Slaughterhouse-Five

Billy Pilgrim Character Analysis

The novel’s protagonist, Billy Pilgrim is an optometrist and former chaplain’s assistant in the US Army who has “come unstuck in time,” meaning he can travel between moments in his life. Billy was captured by the Germans in the Battle of the Bulge and shipped from a POW camp to Dresden, where he survived the Allied firebombing by hiding in Slaughterhouse-Five. After the war Billy married Valencia, a well-off daughter of an optometrist, went into business, became successful, and had two children, Barbara and Robert. After a plane crash that nearly kills him and results indirectly in the death of his wife as she travels to see him in the hospital, Pilgrim announces he was once captured by aliens, the Tralfamadorians, and taught their philosophy of life, death, and time. A vision of a barbershop quartet at an anniversary party prompts further reminiscences about Dresden.

Billy Pilgrim Quotes in Slaughterhouse-Five

The Slaughterhouse-Five quotes below are all either spoken by Billy Pilgrim or refer to Billy Pilgrim. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
War and Death Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dell edition of Slaughterhouse-Five published in 1991.
Chapter 2 Quotes

Listen: Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time.

Related Characters: Kurt Vonnegut (speaker), Billy Pilgrim
Page Number: 22
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other Slaughterhouse-Five quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!

He didn’t look like a solider at all. He looked like a filthy flamingo.

Related Characters: Kurt Vonnegut (speaker), Billy Pilgrim
Page Number: 33
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia de

Five German soldiers and a police dog on a leash were looking down into the bed of the creek. The soldiers’ blue eyes were filled with a bleary civilian curiosity as to why one American would try to murder another one so far from home, and why the victim should laugh.

Related Characters: Kurt Vonnegut (speaker), Billy Pilgrim, Roland Weary
Page Number: 51
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Chapter 3 Quotes

But lying on the black ice there, Billy stared into the patina of the corporal’s boots, saw Adam and Eve in the golden depths. They were naked. They were so innocent, so vulnerable, so eager to behave decently. Billy Pilgrim loved them.

Related Characters: Kurt Vonnegut (speaker), Billy Pilgrim
Page Number: 53
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in cu

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom always to tell the difference.

Related Characters: Billy Pilgrim
Page Number: 60
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt molli

Chapter 4 Quotes

Well, here we are, Mr. Pilgrim, trapped in the amber of this moment. There is no why.

Related Characters: Tralfamadorians (speaker), Billy Pilgrim
Page Number: 77
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proid

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Chapter 5 Quotes

And Billy had seen the greatest massacre in European history, which was the fire-bombing of Dresden. So it goes. So they were trying to re-invent themselves and their universe. Science fiction was a big help.

Related Characters: Kurt Vonnegut (speaker), Billy Pilgrim, Eliot Rosewater
Related Symbols: Slaughterhouse-Five
Page Number: 101
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Chapter 6 Quotes

Somebody behind him in the boxcar said, “Oz.” That was I. That was me. The only other city I’d ever seen was Indianapolis, Indiana.

Related Characters: Kurt Vonnegut (speaker), Billy Pilgrim
Page Number: 148
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non p

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Chapter 7 Quotes

Billy thrust it into the vat, turned it around and around, making a gooey lollipop. He thrust it into his mouth . . . and then every cell in Billy’s body shook him with ravenous gratitude and applause.

Related Characters: Kurt Vonnegut (speaker), Billy Pilgrim
Page Number: 160
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occ

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Chapter 10 Quotes

If what Billy Pilgrim learned from the Tralfamadorians is true, that we will all live forever, no matter how dead we may sometimes seem to be, I am not overjoyed. Still—if I am going to spend eternity visiting this moment and that, I’m grateful that so many of those moments are nice.

Related Characters: Kurt Vonnegut (speaker), Billy Pilgrim, Tralfamadorians
Page Number: 211
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt moll

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Birds were talking. One bird said to Billy Pilgrim, “Poo-tee-weet?

Related Characters: Kurt Vonnegut (speaker), Billy Pilgrim
Page Number: 215
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Get the entire Slaughterhouse-Five LitChart as a printable PDF.
Slaughterhouse five.pdf.medium

