May 2-6 – Starting Slaughterhouse

We will start Slaughterhouse Five this week.

  • We’ll do some work with Foster’s irony chapter. This is important because irony is a major factor in SH5.
  • I’ll ask you to read Chapter 1 for Wednesday, and then on Wednesday we’ll do some small group work with the big concepts that emerge from Chapter 1 (war, death, family, writing/art).
  • Wednesday night, I’m going to ask you to do lab book prompt #2 on the Chapters 1-4 sheet (SH5 Chapters 1-4).
  • On Thursday, we’ll have a big-group discussion about Chapter 1. Note, as we discussed, that chapter 1 is really a prologue–it is the author talking about the book. But it’s also a key that lays out some of the major concepts of the novel ahead.
  • On Friday, you’ll have a reading day for Chapters 2-4

We will also sign up for lab book interviews beginning May 10. I know this year our lab book interviews overlap with our AP Testing Schedule in pretty much the worst way possible. I’m so sorry–but not sorry enough to eliminate lab book interviews, which are essentially a portfolio of your reading work this trimester.

I will pass out English 10 Honors Lab Book Interview Packet Spring 2016, though these are much abbreviated from your earlier one since you now know the drill.


10 thoughts on “May 2-6 – Starting Slaughterhouse

  1. For May 5th

    There are a couple of thinasty that I noticed in the first chapter. The first is connected to when we were discussing motifs in class. I cannot remember he exact point in the book but I feel like I saw a similie or metaphor about the army being like pawns.sort for he chess analogy again but it works so well!

    So in chess, pawns are small, and not very valuable. There are 8 of them on each side so overall they add up to a nicer value. Pawns are also the pieces most commonly sacrificed on the board as well. But then there’s a special part about them: if they reach the other end of her board, they can be promoted to a more valuable piece. Each one has so much potential…

    Now let’s translate this into terms of people and war, and how this relates to help babies motif. People in an army are small, and one being lost can be easy to handle, in comparison to a whole army. And our a comparison to the promotion part, each person, each army, has so much potential, yet, we seem to value some things so little in the overall grand scheme of things.

    Now for the second part. I think this may relate to a motif. So in the prologue, we see a comparison of this book being anti-war and anti-glacier because they are unstoppable. That made me think-what could stop a glacier? And the first thing that popped into my head was global warming (it may not exactly stop a glacier but it stops it in a different way I guess). How does global warming relate to the ability to stops war? Well, global warming is a global effecct, and I wonder if it’s a global disaster that will unite us all. Sounds like a cheesy movie to me (aka Avengers: Age of Ultron and in 2 days Civil War). So yeah, overall, I wonder if an idea he could be trying to communicate is that we need to unite? I am not sure. Just tossing out ideas like free samples. Hopefully some of this makes sense to others too.

  2. For our lab book, we were supposed to find a motif and track it throughout the first chapter. Now I am not sure if the phrase “so it goes” is a motif or not, though it does pop up several times, but I decided to focus on this phrase and what it means anyway. From what I could see, the “So it goes” phrase is written five times throughout the first chapter, and each time after a death. I feel as if these three words “So it goes” sounds a lot like “Life goes on”. Vonnegut makes death sound like a natural thing, and when it happens, life continues on and that it should not be something to dwell on. Vonnegut even says this at the end of the first chapter that, “People aren’t supposed to look back. I’m certainly not going to do it anymore.”

  3. I totally agreed with Ellen about the Baby motif and how it connects to innocence. I think that that represents the “before” of the war. Before the war the soldiers are innocent and in a way oblivious as to what will happen. And babies are also like the “before” of the war because they are silly. The things that countries do before a war- that often lead to it- are ridiculous and sometimes make war seem pointless or like it was for no good reason. They fight over stupid things.
    I also noticed something about the telephone motif. Telephones are a facilitator for storytelling and his phone calls get no where and he can’t figure out the story. Which is kind of ironic because the telephone is doing the opposite of what it is supposed to do. So far, there seems to be an endless cycle of irony and everything is connected. Like Mrs B said, this book is ironic as it gets. Also, maybe this is like really obvious but I noticed that most or all of the motifs are connected to a message about war. That would make since because he is writing an anti war novel. Although, sometimes the various motifs have different messages that tie into the bigger message and I think here they really work together to form this anti war message.

