Slaughterhouse-Five Discussion Questions

August 23, 2016

Slaughterhouse Five


by Kurt Vonnegut

Jackie B’s original book review will be found here when she writes it… O_o

1. What did you think of the story? Did you like it? Love it? Hate it? What made you lean that way?

2. This book is a semi-autobiographical account of the fire-bombing of Dresden. What similarities did you find between Vonnegut and O’Hare?

3. Billy Pilgrim is a complex character. Do you believe he represented the Everyman, the author, or someone else? Why?

4. The subtitle of this book is A Children’s Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death. Do you believe this subtitle adds value or insight to the book? Why do you think Vonnegut provided this?

5. This novel is written in a unique style. There are cinematic techniques, such as hard cuts and fades, there are long scenes and short scenes, and the content jumps back and forth in time quite a bit. What did you enjoy about this format? Did you struggle to adapt? What didn’t you like this?

6. Have you read any of Vonnegut’s other works before? If so, how does this compare to his other books? If not, will you read more of Vonnegut’s work in the future?

7. Vonnegut “graded” his own books. The only two of his books he gave an A+ to were Slaughterhouse-Five and Cat’s Cradle. Do you agree with his assessment? If you have read Cat’s Cradle, how do they compare? Why do you think this book received such a high mark from the author?

8. Did any of the characters speak to you? Did they seem real and believable? Who was your favorite character?

9. In chapter two, we learn that Billy Pilgrim becomes “unstuck in time”. What does this mean to you? If this phrase was omitted, would you have interpreted this book differently?

10. What does the phrase, “So it goes.” mean to you?

11. What do you believe the major themes are of this book?

12. Is this book either pro- or anti-war?

13. What do you think of the Trafamadorian’s view: “If we can’t change anything because it is set in time, there is no such thing as free will.” Do you agree? Do you believe in free will? Why?

14. Slaughterhouse Five has been the subject of censorship for many years. It has been banned from many school curriculums for reasons including “shocking material”. How do you feel about the banning of books? Do you believe this book should be banned to come groups?

15. Billy thinks of himself as a prophet. Do you believe he is? If so, what kind of prophet? If not, why?

16. Did you identify any favorite quotes or passages? Are you willing to share?



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