Chamblee54

Slaughterhouse-Five Part One

Posted in Book Reports, Library of Congress, War by chamblee54 on July 24, 2015

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In the first part of Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut goes to Dresden, East Germany. He rides in a taxi. The mother of the taxi driver died in the Allied bombing raid on Dresden, Germany. KV says “so it goes” on page 2, as a reaction to this information. The eight letters were a stand alone sentence .

This is the beginning of a chamblee54 reaction to Slaughterhouse-Five, hereafter known as SF. When PG reads a book by KV, the style of writing takes over. PG begins to think like KV writes, which is not necessarily a bad thing. This series should be easy to write, and hopefully not too tough to read. The idea is to stop reading, and start writing, every time KV says “So it goes.” This will be abbreviated as SIG. That is four abbreviations, and should be enough.

Soon after the taxi ride, KV is talking to a man. The subject is a book KV is writing about Dresden. “Is it an anti-war book?” “Yes, I guess” “Why don’t you write an anti-glacier book instead?” This conversation took place around 1967, or 48 years ago. With the Vietnam conflict escalating, anti-war stuff was popular. What few could have foreseen was the 2015 reality. War is just as painful, profitable, and prevalent as ever. Glaciers, on the other hand, are starting to melt. The pen may be mightier than the sword, but 350 ppm carbon dioxide has them both whipped.

SIG002 is on page 6. A rabid American has a quart of jewels, stolen off the dead of Dresden. SIG003 is on page 9. A man gets his wedding ring caught in an elevator, and is crushed to death by an automobile. It didn’t make much sense.

Years ago, a couple of years after the first reading of SF, PG worked at a department store called Davisons. They had these fabulous freight elevators, which you controlled by turning a brass knob. If wanted to go up, you turned left. If you wanted it to go down, you turned right. One of these elevators used to have a wooden gate in front of it. One day, a man stuck his head in the shaft to see if the elevator was coming. The elevator car cut his head off. The blood stains remained, between the third and fourth floors of the number 10 elevator.

PG first read SF a few years before working at Davisons. It was a tacky paperback. The current version is a deluxe, hard back, 25th anniversary edition. It has a new introduction, where KV calls George Will an owlish nitwit. PG remembers a conversation KV had with someone who was not pleased about another war book, thinking it would make killing seem glamorous.

Not to worry, the conversation is in chapter 1. KV promises that there would be no role for Frank Sinatra, or John Wayne, in the movie based on his book. This is ironic. For all of their tough guy posturing, neither Mr. Wayne nor Mr. Sinatra served in World War II.

After the conversation we have SIG004 on page 20. It has something to do with Sodom and Gomorrah. A few sentences later, Lot’s wife, who evidently had a job description but no name, was turned into a pillar of salt, thus begetting SIG005. This is more or less the end of chapter 1. The story of SF, such as it is, begins with the first line of chapter 2. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. The men shown were Union Soldiers, in the War Between the States.

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6 Responses

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  1. […] is part two of an excavation of Slaughterhouse-Five, a story by Kurt Vonnegut. Part one has already been published. Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia […]

  2. […] to part three of the Vonnegutian excavation of Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut. Parts one and two have already been published. Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, […]

  3. […] is part four of a Vonnegutian appreciation of Slaughterhouse-Five. Parts one, two, and three are already available for your amusement. This segment will deal exclusively with […]

  4. […] of the chamblee54 modification and reconstruction of Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut. Parts one, two, three, and four have already been published. Pictures are from “The Special Collections […]

  5. […] of the chamblee54 disposable dissertation on Slaughterhouse-Five, a novel by Kurt Vonnegut. Parts one, two, three, four, and five are available for viewing, and gentle criticism. Pictures today are from […]

  6. […] retrospective of Kurt Vonnegut’s anti glacier classic, Slaughterhouse-Five. Parts one, two, three, four, five, and six have already seen the light of day. This installment will cover […]


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