Billy Pilgrim Character Timeline in Slaughterhouse-Five

The timeline below shows where the character Billy Pilgrim appears in Slaughterhouse-Five. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
Billy Pilgrim, the novel’s protagonist, has “come unstuck in time,” meaning he can move freely from... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Money and Success Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
After treatment for his breakdown, Billy married and took up his father-in-law’s optometry business, becoming wealthy and having two children, Barbara... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Science Fiction and Aliens Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
After the accident, Billy goes on the radio in New York City, claiming he was abducted by aliens, the... (full context)
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Science Fiction and Aliens Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
Billy includes this information in a letter to the local newspaper. In a second letter, he... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
Billy first became “unstuck in time” in 1944, during the war. He serves as a chaplain’s... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Money and Success Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
Billy is then shipped to Luxembourg and to the fighting at the Battle of the Bulge... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
...looks and violent temper, and his father collected instruments of torture, which Weary describes to Billy in the field. He explains a “blood gutter,” or the trough on the side of... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Money and Success Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
Weary, Pilgrim, and two scouts continue through the snow, hoping to avoid detection by the Germans. Weary... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
Pilgrim is leaning against a tree; this, according to Vonnegut, is when he “first comes unstuck... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Weary rescues Pilgrim by the tree, though Pilgrim wishes to be left behind or to “turn into steam”... (full context)
Chapter 3
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
The Germans who come upon Weary and Pilgrim are part of the “mopping up” after the battle. Two of the five are very... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Pilgrim is helped up by one of the beautiful young boys. The scouts who had abandoned... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Money and Success Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
Billy comes unstuck in time. He is looking at a “jade green mechanical owl,” part of... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Money and Success Theme Icon
Billy is back in 1967, in his Cadillac. He is driving through Ilium, NY’s “black ghetto,”... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Money and Success Theme Icon
On Pilgrim’s office wall is a prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Money and Success Theme Icon
Pilgrim goes home to nap. He has a large home and owns parts of various businesses... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
Pilgrim sees “St. Elmo’s Fire,” a kind of radiant halo, around the heads of the Americans... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
A colonel dying of pneumonia asks Pilgrim if he was one of his men. Pilgrim is ignorant of military terminology and does... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
Pilgrim is placed into a train car with his fellow privates, Weary with soldiers of his... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Science Fiction and Aliens Theme Icon
Pilgrim’s train, the lowest in the hierarchy by rank, does not move for two days. “Water,... (full context)
Chapter 4
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Science Fiction and Aliens Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
Pilgrim has trouble sleeping the night of his daughter’s wedding (which took place that day under... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Science Fiction and Aliens Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
...the ground, and humanity reverses so that all humans are babies, producing Adam and Eve. Billy thinks he hears an owl outside but it is the flying saucer from Tralfamadore. (full context)
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Science Fiction and Aliens Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
The saucer is 100 feet in diameter. Pilgrim is sucked inside and greeted by a Tralfamadorian, who asks if he has any questions.... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
In the railcar Pilgrim is trying to lie down and sleep. The car is moving slowly across Germany. No... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Pilgrim is helped from the boxcar and he “flows” with the other prisoners toward the entrance... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Science Fiction and Aliens Theme Icon
Money and Success Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
...from Illinois, is introduced. He was also in Weary’s car and has pledged to kill Pilgrim to avenge Weary. All the Americans are showered and “de-loused.” Billy comes unstuck in time... (full context)
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Science Fiction and Aliens Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
...but Tralfamadorians see “all time as all time,” like a “stretch of the Rocky Mountains.” Pilgrim says the Tralfamadorian sounds like he doesn’t believe in free will. The Tralfamadorian replies that... (full context)
Chapter 5
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Science Fiction and Aliens Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
Pilgrim asks for reading material on the trip to Tralfamadore and is given Valley of the... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
Pilgrim comes unstuck in time and is 12 years old, with his family by the Grand... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Pilgrim, Lazzaro, Derby, and others are led to a shed filled with British POWs who have... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Money and Success Theme Icon
...Englishmen have prepared a large banquet for them with milk, soup, beef, and other delicacies. Billy is so dazed by this scene that he does not realize the hem of his... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Science Fiction and Aliens Theme Icon
Money and Success Theme Icon
Billy finds a part of the play so hilarious that he cannot stop laughing. He is... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Science Fiction and Aliens Theme Icon
Money and Success Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
In the bed next to Billy is Eliot Rosewater, checked in for alcohol abuse. Rosewater introduces Billy to the science fiction... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Science Fiction and Aliens Theme Icon
Money and Success Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
When Billy’s mother visits the ward, he hides his head under the blankets until she leaves. Rosewater... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
Billy comes unstuck and is back in the war. Derby is still reading to him and... (full context)
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Science Fiction and Aliens Theme Icon
Money and Success Theme Icon
Billy’s fiancée Valencia, the daughter of a wealthy optometrist, is visiting the mental ward in 1948.... (full context)
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Science Fiction and Aliens Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
