Twenty-five years Dresden, Billy boards a plane with other optometrists headed for a trade conference in Montreal. Billy knows that the plane will crash. It does, into Sugarbush Mountain and Billy lives with a fractured skull. Ski instructors wearing black ski masks arrive and check for signs of life. Billy whispers “Schlachthof-fünf” (Slaughterhouse Five in German), to communicate the address of his prison. A time trip after takes Billy to a factory that manufactures malt syrup. The malnourished prisoners who work at the factory secretly eat the syrup. Billy takes a spoonful on his second day at work. He hands a spoon of the syrup to Edgar Derby. When he tastes the syrup, he bursts into tears of joy. Chapter seven helps explain Einstein’s theory that objects change over time, and descriptions of an object require describing it at every moment. The descriptions we give are pieces that convey an object as it appears at a certain point. Chapter eight begins with Howard W. Campbell, Jr. speaking to the prisoners at the slaughterhouse. Edgar Derby stands up and denounces Campbell. An air-raid siren goes off, and everyone takes shelter in a meat locker. Billy falls asleep in the meat locker and travels back to a conversation with his daughter. She blames Kilgore Trout for Billy’s Tralfamadorian theories and talks. Billy recalls the first time he meets Trout in his hometown. Billy invites Trout to his wedding anniversary celebration. One of the women there, Maggie White, listens with concern as Trout tells her that publishing made-up stories is a fraud punishable by God and worthy of jail time. Trout then accidentally spits a piece of salmon roe into Maggie’s cleavage. A barbershop quartet called the Febs, sing a song about old friendships. Billy is shook when listening to them. Trout says that Billy has looked through a “time window.” Billy goes upstairs, where he walks in on his son holding a guitar as he sits on the toilet. Billy lays down, thinking about the past and why he’s bothered by the Febs. He remembers when Dresden was destroyed. The American prisoners had waited out the bombing and emerge to find Dresden destroyed. The four guard’s expressions on their faces remind Billy of a silent film of a barbershop quartet. Billy time-travels to Tralfamadorian, where Montana Wildhack asks him to tell her a story. He tells her of the destruction of Dresden. In Dresden, the guards and the prisoners walk around to look for food and water. At nightfall, they reach an inn untouched by bombs or flames. The innkeeper gives them soup and beer and a place to sleep. At the end of the night, the innkeeper says in German, “Good night, Americans. Sleep well.” In this chapter, Billy realizes he’s been hiding the most traumatic part of his life from himself. It is kind of ironic, but when thinking about his most traumatic moment, he doesn’t time travel, which says he is most in control of his emotions at this time. At the beginning of chapter nine, Valencia drives to the hospital where Billy is recovering from the plane crash. She hits another car and drives from the scene of the accident without a functioning exhaust system. She pulls up in front of the hospital, passes out from carbon monoxide poisoning, and dies one hour later. Billy is unconscious, time-traveling and oblivious to his wife’s passing. In the next bed, a Harvard history professor named Bertram Copeland Rumfoord is recovering from a skiing accident. Rumfoord is the official Air Force historian. When Billy regains consciousness, everyone thinks the accident has left him a vegetable. He is preparing to tell the world about Tralfamadores. Billy tells Rumfoord that he was in Dresden for the firebombing, but the professor does not believe him. Billy then travels back to a May afternoon in Dresden, two days before the end of the war. Billy finds a wagon hitched to two horses, and they fill it with food and souvenirs. Billy remains in the wagon and falls asleep under the warm sun. The sound of a middle-aged German couple talking about the horses awakens him. The animals’ mouths are bleeding, their hooves are broken, and they are dying of thirst. Billy had not noticed how badly they were injured. The couple makes Billy get out and look at the animals, and he begins to cry. He travels back to the hospital, and Billy’s daughter, Barbara, arrives to takes him home. She places him under the care of a live-in nurse. Billy escapes from the nurse and sneaks out to tell the world about Tralfamadores. Billy goes to Times Square and sees four Kilgore Trout books in the window of a bookstore. One of the books is about an earthling man and woman who are kidnapped by aliens and taken to a zoo on a faraway planet. Billy speaks about Tralfamadore and Montana Wildhack on a radio show. In this chapter, a large metaphor can be seen, basically comparing Billy to the horses. In fact, the parallels between the horses’ suffering and Billy’s own seem striking. The horses don’t understand the destruction around them. With no way of protesting their treatment, they obediently walk through Dresden even though every step on the rocks damages their hooves. Like Billy, the animals are victims of great suffering without understanding why. Chapter 10 is the conclusion of the book, just telling of after everything settles down. Tralfamadorians are now more interested in Darwin than Jesus. They like the Darwinian view that “corpses are improvements”. Vonnegut says that he is not overjoyed if what Billy learned from the Tralfamadorians about eternal existence is true. In spring, the Germans disappear to fight the Russians. The war ends. Trees sprout leaves. Billy finds the horses and the green, coffin-shaped wagon. A bird says to him, “Poo-tee-weet?”.
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