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Slaughterhouse 5

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bitter79

Slaughterhouse 5

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I just finished reading this & thoroughly enjoyed it. However, I am unsure exactly what Vonnegut was trying to say about the war and about the bombing of Dresden specifically. I thought the book was anti-war but towards the end when he(Billy Pilgrim) is talking to Rumfoord in the hospital & they're talking about the book, The Destruction of Dresden-which supports the bombing, it doesn't seem so anti-war. Then later Rumfoord says that the destruction of Dresden "had to be done" & Billy replies "I know" I feel like the book just made a U-turn.Any thoughts?Thx& let me say I'm excited to be a member of this forum, I think it's just what I was looking for! "But Liberty, as we all know, cannot flourish in a country that is permanently on a war footing, or even a near-war footing. Permanent crisis justifies permanent control of everybody and everything by the agencies of the central government."- Aldous Huxley
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Mr. P

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Re: Slaughterhouse 5

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I just finished this last month!Rumfoord may represent the inability or the reluctance of many, especially those who were not in Dresden, like Billy was, to see the war as it really was. Rumfoord is a historian and seems to have glorified the war. To me, it seems that Billy is the ONLY character in the book that sees the war as a destructive travesty. With this in mind, maybe we can take Billy's agreement with Rumfoord that "it had to be done" not as an affirmation of the NEED for it to be done but the inevitability of it being done.Mr. P. The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand; the kind you can feel in your heart...Scorsese's "Mean Streets"I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy PiperEdited by: misterpessimistic  at: 3/9/06 11:35 pm
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riverc0il
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Re: Slaughterhouse 5

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Quote:With this in mind, maybe we can take Billy's agreement with Rumfoord that "it had to be done" not as an affirmation of the NEED for it to be done but the inevitability of it being done.it has been a few years since i read the book so i can not remember the specifics, but this is exactly how i would have read the passage, the inevitability of it, not the need for it to be done.also, vonnegut's works tend to have a sense of dark tragedy to them. his characters and stories often have this sense of helplessness as time and space kicks them around. there is a kind of resignation with vonnegut's characters that would very much make sense that after all the billy goes through, he would conclude that it had to be done when in fact it didn't have to be done. either of those explanations would work for me.
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Mr. P

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Re: Slaughterhouse 5

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The characters are indeed helpless...and spectators to their own existence. Even in "Sirens of Titan", Rumfoord, who was supposedly manipulating the events on earth through his machinations on Mars and his trip through the Chronosynclastic Infundibulum, in the end turned out to be a simple dupe for the Tralfamadorians.And the whole thing was simply to get a replacement part for the Tralfamadorian's space ship. All that fuss for so small a gain...another underlying theme in the Vonnegut I have read.Us humans and our big brains! Sheesh!Mr. P. The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand; the kind you can feel in your heart...Scorsese's "Mean Streets"I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper
bitter79

Re: Slaughterhouse 5

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great, now you've ruined sirens of titan for me....sheesh! :PThanks for the other input though "But Liberty, as we all know, cannot flourish in a country that is permanently on a war footing, or even a near-war footing. Permanent crisis justifies permanent control of everybody and everything by the agencies of the central government."- Aldous Huxley
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Mr. P

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Re: Slaughterhouse 5

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OOPS! Sorry!Still..I do not think it will be ruined. It is a good story.Mr. P. The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand; the kind you can feel in your heart...Scorsese's "Mean Streets"I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper
pctacitus

Re: Slaughterhouse 5

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Hey, this discussion has been misfiled. I remember reading this novel years ago. Somehow it has made its way to the Nonfiction section. "...the great events in life come from the books, rather than the people, one comes across." - Robert D. Kaplan, Mediterranean Winter: the Pleasures of History and Landscape in Tunisia, Sicily, Dalmatia, and Greece
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