Study Guide

Slaughterhouse-Five Chapter 5, Section 24

By Kurt Vonnegut

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Chapter 5, Section 24

  • Billy hears Eliot Rosewater come in and lie down on his bed.
  • Billy's mother comes in and sits down next to Billy's bed.
  • Rosewater greets Billy's mother. Rosewater is trying to be really sympathetic with everyone he meets to see if it will make the world a better place.
  • Billy's mother tells Rosewater that one day, when she is there, Billy is going to uncover his head and say, "Hello, Mom…Gee, it's good to see you, Mom. How have you been?" (5.24.5).
  • Billy's mother says she prays for that every night. She then asks Rosewater if his mother comes to see him often.
  • She doesn't: Rosewater's mother is dead. Still, Rosewater says, his mother had a happy life while it lasted.
  • Billy's mother tells Rosewater that Billy's father is dead.
  • And it goes on and on, this empty duet between the two.

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