20 May 2011

Today was a reading day for SH5.  Attached are some helpful questions to think about as you read chapters 1-4–as well as two journal prompts:  SH5 1-4 Questions & Prompts.

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7 thoughts on “20 May 2011

  1. Today we discussed a lot about Billy Pilgrim and his view of time and how that affects him. We also talked about his death and if he would be able to recover. At this point, I thought about the Tralfamadorians and their ability to see into the fourth dimension which made me wonder how he could do that and time travel. Was it because the Tralfamadorians and his abduction or something else entirely?

  2. I agree with Gabe that we should discuss some more on the impact of the world of the Tralfamadorians. Is it real and what message is the author trying to convey with it?

    Another observation I noticed: Vonnegut uses first person in chapter one’s entirety, including many overview details and creates a tone similar to that of an autobiography. This could be the introduction of the book, but instead Vonnegut uses it for a chapter. The very next chapter moves into 3rd person, as the “character” Billy is introduced. I think this decision is important because it implies that perhaps the author’s life is supposed to be connected to Billy’s, therefore making them much more similar that we thought.

  3. Relating to today’s discussion, I found a passage about the significance of death. Billy says “The most important thing I learned on Tralfamadore was that when a person dies he only appears to die. He is still very much alive in the past, so it is very silly for people to cry at his funeral.” I think that this supports the idea that when it a person dies, it isn’t as important as the life that the person lived.

    • To add on to that, I think that Pilgrim’s view of death is changed to be that of the Tralfamadorians’ view, that it is just another happening “so it goes.” It seems to me as if Billy is turning into one of them.

      • I agree with Gabe. I think that as we continue to read this book I believe that Billy is going to keep changing to be more like the Tralfamadorians. I think it’s really going to underscore how ‘alien’ or ‘Tralfamadorian’ the views themselves are.

    • Also off of this, I was thinking about how this can relate to our lives, that the funerals I’ve been to are not about based mourning but about a celebration of life. Just a thought about how Billy says that the past is more important even though death and the emotions that are at funerals are very sad. I noticed that death always follows war, and isn’t always directly connected but happens with it. Billy’s father was shot after the war, (page 32) Billy’s wife died from carbon monoxide poisoning during the time Billy was in the hospital (page 25).

  4. Also on the topic of war, I feel like Billy does not find death significant because he has been to war, and has experienced so much of it. Going back to the quote about not being able to create art without a dance with death, if war is a dance with death, and people lose their innocence in war, is Vonnegut saying no art is innocent?

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