North American Postmodern Fiction and Film, Spring 2000
 Image of the author
The author's doubles
Presentation of 
World War II
Dark Comedy: "So it goes."
Billy Pilgrim after the war
Science-fiction elements

Timeline: (important  references to dates: pp. 23, 58
1922 (birth in Ilium) 
 Grand Canyon experience
1944 (arrested)/ 
unstuck in time;
set up in business (optometry)
1945 discharged  1957  Lion's Club 
elected president (p. 49; 50)
1965  BP's mother: 
"How do I get to be so old?"
1966 in Zoo; 
dozing, forgetful; 
smiling in his car, Lion's Club speech about Vietnam, 
1968 plane crash  1976 2/13 B's death

I. Image of the author:

  The author and the war: 
  • self-image -- title page; trafficker in climaxes p. 6; Yon Yonson 7; wife with baby fat p. 7; as a reporter 9; 
  • Why write --  1. Dresden, worse than Hiroshima, but not much publicity p. 10; 
  • memory useless
        • anti-war being anti-glacier, or anti-death 3-4
        • O'Hare's wife: books encouraging wars 15
        • the past according the GE; how about the present 18
        • Lot's wife looking back
    1. preparation to write: 1. the title, Children's Crusade 15
        1. arranging climax and plots p. 5;
        2. ending 5-6
        3. to the publisher 19 --nothing intelligent to say about a massacre; writing done, short and jumbled
      II. The war
    A) irrationality and cruelty
    irrationality Children's Crusade; "all the real soldiers are dead" 159
    Edgar Derby, old school teacher;

    cruelty/inhumanity Roland Weary  -- and Iron Maiden 35; his equipment 39-40; his narrow vision 41-42; revengeful 79

    --Lazzaro's revenge 84; 139
    -- Weary's torture
    civilian soldier and humanity
    * just babies p. 14
    * the trip to Dresden--the carts that carry the POW 67-69; 70; becoming babies 75
    * delousing 83 and bathing--in the prison and as a baby 84-85

    --bombing, POW's experience  <--> spooning the syrup 160-161  "I suppose they all want dignity"

    B) Billy --  after the battle of the Bulge 32-33
    --the German farmers as soldiers 52

    humanity and Nature--"I suppose they all want dignity"; spooning the syrup 160-161

    bird's "Poo-tee-wee"

    C). heroism, myth vs. reality

    --the Three Musketeers-- the commander and his golden boots,53 (--Cinderella myth)

    --Wild Bob's heroism

    --the trip to Dresden

    D) the images of the Americans, the Englishmen and Germans
    the Americans' river of humiliation 64; the English POW stylish, reasonable, fun 94

    Howard Campbell 162; boundary 144 familiar since childhood

    E) un-representable--reality unbearable
    no characters 164
    "It was like a dream" 121

    III. Dark comedy:

      life¡XA. So it goes.
      1. Billy in a constant state of stage fright
      2. The moment simply is. We are all bugs in amber. 86
      Billy's life¡X
      Tralfalmadore 26-27 // the Earth's similar activity 31; the kidnapping moment¡Xseeing the movie forward and backward¡X1967 a building on T
    Why me?  77 T's novel 88

    (Kilgore¡XThe Gospel from Outer Space) 108-109¡Xdon't kill people with good connections

    five sexes on T, seven on earth 114
    prediction about the future 141; U.S. balkanized, Chicago--hydrogen-bombed 142

    ¡@IV. Tralfamadore--

    all moments exist simultaneously, hence nothing can be done to change the past or the future

    death--in a bad condition at that moment

    the moment simply is 77; no why

    human beings as millepedes 87; their view of our concept of time 115

    in their zoo 111--his life in the zoo, think nothing of the Gay Nineties couple on the wall; happy with his body 113

    "We spend eternity looking at the peaceful moment" 117

    "Everything was Beautiful and Nothing Hurts" 122

    Montana Wildhack 132

    interest in Darwin 210

    Slaughterhouse V Rumford Tralfamadore Kilgore
    1. as a historical metafiction
    a. war

    no hero, anti-glacier, nothing intelligent ¡VDresden deaths 135,000

  • metafictional elements
  • 183-


    ¡@ ¡@
    1. as a science fiction
    science fiction & Rosewater 101

    his response to T: 211-12

    Rosewater's sympathy 102-3; 

    102-mother makes him feel guilty for not liking life

    25; 26-27--time

    "all time is all time." "It simply is"

    --concept of time and their novels 88

    "everything is beautiful and nothing hurts"

    "bugs in amber" 86

    five sexes on T, seven on earth 114; end of Univ.,

    ignore the awful times 117

    BP's use of it 135

    from Ilium 111

    Fourth Dimension 104

    The Gospel from Outer Space 108-109;

    Money Tree 167

    Gutless wonder 168-(halitosis, drop gasoline bombs)

    happy and loud 170

    view about fiction 171

    about time machine 202

    Big Board¡Xabout kidnap 201

    3. Nature -- Billy cries for the horse 197,
    the bird's "Poo-tee-weet?"; spooning syrup, 
    161 ongoing lives (births) in need of dignity.
    ¡@ ¡@ ¡@


    Relevant Links:

    War and Literature: Some Examples of Related Issues; Reasons and Consequences in the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam civil war

    Dresden & The Bombing of Dresden:

      The Culture of Dresden, including an informative history tour, which the two photos below are from.

    View from the tower of the City Hall 1945 (source)

      Historical Analysis of the 14-15 February 1945 Bombings of Dresden - from the United States Air Force History Support Office.
      Truth About the 1945 Bombing of Dresden - subjective memory of the event.
      Was the Bombing of Dresden Justifiable?

    Clearing the ruins on Neumarkt square (source)

      Destruction of Dresden, destruction of Vonnegut's dream       Brittany Dunstan     - A reasearch paper on the affects of WWII on KV's writing, especially Slaughterhouse-Five.
      The themes of Slaughterhouse-Five  Marek Vit

      Synchronicity between parallel plot lines in Slaughterhouse-Five'   Cortney Joseph Fusco
                     - Kurt Vonnegut's universal acclaim and appeal surely comes in no small part from his gift for connecting, almost unnoticiably, seemingly unrelated objects and events to give them deeper meaning, creating a phenomenon known within Jungian circles as synchronicity.

      So It Goes   Leslie Phillips
                       - An overview of various things such as themes, symbols, metaphors, etc. in Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five. It stresses the idea of predestination throughout the text.

      The Use of Fragmentation in Slaughterhouse-Five  Jason Dawley
                     - An essay analyzing the structure of Slaughterhouse-Five.

       More Essays on Kurt Vonnegut Essay Collection