Cover of the first print

Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children's Crusade: A Duty Dance with Death is the full title of 1969's Kurt Vonnegut's novel, often abbreviated as Slaughterhouse-Five. It tells a story of Bill Pilgrim, an American soldier fighting in Germany during World War II. It includes autobiographical and time-travelling motifs.


The subtitle "The Children's Crusade: A Duty Dance with Death" establishes an anti-war theme. This name's origin is explained in the novel maybe midway through the text: Billy Pilgrim promises a friend's wife to portray tragedy that is war with his novel.

The origin of the book's subtitle, as can be found told maybe midway through its text, establishes Slaughterhouse-Five as an anti-war book. In the book war is aptly described as death, and death is another motif

Plot[edit | edit source]

The novel jumps around within the lifespan of Billy Pilgrim including scenes from WWII. The climax is actually the bombing of the [country's] city Dresden, a battle or decimation that did not immediately receive publicity.

Criticism[edit | edit source]

The books is not quite compelling. Superbly written, superficially nuanced, yet missing cumulative depth that might come, e.g., from significant relationship development.

References in other texts of culture[edit | edit source]

  • In Alan Moore/David Loyd's short comic book series V for Vendetta the main character is kept in the cell number five, written 'V'. He also gardens roses and detonates mustard gas to run from imprisonement. These two motifs also appear in Slaughterhouse-Five.

External links[edit | edit source]

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