Rosewater compliments Valencia’s diamond, which Billy took as booty in the war. Billy comes unstuck and is 44 years old, on... (full context)
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Science Fiction and Aliens Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
While Billy is on display in the zoo, a Tralfamadorian guide uses metaphors to explain to fellow... (full context)
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Science Fiction and Aliens Theme Icon
Money and Success Theme Icon
Billy comes unstuck and is making love to his wife on their wedding night. A green... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
Billy comes unstuck and is in the POW hospital in 1944. Derby is asleep. Billy wanders... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Science Fiction and Aliens Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
Billy travels to 1968. His daughter Barbara is angry that he has been writing to newspapers... (full context)
Chapter 6
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Billy wakes from his morphine slumber in the POW camp. He feels an “animal magnetism” behind... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Science Fiction and Aliens Theme Icon
Money and Success Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
...Englishman who injured him shot. He also promises that, as Weary requested, he will have Billy shot after the war as well. Because Billy can travel in time, he knows this... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
Billy, Lazzaro, and Derby go to the theater in the camp, where an election is to... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Billy and the Americans arrive in Dresden. Someone remarks that the city resembles Oz. This man... (full context)
Chapter 7
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Money and Success Theme Icon
Twenty-five years later, Billy is boarding the plane to the optometrists’ convention in Montreal, knowing it will crash. His... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
...quartet on the plane begins to sing for everyone’s amusement. They sing Polish songs and Billy recalls a Pole he saw hanging in Dresden, executed for sleeping with a German woman.... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
Billy is taken to a hospital; his brain injury is operated on by a famous surgeon... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
One of Billy’s jobs in Dresden is to seal boxes in a malt syrup factory. Billy takes some... (full context)
Chapter 8
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
...Jr., who wrote the anti-American book read by the Germans in the POW camp, visits Billy’s group in Slaughterhouse-Five two days before the bombing of Dresden. He wishes to recruit Americans... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Science Fiction and Aliens Theme Icon
Money and Success Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
...nothing happens, but the second night the bombing takes place and 130,000 Dresdners are killed. Billy sleeps and thinks about Kilgore Trout, whom his daughter says she would like to kill,... (full context)
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Science Fiction and Aliens Theme Icon
Money and Success Theme Icon
Billy first meets Trout when Trout is corralling his group of delivery boys (and one girl).... (full context)
Science Fiction and Aliens Theme Icon
Money and Success Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
Billy helps Trout deliver the papers of the boy who quits. Trout admits that he has... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
...(same as on the plane, later) sings “That Old Gang of Mine” to Valencia and Billy. Billy becomes sickened by the song and doesn’t understand why; he feels there is some... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
Trout follows Billy around the party and compares Billy’s expression to that of a dog standing on a... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Science Fiction and Aliens Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
Billy and Montana Wildhack are lying in bed in the Tralfamadorian zoo. Montana asks Billy to... (full context)
Chapter 9
War and Death Theme Icon
The chapter begins with the story of Valencia’s death. After hearing that Billy was in a plane crash in Vermont, Valencia drives the family Cadillac and, because she... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Money and Success Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
Meanwhile, Billy is in a hospital room in Vermont with a Harvard professor named Bertram Copeland Rumfoord,... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
...disarmament must take bombings like Dresden into account, conducted as they were with conventional weapons. Billy continues to mumble in his sleep. (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Money and Success Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
Barbara, having just learned that her mother is dead and her father gravely wounded, visits Billy, who is time-traveling: to 1958, prescribing lenses; to age 16, in a doctor's waiting room... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Money and Success Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
Rumfoord believes Billy is merely repeating what Rumfoord had been saying earlier; he does not believe Billy was... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Science Fiction and Aliens Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
Barbara takes Billy home, where a nurse can take care of him, but Billy sneaks off to a... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Science Fiction and Aliens Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
A clerk comes up to Billy and tells him that adult materials are in the back of the shop. Billy continues... (full context)
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Science Fiction and Aliens Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
Billy knows what actually happened to Montana: she was on Tralfamadore with him. He walks to... (full context)
Science Fiction and Aliens Theme Icon
Money and Success Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
Billy finds his way into a radio show in progress, its topic: the future of the... (full context)
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Science Fiction and Aliens Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
Billy is back on Tralfamadore with Montana, who says she knows he has been time-traveling. She... (full context)
Chapter 10
War and Death Theme Icon
Money and Success Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
...Vonnegut does not use the guns his father left him in his will. On Tralfamadore, Billy says the aliens care more about Darwin than Christ, since Darwin taught the necessity of... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Money and Success Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
...earth in the year 2000. Vonnegut says he supposes all those people “will want dignity.” Pilgrim is back in 1945, being marched into Dresden’s rubble, and Vonnegut says again that he,... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
Billy and a Maori prisoner dig and find numerous bodies; the hole is widened and a... (full context)
War and Death Theme Icon
Time, Time-travel, and Free Will Theme Icon
Witness and Truth Theme Icon
...the Russians, the corpse mines are closed, and the end of the war is announced. Billy walks out onto a street and sees the horse-cart and horses he will use to... (full context)