From plot debriefs to key motifs, Thug Notes’ Slaughterhouse Five Summary & Analysis has you covered with themes, symbols, important quotes, and more.
Slaughterhouse-Five (1969) | Written by: Kurt Vonnegut| Published by: Dell Publishing
Thug Notes Summary and Analysis
Wassap ballas? This week we have no idea what the fu** is going on with Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut.
Now let’s get somethin straight, playboy. The first chapter of this book ain’t exactly like the rest. Here, we chillin with a narrator who sounds A LOT like Kurt Vonnegut. This fool been tryin to write about livin’ through the bombing of Dresden back in Dub-Dub Deuce. But since nothing in war makes a damn bit of sense, the story he gonna tell us is just a big ol mind-fu**. Billy Pilgrim musta smoked too much o dat chronic cuz this fool is “unstuck in time”- meanin he always jumpin through random moments in his life and he can’t do nuthin bout it. As he crawling through the sh** rollin 4 deep, Billy wanders away, gets unstuck in time, and WACK he time-trips to his future as a creased-up optometrist. And after trippin through other life events, BAM Billy slides on back to the war and gets GOT by the Germans. Our boy gets his ass tossed on a train when ZOW, back to the future, B. And now- here comes some MUTHAFU**IN ALIENS IN A FLYING SAUCER.
Billy takes one look at these green hustlas called Tralfamadorians and be like “yo. Why me??” And they all like “Why anything? sh** just is.” ZIP ZAP, playa. Back on the train, and now peeps be dyin left and right. They reach the camp and ZOOP- Billy trips to the alien crib where they got him locked up like a zoo animal. Ain’t all bad though, cuz he gets hooked up with a bangin movie star named Montana Wildhack. ZEFF! Billy wakes up in 1965 right before it’s lights out. B-pill gets capped and dies. That it? NOPE. HADOUKEN! Back to 1945 where the Germans put him and da other homies on lockdown in a slaughterhouse. When Dresden gets WRECKED by a firebombing, Billy survives cuz he got put in a meatlocker. WANG! 25 years later, Billy gets on a plane with some otha optometrist homies when the damn thing crashes! One head-whack later, Billy’s runnin his mouth on the radio bout Tralfamadore and flying saucers. ZAM. Back in Dresden, the bombings’s over and errythings quiet cept for a lil’ bird say “POO-TEE-WEET.”
What the hell?! If you think POO-TEE-WEET don’t make a lick of sense, then well done playboy. Where’d you get that P.H.D from?
All that birds jibber-jabbering is a symbol for how the narrator feels about war. Senseless.
Sparky reads quote: “Everybody is supposed to be dead, to never say anything or want anything ever again. Everything is supposed to be very quiet after a massacre, and it always is, except for the birds. And what do the birds say? All there is to say about a massacre, things like “Poo-tee-weet?” (24)
That’s one of this book’s main beefs: that there ain’t nothing smart to say about war. And when you talkin bout the death of 135,000 people, logic just don’t apply.
No matter how fly your writing game be, you can’t describe what’s indescribable. And any time you try to do it justice, you gonna end up with a story just like our narrator’s. So instead of a rap with a beginning, middle, and end, we get a version that’s all screwed and chopped. The structure of dis book is, in itself, a massacre.
When you’re in a world that’s so damn broke that you cant even pick up the pieces, the only choice you got is to look at it differently. Some playas think that’s why the narrator made Billy P an optometrist- he corrects our vision of the world and helps us see that bad stuff happens for no reason. So it goes…
But good stuff happens to all those that press subscribe. Catch you next week, padna.