  4. Slaughterhouse-Five
    Writing the story before it’s done: I feel like the narrator is trying to forget the war and cope with the horrors he saw when he was in it, and he was trying to cope by writing the story. However, it ends up holding him back.
    Breath like mustard gas and roses: These are totally different smells, I’ll say. Also, mustard gas was outlawed after WWI not after WWII, which the speaker was in. So.

  5. Something I noticed was that it seems like his live after the war is frozen or not full or like he’s unable to move on with a normal life, he keeps saying “so it goes” as if he’s trying to convince himself to move on. Also the so it goes is showing how bland his life has become, nothing new or unexpected ever happens. He’s unable to react to anything in any way. His only friends are his old war buddies, yet they can’t remember any details about the war. Another thing about the so it goes… He says it after describing a death, which shows how his life keeps going unaffected by another death which he has seen plenty of, but also I think it’s ironic that he says so it goes because for the people he’s talking about, it doesn’t keep going, life doesn’t go on for them because they died. Yet the narrator’s life goes on, and he is numb to these deaths.

  6. I thought there could be a connection between the motifs of babies and clocks. On page 20, Vonnegut says “The time would not pass. Somebody was playing with the clocks, and not only with the electric clocks, but the wind up kind, too. The second hand on my watch would twitch once, and a year would pass, and then it would twitch again.” I think this paragraph can also be applied to the motif about babies because these men went into the war as “babies” and came out men. There was no transition, only the ones who quickly grew up came out alive. For this reason I think these veterans feel like they are missing much of their life. We talked about the reason for using “and so on” being that it makes the reader actually think about every time death is seen rather than just reading page to page. I think there could be another reason he is using this. I think Vonnegut could be trying to portray feelings of veterans as well. These men must have expected to die every single day, and that would cause someone to try to desensitize death for their own sanity.

  7. I wrote about the motif of the phrase “so it goes, which is typically used after a description of a terrible tragedy or death. For example, on page 9 it reads “So he was hoisted into the air air and the floor of the car went down, dropped out from under him, and the top of the car squashed him. So it goes.” I found this example significant because reading about such a brutal death invokes natural disgust in the reader, as it forces the image of a man being crushed underneath an elevator into the readers mind. However, after a description of such a gruesome and dramatic death he follows it with a phrase one would say after missing the bus- so it goes. This is largely meant to convey how traumatizing and desensitizing war really is- after witnessing the deaths of thousands of people through incineration and having it written off as an act of war, how could you hold any kind of feeling for anybody’s death? While to the reader it is shocking to hear about that death, to the veteran it’s just one more death on top of the thousands he has already witnessed.

  8. I kind of noticed in chapter one that it really encourages that the best types of literature and art are the ones that come from super dark places. This is highlighted first off I think an artist in chapter one that the author talks about straight out says it and also the author is writing a book on war probably one of the darkest places you can go. It also talks about in the chapter how maybe the art and writing that come from the darkest places might be the best it’s hard to get to this is shown by him trying to remember about the war to write his book multiple times but just can never quite do it and when he calls his buddies for help they can’t really remember it either.

  9. I found in Slaughter house 5 that the phrase “So it goes” seems to match the tone of another phrase that isn’t mentioned in the book, “so they say.” this tone seems to be forced belief by others. Because the veteran has gone to war and death has become common to him the idea of death has become both true and false. He understands death exists and that people die, but the “so it goes” seems to remove the humanity from the dead by the veteran not caring about a horrible death. Since the humanity from the dead has been removed in his eyes no one really died. Something died. The only reason he payed any attention to the dead on page 9 was because it was his job to cover that story. His views of death are about the same as ours of a dead animal on the road. It is there,but why would we go out of the way to care? Why bother understanding that it was once a living thing? This is a very powerful form of survival. Our minds shelter us with our understanding of the unknown aspects of a person that then remove the humanity from deaths we hear about. “So it goes” isn’t completely evil as it reflects a form of protection for our minds against death.

  10. I think that the phrase “so it goes” means that death will always go, it is a part of human life. BUT i think that in Slaughter house 5 Vonnegut is poking fun at at the people who react so much to strange, unlikely deaths. While when countless amounts of people die, people shrug and say “thats part of war” and “so it goes”. On page 6 when he is talking about the troops exchanging war souvenirs, he makes it like war is a game, and the dead people’s things and possessions, of meaning are simply traded away. So it goes. This is powerful because that is a very dark meaning and the narrators response is kind of a like the politicians response. So it goes.

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