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Slaughterhouse-Five - Chapter 6

#185: Nov. 2022 - Jan. 2023 (Fiction)
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Slaughterhouse-Five - Chapter 6

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Chapter 6

Please use this thread to discuss the above chapter of Slaughterhouse-Five.
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Harry Marks
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Re: Slaughterhouse-Five - Chapter 6

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Quite far along in Chapter 6 comes a revelatory moment that I had forgotten from my first reading of the book. Pilgrim is told that Dresden is safe - they will not be bombed. Why? Because it has no factories or other war value. It is simply a beautiful city.

The irony, of course, is that it is bombed to obliteration later. The Americans were happy to destroy it, if for no other reason than to see if a "firestorm" could be generated as theory said it could. This is Hiroshima on a slightly smaller scale. In further irony (I don't know if Vonnegut knew this) the Americans refrained from bombing Kyoto because one well-placed officer knew that it was full of cultural treasures and had no war value, and Secretary of War Stimson insisted on sparing it. Wikipedia reports that Nagasaki was the city chosen as the alternate.

Vonnegut is not one to be heavy-handed. This might be as close as he comes. America bombed its "safe" POW's because, well, it could. Revenge? Experimentation? Either way it cared nothing for the innocence of the city, or its beauty. I think he places the action firmly in a category with the stupidest, most aggressive characters in the book, who do nice things for horrible reasons and terrible things for arbitrary motivations. And so it goes.
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