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by Kurt Vonnegut

Slaughterhouse-Five Suffering Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Section.Paragraph)

Quote #7

So Billy made a [syrup] lollipop for [Edgar Derby]. He opened the window. He stuck the lollipop into poor old Derby's gaping mouth. A moment passed, and then Derby burst into tears. (7.11.2)

Edgar Derby, who has been the strongest of the American POWs throughout the whole book, is reduced to tears by the taste of syrup in his mouth after so much hunger. Again, this novel really takes the romance out of warfare and exposes the incredible deprivation that war really brings to the men fighting it.

Quote #8

Nobody talked much as the expedition crossed the moon. There was nothing appropriate to say. One thing was clear: Absolutely everybody in the city was supposed to be dead, regardless of what they were, and that anybody that moved in it represented a flaw in the design. There were to be no moon men at all. (8.26.2)

From a distance, from the perspective of the American fighter planes flying over Dresden, no one can be allowed to live. The pilot doesn't know whether he is shooting German soldiers, civilians, or even Americans. This kind of detached perspective on killing is what makes massacres like Dresden possible. Even someone as cold and callous as Bertram Copeland Rumfoord recognizes that it must have been especially hard for Billy to experience Dresden's firestorm at ground level.

Quote #9

The Maori Billy had worked with died of the dry heaves, after having been ordered to go down in that stink and work. He tore himself to pieces, throwing up and throwing up. (10.10.3)

Even without being injured directly, the presence of so much death is so incompatible with life that it kills this Maori soldier from the inside out.

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