Slaughterhouse 5 Section 1 Response

The beginning of the story along with the introduction of the characters confused me upon first reading. The story starts off with a veteran reliving his time during war and his life now along with him visiting his friend that experienced the war with him which was understandable but then a different story is started and the reader gets introduced to Billy Pilgrim “the man unstuck in time”. When Billy is first introduced we are told about where he is born (Ilium) and other things about his past such as him graduating high school in the top third of his class and how he went to college until he was drafted to the war. Mr. Pilgrim’s story begins with him as an older man who is a widower and is described in his actions to appear almost crazy, with discussions on radio shows about aliens taking him away to another planet with some famous movie star there with him ( Montana Wildhack). Billy goes through this whole description of what the aliens look like calling them Tralfamadorians. He also has a life discovery with time and the idea of death when he encountered these strange aliens, the idea that a person does not actually die because they will still be living at some other time frame in the past which to me almost seems like a paradox of sorts. This belief is what leads him to go back in time to the war and makes him believe that he is traveling through different time periods. His daughter however just thinks that the plane crash he was involved in made him this way by damaging his brain somehow. At this point Billy comes to his first travel back in time to the war, which to me just sounds like him remembering past traumatic events that happened to him but if he calls it traveling through time that’s what I will go with. Something interesting about Billy’s time in the war that is described in this section is that Billy clearly was not a soldier and realized it himself. Most people when being described would want to be the hero or the person who saved the day but Billy is just the average guy who never really belonged in the war. Which could be considered an anthem of wartime that the people who belong in the war and the ones who started the wars are never actually the ones that end up fighting them not even just from this book either but from many accounts of wartime occurrences. But back to the book some new characters are also introduced at the time Billy flashes back in time. The first being Roland Weary , a man who wants desperately to be the hero of his own story but however does not seem very capable of that goal. He is a man that looks very foolish wearing every piece of equipment that had been given to him, and also has a liking for the idea of hurting and torturing other people. An instance of this is when he describes why the shape of his knife is a certain way to Billy. Weary’s arrogance and Billy’s ignorance will be what eventually gets them caught which will lead into the next section.


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