Impress your teachers by preparing ahead of time for class discussion:
Question: What is the significance of the title of the novel?
Answer: Slaughterhouse Five is where Billy Pilgrim, Kurt Vonnegut, and about a hundred other Americans were imprisoned in Dresden, Germany toward the end of World War II. The fire bombing of Dresden is the central and unifying event in the novel.
Question: What evidence is there that Billy Pilgrim is insane?
Answer: (1) He speaks of being kidnapped by Tralfamadorians and being kept in a zoo with actress Montana Wildhack, with whom he mates; (2) He checks himself into a mental hospital in 1948 because his life no longer has meaning; (3) Billy claims he travels through time; (4) Billy sobs uncontrollably after the war, a sign of post traumatic stress disorder; (5) Billy needs a vibrating bed in order to sleep at night and falls asleep while giving eye examinations.
Question: Why does Vonnegut structure the novel so strangely?
Answer: Vonnegut felt there was no logic in war and a traditional structure to his novel would not reflect war's absurdity. In short, the novel's structure matches its theme.