Sunday, March 21, 2010

Slaughterhouse - Five Discussion Questions

1. Why does Vonnegut choose to write a "jumbled and jangled" war book?
  • to represent the confused and disastrous nature of war
  • to represent the disruptiveness of the war on the lives of the soldiers that fought in it
2. What is the significance of the phrase "so it goes"?
  • reflects a kind of comfort in the Tralfamadorian idea that although a person may be dead in a particular moment, he or she is alive in all the other moments of their life
  • the repetition of the phrase points out the tragic inevitability of death
3. What is significant of the bird cry "poo-tee-weet"?
  • symbolizes the lack of anything intelligent to say about war
  • is as appropriate a thing to say as anything, since no words can really describe the horror of the Dresden firebombing
4. List the major themes of Slaughterhouse-Five.
  • the destructiveness of war
  • the illusion of free will, or free will versus fatalism
  • the importance of sight
  • for elaboration, see sparknotes
5. How does Vonnegut use time to communicate his themes?
  • the absence of order of time might represent the disruptive nature of war or the state of mind of the soldiers after they witness the horrors of war
  • represents the illogical nature of human beings thinking that they are confined to the rules of time, which is shown in the Tralfamadorian philosophy