Study Guide

Slaughterhouse-Five Chapter 5, Section 27

By Kurt Vonnegut

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Chapter 5, Section 27

  • The head Englishman, a colonel captured at the Battle of Dunkirk, comes in to check on Billy.
  • Edgar Derby says Billy's still alive, but dead to the world—in other words, unconscious.
  • The colonel says it must be nice to be alive but feel nothing.
  • The colonel then tells Derby that Derby and Billy are the only two American prisoners who haven't shaved yet.
  • When the colonel sees the American prisoners with clean-shaven faces, he thinks they all seem really young: like they're in the Children's Crusade.
  • The two men continue their conversation, which amounts to this: a lot of troops are being injured and killed.
  • Derby and his men surrendered to the Germans to avoid being killed.

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