Novels
    "That which is written without effort is generally read without pleasure."  
    Samuel Smith
 
Reader's and Writer's Forum
Dresden, Deutschland 
Slaughterhouse-Five 
or 
The Children's Crusade 
A DUTY DANCE WITH DEATH 
BY 
Kurt Vonnegut 
A FOURTH-GENERATION GERMAN-AMERICAN 
NOW LIVING IN EASY CIRCUMSTANCES 
ON CAPE COD 
(AND SMOKING TOO MUCH) 
WHO, AS AN AMERICAN INFANTRY SCOUT 
HORS DE COMBAT 
AS A PRISONER OF WAR, 
WITNESSED THE FIRE-BOMBING 
OF DRESDEN, GERMANY, 
"THE FLORENCE OF THE ELBE," 
A LONG TIME AGO, 
AND SURVIVED TO TELL THE TALE. 
THIS IS A NOVEL SOMEWHAT IN THE TELEGRAPHIC SCHIZOPHRENIC 
MANNER OF TALES 
OF THE PLANET TRAFALAMADORE, 
WHERE THE FLYING SAUCERS 
COME FROM. 
PEACE.
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About Kurt Vonnegut 

Kurt Vonnegut is one of America's most poignant writers. Nearly a quarter of a century passed between the night Kurt Vonnegut survived the firebombing of Dresden in WWII and the publication of his fictional account of that event. Slaughterhouse Five.  As K. Vonnegut says, "It seemed a categorical imperative that I write about Dresden, the firebombing of Dresden, since it was the largest massacre in the history of Europe and I am a person of European extraction and I, a writer, had been present.  I had to say something about it."  

He is a master of contemporary American Literature. 

 
Read the book and then perhaps respond to these questions in our Forum. Or perhaps you can post a question of your own. 
Questions for readers: (page numbers refer to the Dell edition)
1.  What is the meaning behind "and so it goes"? 
2.  Why does Vonnegut call himself a "pillar of salt"? 
3.  Relate Billyís first experience with swimming to his efforts as a soldier. 
4.  Compare pages 7 and 73. What do these commonalties suggest? 
5.  Compare the description of Tralfamadorian literature (p. 88) and Vonnegutís novel. 
6.  What do you think is the significance of the drawings included in Slaughterhouse-Five? Are they interrelated somehow?  
7.  What is the significance of the backwards movie? (p.74)  
8.  What is the most important thing Billy learned from the Tralfamadorians? What impact does this have on the novel? (p. 26-27)  
9. Why was Billy not moved to protest the bombing of N. Vietnam? (p.60)  
10.  What attitude and/or aspects of society does Roland Weary represent?  
11. How are Kilgore Troutís stories related to what happened to Billy or to our society?  
12.  How is Billy a Christ figure?  
13.  "Well, here we are, Mr. Pilgrim, trapped in the amber of this moment. There is no why." (p.76-77). What meaning does the bug in amber have to the rest of the story? 
 
Tips on reading the book: 

You may find it helpful to read about the bombing campaigns of both the Allied and Axis forces during the Second World War, and the American bombing raids of Vietnam and the Gulf War. Think about what was gained and lost for both sides.