For my final blog post, I’ll be discussing not only the final two chapters of Slaughterhouse Five, but the book in its entirety.
So for these last few chapters, the war itself is barely mentioned, just a few pages about the war’s end and what remained of Dresden after the firestorm. The majority of these two chapters take place in Billy Pilgrim’s mind, be it in Tralfamadoria or the hospital where Billy’s wife died and where he was in a coma. This goes back to the main theme I’ve been discussing in most of my recent posts: war is something that is always forgotten, and thus repeated later. This can even happen during a war, as shown best by the firebombing of Dresden itself, as the people there had barely felt the effects of the war, and the war on the continent was almost over, so in their ignorance, Allied planes dropped the bombs on an unwitting German population. Thus, since the war was ending, the Allies already forgot what their weapons were capable of, which lead to a major massacre that would later be forgotten by time to many (I did even know about it until I looked it up after reading the first section of this book). However, the book does end during Billy’s stay in the burnt Dresden. This maybe a statement by the author that while war and its damages are often forget, they should not be. By placing the ruins of Dresden the end of the book, effectively making it the final image in the reader’s mind (at least for me), it makes one remember the price of war, and hopefully make a new generation that knows this fact and makes great strides in avoiding war altogether.
As a whole, I enjoyed this book much more the the other novel I had to read for my summer English assignment, Catch-22. I think there are two big reasons for this: I related more to Billy than Yossarian, and there were a lot less characters. Catch-22 had a lot of background characters who I just couldn’t love, and there were just too many similar names and places. I also liked Billy more as a main character because I enjoy time travel and daydream a lot, imagining. myself in other times, just like Billy does. The message that Slaughterhouse Five presents is also much clearer and, in my opinion, more applicable to modern day society, as, though some idiots are still in power today (cough cough Donald Trump), it is less so than back during the era of World War II, war is still a very real threat today, and it is one that can lead to the end of all.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, from the colorful characters to the time travel, and even the historical background. The story, though short, is well told in such a way that it gets its point across with relative ease, much easier that Catch-22’s long and sometimes pointless story.
Thank you for reading and I hope I get a good grade. Wish me luck!
Word Count: 515