Slaughterhouse-Five Take-home quiz and Discussion Outline
1. Discuss Billy Pilgrim. In what ways is he ordinary? In what ways is he
exceptional? Discuss the significance of his name.
2. Discuss Billy’s family. What function do they seem to serve in the story?
3. Discuss the character of Roland Weary. What function does he seem to serve in
4. Discuss the character of Paul Lazzaro. What function does he seem to serve in the
5. Discuss the character of Edgar Derby. What function does he seem to serve in the
6. What Tralfamadorians do they about the function What story in the serve ??
7. Discuss Montana Wildhack? In what ways is she ordinary? In what ways is she
exceptional? Discuss the significance of her name.
8. Vonnegut believes that the vast majority of humanity is completely
inconsequential; that is, they do what they do because they must. Support or
dispute this argument.
9. What act is the emotional climax of the book? Discuss.
10. A technique Vonnegut uses is the chorus "So it goes" every time a passage deals
with mortality, death, or dying, or to explain the unexplained. What does his use
of this phrase mean to you?
11. Another literary technique pioneered by Vonnegut is “metafiction” as a device.
As the author of the book, Vonnegut places himself as a minor character through
the story. He even apologizes for the haphazard manner in which the books details
are presented. He also appears in the character of Kilgore Trout, a failed science
fiction writer. What does this add to or subtract from the work?
12. Discuss the Dresden bombing, and your beliefs about the morality of this action.
13. Because of its content (swearing by American soldiers, some sexually explicit
passages) Slaughterhouse-Five is one of the most frequently banned works in
American high schools. Do you feel that it is a novel worth reading? Defend or
attack the novel in your own words.