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September 21 , 2008

Quicklet On Slaughterhouse-Five By Kurt Vonnegut


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Celestine North lives a perfect life. She's a model daughter and sister, she's well-liked by her classmates and teachers, and she's dating the impossibly charming Art Crevan.But then Celestine encounters a situation in which she makes an instinctive decision. She breaks a rule and now faces life-changing repercussions. She could be imprisoned. She…

While Slaughterhouse-Five may be found in the fiction section of the library, the major events of its plot are based primarily on the true events of World War II as experienced by its author. Kurt Vonnegut Jr. was really present and tucked away in a meat locker with a hundred other Allied prisoners and four German guards when the city of Dresden was bombed in early 1945, killing 135,000 citizens. He was captured by German forces during the Battle of the Bulge in 1944, while serving as a battalion scout in the 106th Infantry division. The Germans transferred him and hundreds of other Allied POWs to the Czechloslovakian border by boxcar, then to a work camp in Dresden. There, he lived in an old slaughterhouse known as Slaughterhouse-Five.

Today, Slaughterhouse-Five is standing and intact, and visitors can take guided tours. Additionally, as stated in Chapter One, many major and minor characters are based on people Vonnegut knew during the real-life war. As the narrator says, one guy I knew really was shot in Dresden for taking a teapot that wasn't his. Another guy I knew really did threaten to have his personal enemies killed by hired gunmen after the war. And so on. I've changed all the names.

Though many critics loved Slaughterhouse-Five upon its publication and beyond – nominating it for two major science-fiction literary awards and placing it on countless greatest-American-novel lists – it has been criticized for being obscene due to its violent and sexual content as well as its nihilistic outlook. Despite this, it stayed on the best-seller list for more than half the year of its publication and is still popular amongst students and literary types.

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