Slaughterhouse-Five Part Six

Posted in Book Reports, GSU photo archive, History, War by chamblee54 on August 9, 2015

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This is part six 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 “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

This is a sunday morning in August. The sun is out, and the heat will be tough to take soon. PG is not in a good mood, which should surprise nobody. He realizes, on some level, that he should be grateful for a chore to give him something to do. The notes indicate that the first “so it goes” to be recorded in this segment will provide the opportunity to make cheap, smutty jokes.

Billy Pilgrim is on a plane that is going to crash. He knows the plane is going into the ski resort, but is helpless to do anything about it. A barbershop quartet is entertaining the optometrists, which should not be confused with optimism. The quartet is singing cheerful songs that are insulting to Polacks. This is another word that was popular in 1968, that is considered politically incorrect today.

Three days after arriving in Dresden, BP saw the public execution of a Pole. He was hanged for the crime of fucking a German woman. SIG067. The German lady was not inclined to disclose whether the Polish gentleman was, in fact, hung. Polack jokes were popular in 1968, when SF was written. PG did not know any Polish people, but thought the jokes were pretty funny.

The barbershop quartet is singing “Wait till the sun shines Nellie” when the airplane crashes into the side of a Vermont mountain. Everyone is killed, except for BP and the co-pilot. SIG068. The barbershop quartet performs at a party BP gave, which upsets BP. Time travel will do that to you. Especially when you are having brain surgery to save your life, and you go, uncontrollably, back to Schlachthöf-funf. The cart you are pushing is greased with the fat of dead animals. SIG069.

A young German named Werner Gluck was in charge of the POW. They were looking for the kitchen, and stumbled into a strange room. It was a communal shower, and was filled with naked German girls. They didn’t know to be wary when a Nazi said anything about taking a shower. The sight of these naked girls was educational for BP and Werner Gluck. Soon, the men found the kitchen. An old woman worked there. She was a war widow. SIG070. The old woman thought it peculiar that armies had young men, like BP and Werner Gluck, and old fogies like Edgar Derby. But she made sense of it all. “All the real soldiers are dead.” SIG071.

When BP was in pre-fire Dresden, he helped out in a factory that made malt syrup. BP helped himself to spoonfuls. His digestive system did not like malt syrup. This is the end of chapter seven.

At the start of chapter eight, the POW are entertained by Howard Campbell. He was discussed in a previous installment of this series, and in a later book by KV. In this scene, Mr. Campbell is recruiting American soldiers to go fight the Russians. A lot of people, including General George Patton, wanted to have it out with the Russkies after the Germans were dealt with. General Patton was in a convenient auto accident a few months after the war ended.

At some point during the remarks by Mr. Campbell, the air raid siren went off. Even though Dresden was thought to be unworthy of Allied attack, the POW went into an underground meat locker. A few dead horses were hanging from metal hooks. SIG072. Meanwhile, Howard Campbell stays upstairs, talking to the guards. It turns out he speaks excellent German, and was married to a German actress. The actress was killed, entertaining troops in the Crimea. SIG073.

The next night was the Allied bombing raid on Dresden. It is much discussed elsewhere. A lot of people were killed. SIG074. While hiding in a subterranean meat locker, BP time travels to his home in 1968. He is arguing with his well meaning daughter, who would like to murder Kilgore Trout.

This is when the reader gets to know the man behind the books. Kilgore Trout lives in Ilium NY. A horrible man, he makes money by supervising boys who deliver newspapers on bicycle. This is another concept that will seem novel to some… the custom of teenage boys having a paper route.

Kilgore Trout write a lot of books. BP is one of the few people who read them. One of these books was about a money tree. Twenty dollar bills grew on its branches. People would kill each other fighting over these twenties, and their blood would fertilize the tree. SIG075.

On November 13, 1787, Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to William Smith. The letter is full of zesty quotes. “What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.” A few lines above that, Mr. Jefferson said “God forbid we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion.” Twenty years after he wrote this, Mr. Jefferson was President. He probably did not want to deal with a revolution.

BP met Kilgore Trout in 1964. This was around the time of the 18th anniversary of BP and Valencia Merble. The times are getting a bit fuzzy, which, acording to Tralfamadorian logic, is rational. The date of birth is anywhere from 1922 to 1925. BP was in the nuthouse in 1946, and somehow got married at the same time. At any rate, there was a big party for the anniversary, with Kilgore Trout invited. The other guests were charmed to have an author in their midst. One lady heard about a French chef that died. At the funeral they sprinkled herbs on his body. SIG076.

The barbershop quarter performed at the party, making BP physically ill. There are several possible reasons. Bad singing is must be considered. BP knew about the plane crash performance. Their were four guards in the meat locker during the Dresden raid. There were four Beatles, four horsemen of the apocalypse, four tops, and the four seasons. The barbershop quarter did a four seasons song, Sheeree, Sherree bayabee, Sher Sher Sherree, Sherree baby. It sounded better on the radio.

The next stop on the time travel was the meat locker in Dresden. A horrendous overbombing went on overhead, on the city with no war industries to bother. The fire storm was so intense that it ran out of oxygen. The German guards, except for the fab four in the meat locker, died. The German girls that BP saw naked in the shower died. Just about everyone in Dresden died. SIG077. SIG078. SIG079. The next day, Amerika sent planes to fly over the city, and shoot at people. They missed BP. SIG080. There was an inn outside of town, which somehow survived the raid. The inn took the guards and POW in, and gave them food. This is the end of chapter eight.

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  1. […] 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 chapters nine and ten, and will […]

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