Slaughterhouse Five Essay

568 words - 2 pages

Novel Summary Billy Pilgrim is unstuck in time, and so is Slaughterhouse Five. Novel follows Billy's "unhinged" life. If I write every hop, skip, and jump, the summary would be as complicated as the book. These are the basic facts of Pilgrim's life; they are shown in chronological order (but are definitely not in the book): Billy Pilgrim is born in 1922 and grows up in Ilium, New York. He is a funny-looking youth, he does reasonably well in high school, enrolls in night classes at the Ilium School of Optometry, and is soon drafted into the army and the Second World War. He serves as a chaplain's assistant, then is thrown into the Battle of the Bulge, and almost immediately gets taken prisoner behind German lines. Just before being captured, though, he becomes unstuck in time for the first time. He sees all of his life in one sweep. Billy is transported with other privates to the city of Dresden. There, the prisoners are made to work for their stay. They are kept in a former slaughterhouse. Allied forces bomb the city, then drop gasoline to create a firestorm that sucks most of the oxygen into the blaze, suffocating or burning 130,000 people. Billy and his fellow POWs survive in an airtight meat locker. They emerge to find, "a moonscape of destruction". Several days later, Russian forces capture the city and Billy's help in the war is over. He returns to Ilium and finishes optometry school. He gets engaged to the daughter of the founder of the school. After a nervous breakdown, for which he given shock treatment at a veterans' hospital...

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