Slaughterhouse-Five Overview

This Study Guide consists of approximately 57 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Slaughterhouse-Five.
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Vonnegut's dramatic, tragic younger life greatly influences his fiction and establishes a framework for most of his themes. His immigrant family achieved the grandest of American dreams, only to have its success shattered by economic and political change. Traditional American values such as common sense, self-reliance, and practicality are juxtaposed in his fiction with the absurdity of fate and the folly of humankind. Such folly is epitomized by the bombing of Dresden (now part of East Germany) on February 13, 1945, only a few months before the end of World War II. Dresden was an unarmed, historic city of no military importance, and the motive for the Allied decision to bomb it into oblivion is still a mystery. The twohour bombing killed 135,000 people.

It is against the backdrop of the bombing of Dresden that the dark world of Slaughterhouse-Five emerges. The hauntingly innocent main character, Billy Pilgrim, exudes a childlike wonder that...

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This section contains 193 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy the Slaughterhouse-Five Study Guide
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Slaughterhouse-Five from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.