together more as a lot of it is random and confusing. It kind of gains the focus of the reader again after likely being lost. This statement after every death is more of a Tralfamadorian perspective whose existence we must accept and move on. 

 Slaughterhouse 5 is an extremely confusing book, but I learned to not take anything that happens or is said literally. The literal mindset will just confuse the reader more. One must go with it and take a more Tralfamadorian perspective that whatever happened just happens and that is it. In the first half of the book, I found myself quite confused and constantly questioning any timeline that the book might have. The writer would always bring up these situations that Billy Pilgrim found himself in but never really explained them or described them in detail. As I got to the end of the book these memories were brought up again in a form of repetition. This helped me piece together the extent of the novel which can be pieced together.  

These random memories of the life of Billy Pilgrim were quite humorous. I began to refer to some of them as “Kurt Vonnegut humour.” The way that Billy’s wife Valencia died is an example of “Kurt Vonnegut humour”. She gets in a car crash but does not die from this, she keeps driving and dies of carbon monoxide poisoning that was released because she lost her muffler which was a result of the crash. Kurt Vonnegut’s humour is random and catches the reader off guard, making it funny. 

 There are so many random statements and moments that the reader just must go along with to enjoy them. On one of the last pages, Vonnegut writes the most random statement. “There were barricades on the main roads leading into the ruins. Germans were stopped there. They were not permitted the explore the moon.” P. 213. In the paragraph before the writer writes how they were visiting Dresden. This is an example of a random statement that I somehow smiled at. Once again, not questioning these things is the key to enjoying this novel.

 In conclusion, going along with random memories and ideologies is a way to enjoy this novel. It seems like Kurt Vonnegut had fun writing this novel. Even if one does not fully understand the Tralfamadorian perspective one must read the novel with that viewpoint to make the most of it.

My thoughts about Kurt Vonnegut’s book “Slaughterhouse-Five”

I am having trouble keeping up with the book. Billy’s way of looking at life isn’t the way I look at life. I tried to change the way I looked at, it just for this time.

Billy can look at his whole life, the bad parts and good parts, and he is still happy with the life he got. One of the problems I find with my point of view, is what Ben and Coen call “freewill”. If I could see my future I would try to change it as much as possible, just to experiment. And the fact that Billy is able to see his death over and over again means he is immortal, do not get me wrong, he does die, but he does come back to another time period of his life. However, Billy seems awfully happy with his time travelling.

The question this book gives me is that: if you could see your whole life ahead of you, without any way of changing it, are you happier? I think Vonnegut has also thought about this too, of how he could make a child-like character entangled in the war; happy. Although the book would have been a lot more depressing without the time travelling. Think about it, how different the book would have been if the unstuck in time would not exist. I feel that Vonnegut did not write the book in his point of view because, he did not want to experience war again, so he made a fantasy-type book, with things that would happen very rarely in life and just give them all to one person.

If I was Vonnegut I would of written the book to scape the reality of war. To move on from the nightmare that it was. Like I said a couple of classes before, I am unable to find this book as a real life story, even though some of the bits are actually true. But with “The Color Purple”, by Alice Walker, I found it extremely difficult to tell myself that it was not a real story. And that is why I think that Vonnegut did it that way, so that not even himself would believe this was half a true story. Also that he is jealous of Billy, I have no evidence to back up my data but also no doubts, because he can be in a bunk bed one day, and the other at home with his wife, in other words because he did not have to suffer as much in the war.

My thoughts of this book are all over the place, and I think that by now you have probably noticed that. I have so many thoughts and ideas that I cannot put into words, I find it difficult to do so, in my mind they make sense, but as soon as I write them down, they all become gibberish and I think a couple slipped here. The one last comment I have is that: I am also jealous of Billy’s happiness, the fact that he can be hopeful at the war because he knows tomorrow is going to be a different time and place where he most probably be happy because of that same reason. What I am trying to say is that, I like Billy’s hope and I wish I had that.