Slaughterhouse-Five Archive


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By way of introduction at readings, I often start with a poem about my hometown. “For those of you who don’t know me,” I say, “I’m from Schenectady, New York, and I think it is the greatest small city in the world.” I wait a beat before the punchline:

Big Picture, Small Picture: Context for Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five

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Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five, published March 31, 1969, follows anti-hero Billy Pilgrim, inspired by Edward Crone Jr., as he survives the Battle of the Bulge, German internment, and the Dresden firebombing, finally settling into a comfortable life as an optometrist in upstate New York.

Only A Novelist Will Be Able To Make Sense of This Election

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Years from now, the uncertainty and accompanying anxiety many of us have about the current political season may be displaced by different, more complicated emotions. Such perspective is cold comfort to the millions who are fearful of a possible Donald Trump presidency. For four years we have known that

The Candles and the Soap: On Vonnegut, Death, and Repetition

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Placed after a mention of death or dying, Kurt Vonnegut’s “So it goes” refrain throughout Slaughterhouse Five utilizes repetition to explore the inevitability of death. Early on in the book, Billy Pilgrim writes a letter to a newspaper about his experiences with extra terrestrials, and explains the origin of the phrase: When