© 2015 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Slaughterhouse-Five

Slaughterhouse-Five

  

by Kurt Vonnegut

 Table of Contents

Slaughterhouse-Five Characters

Meet the Cast

Billy Pilgrim

Billy is the main character of Slaughterhouse-Five, but he's not exactly the hero of the book. Or rather, he doesn't have the heroic qualities usually associated with the main soldier in a story ab...

The Narrator

The narrator is—sorry to spoil it for you—pretty much Kurt Vonnegut. (Not that that's a bad thing: Vonnegut, as you can tell from reading this book, is awesome.) He talks from the first person...

Kilgore Trout

If you can read this dude's name without snickering, you're way ahead of us. Kilgore. Trout. This character must have been mocked so hard in middle school.A Visionary... Without TalentKilgore Trout...

The Tralfamadorians

The what-now? Oh, we're glad you asked. These guys are aliens... who look like toilet plungers.Not Spielberg's Kind of E.T.The Tralfamadorians are the aliens who bring Billy to their planet to exhi...

Edgar Derby

Edgar Derby is the unfortunate high school teacher and slightly older-than-average soldier who winds up getting shot at the end of the war for stealing a teapot from the rubble of Dresden. He is tr...

Paul Lazzaro

Lazzar(psych)oPaul Lazzaro is the fake name of a real guy the narrator mentions in the first chapter, who "really did threaten to have his personal enemies killed by hired gunmen after the war" (1....

Roland Weary

Maybe the Worst Guy You'll Ever MeetRoland Weary is an unpleasant little jerkface who finds Billy wandering around behind enemy lines after the Battle of the Bulge in Luxembourg. He is an 18-year-o...

Valencia Pilgrim

Valencia is Billy's extremely large and extremely good-natured wife. She never thought anyone would marry her because of her size, so she bursts into tears with gratitude the night of their honeymo...

Barbara Pilgrim

Barbara is Billy's daughter. In 1968, when Billy writes his letters about Tralfamadore to the local newspaper, she is only 21 and her mother has just died of carbon monoxide poisoning. The loss of...

Robert Pilgrim

Robert is Billy's son. He is a wild kid in high school, but then he joins the Marines and straightens out. In 1968 Robert is deployed in Vietnam, but he flies home when he receives the news of Bill...

Billy's Father

We don't get to see much of Billy's father... but we see enough not to like him all that much. We know pretty much four things about him: (1) He is a barber. That's why Billy's mother is so proud w...

Billy's Mother

Billy's mother is sort of like his wife, Valencia—Freud would have a field day. She is incredibly insensitive and barely notices what's going on with Billy at any given time. When Billy is stayin...

Howard W. Campbell, Jr.

Howard W. Campbell, Jr., like Bertram Copeland Rumfoord, actually appeared in a previous Vonnegut novel, called Mother Night (1961). Like Roland Weary, Campbell has this odd, invented identity for...

Bertram Copeland Rumfoord

Bertram Copeland Rumfoord—who originally appears in another of Vonnegut's books, The Sirens of Titan (1959)—is an incredibly energetic 70-year-old with a hottie 23-three-year-old wife. He winds...

Bernard V. O'Hare

Bernard V. O'Hare is the narrator's war buddy who accompanies him on his trip back to the slaughterhouse where they took shelter from the Dresden firebombing. He seems to be in the story pretty muc...

Mary O'Hare

Mary O'Hare is the wife of the narrator's war buddy, Bernard V. O'Hare. She is initially furious with the narrator because she thinks this great Dresden book he's writing is going to be a celebrati...

Gerhard Müller

The second person who appears in the book's dedication after Mary O'Hare is Gerhard Müller, the German taxi driver who takes the narrator and Bernard V. O'Hare to the real-life slaughterhouse wher...

The Narrator's Dad

The narrator's father only appears twice in the novel, but each time he seems to be fairly revealing of the narrator's own character. First, in Chapter 1, Section 4, when his father points out to t...

The Narrator's Wife

The narrator's wife is pretty darn minor as a character, but never let it be said that we here at Shmoop aren't thorough! Like Bernard V. O'Hare, she appears to be mostly a sounding board for the n...

Montana Wildhack

Montana Wildhack is a hot 20-year-old porn star/actress whom the Tralfamadorians pair Billy with in their zoo. After a gentlemanly week of waiting, Billy has sex with her and the two conceive a bab...

Eliot Rosewater

Eliot Rosewater is a captain in World War II. He winds up in the same veteran's hospital Billy checks himself into when he has his nervous breakdown before marrying Valencia. They both have had ter...

Wild Bob

Wild Bob is an American colonel and prisoner along with Billy at the Luxembourg/German border. As he is extremely sick, he imagines that Billy is a member of his own regiment and gives him a very m...

The Englishmen

The Englishmen are the first group of POWs the Americans meet when they are shipped from Luxembourg to a temporary prisoner camp in Germany. The Englishmen were captured early in the war and have b...

The British Colonel

The British colonel is the head of the Englishmen in the POW compound Billy stops at before heading to Dresden. He is incredibly committed to hygiene and believes that once you lose interest in you...

Lionel Merble

Lionel Merble is Valencia Pilgrim's father and Billy's father-in-law. He is an optometrist who brings Billy in on his business, giving him the kind of wealth and opportunity Billy never had growing...

Nanny

Nanny is the narrator's daughter. It's on a trip with her to the New York World's Fair in 1964 that the narrator first meets up with Bernard V. O'Hare to talk over the war.

Nancy

Nancy is a very minor character indeed, since she only appears in the fifth section of the first chapter, but she is one of several examples (including Bernard Copeland Rumfoord) of characters who...

The Blue Fairy Godmother

Paul Lazzaro tries to steal a pack of cigarettes from under the pillow of an Englishman, who wakes up and breaks his arm. This Englishman played the role of Blue Fairy Godmother in the English offi...

The German Major

This guy is the head of the POW camp where Billy Pilgrim meets the English officers. The German major loves the English prisoners because they look like what soldiers should look like. Conversely,...

Werner Gluck

Werner is a 16-year-old German charged with guarding Billy and Edgar Derby when they first arrive at Slaughterhouse-Five in Dresden. He doesn't know his way around, and as he tries to find the kitc...

Maggie White

Maggie White is the wife of an optometrist and a guest at Billy's anniversary party, to which he has invited Kilgore Trout. Trout is a hit with the optometrists because they all think he is some ki...

Lily Rumfoord

Lily Rumfoord is, along with Maggie White, is a hot-but-dumb woman who attaches herself to a powerful man. She is the 23-year-old wife of 70-year-old Bertram Copeland Rumfoord. She brings him books...

The Maori

The Maori are a group of native people from New Zealand. When Billy is assigned to dig up bodies in the rubble of Dresden, he works with a Maori man who was captured in the North African battle of...

The Dogs

There are a bunch of dogs in this novel. There is Sandy, the narrator's dog; Spot, a (sadly deceased) dog of Billy's; and Princess, the freezing-cold German shepherd who accompanies the soldiers th...

Lance Rumfoord

Bertram Copeland Rumfoord's nephew, whom Billy Pilgrim happens to see from the window of his honeymoon suite long before he meets Bertram Copeland Rumfoord.

Cynthia Landry

Lance Rumfoord's wife.
Advertisement
Advertisement