Slaughterhouse-Five Chapter 1, Section 5 Summary
- During college, the narrator works for the Chicago City News Bureau.
- The narrator tells us about the first story he ever reported, about a poor guy just back from the war working as an elevator operator.
- He's supposed to bring the elevator down to the basement, but his wedding ring gets caught in the metal ornaments surrounding the elevator, and the elevator squashes his body.
- So the narrator calls in this story to this lady writer for her to type up. And she asks him: how did the poor shmo's wife respond? The wife doesn't know yet, says our narrator.
- The writer tells the narrator to call the wife posing as a member of the police department so he can get the wife's initial reaction to her husband's death.
- Our narrator does call the wife. And she responds with "about what you would expect her to say" (1.5.10).
- When he calls back with the wife's reaction, the woman writer asks what the guy's body looked like after being squashed – just because she wants to know.
- The narrator tells her. (We find out that her name is Nancy.) It doesn't bother him, he says, because he's seen lots worse in the war.
People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...
Noodle's College Search