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Book Discussions > Slaughterhouse-Five

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message 2: by Andy (new)

Andy (andywolverton) | 3 comments The Guys Book Club at the Severna Park Library will be discussing this book on Tuesday, December 16, 2014 at 7:00pm.


message 3: by AACPL (new)

AACPL Anne Arundel Public Library | 180 comments Mod
Hello and welcome to this month's discussion of Kurt Vonnegut's novel, "Slaughterhouse-Five," My name is Jason and I will be hosting the discussion.

Just to give some background on the novel, it is semi-autobiographical as Vonnegut was captured at the Battle of the Bulge in WWII as a POW, like Billy Pilgrim, and held in Dresden, Germany where the United States and British Air Forces dropped 3,900 tons of bombs and incendiary devices on the city in 1945. An estimated 25,000 people were killed and the bombings have been considered controversial as many believe they were unnecessary this late in the war because the German forces were retreating. Dresden was where many civilians had gone as Allied forces were invading Germany. It is said that the bombings were ordered by Winston Churchill as retaliation of the German bombings in Coventry, England in 1940 through 1942.

To get the discussion started, what are some of your favorite or most memorable scenes and quotes from the novel? I look forward to your responses!


message 4: by Jenna (new)

Jenna | 3 comments I have already read this book for school. It was last year though, so i remember it fairly well. It was a pretty good read, but i think it would have been better if i hadn't read it for school. I had to analyze it in painful detail which made appreciating the style difficult. I will probably read it again in a year or so and see if I can change my feelings about it


message 5: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (viaggiatrice) | 70 comments Mod
That's a good plan! Sometimes a few years distance makes a huge difference anyway. I remember hating Brave New World the first time I read it (in high school), but when I read it again for college I understood it on a whole new level.

Jenna wrote: "I have already read this book for school. It was last year though, so i remember it fairly well. It was a pretty good read, but i think it would have been better if i hadn't read it for school. I h..."


message 6: by AACPL (new)

AACPL Anne Arundel Public Library | 180 comments Mod
What do you think Vonnegut is trying to say in the novel with the quote, "So it goes," that appears after every mention of death whether it be natural, accidental, or tragic?


message 7: by AACPL (new)

AACPL Anne Arundel Public Library | 180 comments Mod
I think the repeated quote of, "So it goes," reflects both Vonnegut and Billy's attitude towards death as something that will happen regardless of what we do. It also illustrates an acceptance of their and others fate as well.

On the other hand, it can also be viewed as commentary by Vonnegut on his opposition to blind acceptance towards violence and cruelty. The novel was published in 1969 during the height of the Vietnam War and many of these themes opposing violence and war are explored throughout the novel.


What are some scenes or quotes from the novel that could be Vonnegut criticizing the harsh realities of war? Does he believe war to be absurd? Would you consider this an absurdist novel?


message 8: by Carlotta (new)

Carlotta (ccapuano) | 2 comments Vonnegut's use of the bird asking "Poo-tee-weet?" highlights the idea that there is nothing intelligent to be said about war. It could be argued that Vonnegut felt the question "Is war necessary?" as unanswerable and ridiculous as "Poo-tee-weet?"


message 9: by ally (new)

ally (ally_b) "There are almost no characters in this story, and almost no dramatic confrontation, because most of the people in it are so sick and so much the listless playthings of enormous forces. One of the main effects of war, after all, is that people are discouraged from being characters."

I notice there aren't a lot of posts for this book discussion. Maybe because it's so intimidating - easy to read but hard to explain. (English teachers love it because it covers so many issues and there's so many possible themes and details). The narrator himself had a hard time with writing it - that perhaps because of the war and his experiences in it - he too was discouraged by his own helplessness and inability to remember or do anything to change.


message 10: by Gail (new)

Gail Schumacher | 62 comments The reason I haven't posted anything here about the book has NOTHING to do with the subject of the book---I haven't read it yet---I checked it out this month, but I've been too busy with work this past month to read anything but the daily newspaper---plus I haven't finished reading the October Challenge yet (The Big Book Of Maryland Ghost Stories---I thought those true ghosts were scary until I started reading A Child Called It trilogy---a true child abuse incident from 1960's-1970's California).


message 11: by Gail (new)

Gail Schumacher | 62 comments I'll be reading Slaughterhouse 5 when I finish the ghost stories book---because both are due 12/10/14 wed.


message 12: by AACPL (new)

AACPL Anne Arundel Public Library | 180 comments Mod
Thanks to all of you for your posts!

If you enjoyed "Slaughterhouse-Five," check out Vonnegut's novel, "Breakfast of Champions."


message 13: by Maribel (new)

Maribel Ibrahim | 5 comments Gail wrote: "The reason I haven't posted anything here about the book has NOTHING to do with the subject of the book---I haven't read it yet---I checked it out this month, but I've been too busy with work this..."

I remember being in a bookstore quite a few years ago and reading "A Child Called It". I was so mesmerized that I finished the whole book in that one standing, instead of browsing around.


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