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Novel Satire

Slaughterhouse-
Married
Five
Author Year Published Original Language
Kurt Vonnegut 1969 English

OVERVIEW

Damage from Billy Pilgrim returns from World War II to a comfortable life and loving
family, but the damage is already done. Unable to reconnect with his life,
War Lasts Billy has become “unstuck” in time and bounces from one decade to

Forever another, reliving moments of his life, unable to control where he will end
up next.

1922
Billy Pilgrim
is born in
1944
Ilium, NY. Billy goes to the
Battle of the Bulge;
he’s captured by
German troops.
1945
As a POW, Billy
witnesses the 1948
Dresden bombing Billy reads science
and a fellow fiction while in a
soldier’s execution. psychiatric hospital.

1948
After his release, 1967
Billy graduates from Billy is abducted by
optometry school the Tralfamadorians
and marries Valencia. after his daughter’s
wedding.

1968
Billy is injured, 1968
and Valencia Billy tries to tell
dies in her rush the world about
to the hospital. Tralfamadore.

Themes Main Characters


Comrade Abducts Married

Materialism
Roland Weary Edgar Derby
Wealth is an inadequate cure for Violent bully; captured Soldier executed after
psychological trauma. with Billy Dresden bombing

Time

All moments of time and Billy Pilgrim


experience influence all other Optometrist, family man,
moments. and former soldier

War Valencia Pilgrim Tralfamadorians


Billy’s devoted wife Aliens; abduct Billy and display
Violent, traumatic conflicts him in their zoo
between unprepared individuals
leave indelible marks.

Author Slaughterhouse-Five
by the Numbers

Vonnegut was an American


author and satirist whose 22
career spanned 50 years and
all genres. Slaughterhouse-Five Vonnegut’s age when
is based on his experiences as he was captured by
a prisoner of war in World War the Germans in World
II, in which he witnessed the War II
Allied bombing of Dresden.

KURT VONNEGUT 106


1922–2007
Times “So it goes” is

Symbols repeated in the text

~25,000
Teapot
People killed in the
Represents the absurdity
Allied bombing of
of wartime events
Dresden, Germany,
in 1945

1945
Diamond
Year Vonnegut won
Symbolizes the tiny reward Billy a purple heart “for
receives for a lifetime of trauma frost-bite,” in his
words

Zoo

Embodies a skewed vision of


American life

mong the things Billy Pilgrim could not change


were the past, the present, and the future.
Narrator, Chapter 3

Sources: Der Spiegel, Encyclopaedia Britannica,


Kurt Vonnegut: Letters, New York Times, PEN America

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