All In Good Storytime

category: Literature

Page Thirty-Nine--A Pilgrim of Sorts


In these chapters, we first hear from Vonnegut regarding his time in Dresden during WWII and his motivation for writing this book. We are then introduced to the time traveling American WWII vet Billy who claims he was once kidnapped by aliens and taken to the planet Tralfamadore.

We discuss the interesting framing device used by Vonnegut which opens the story with a first chapter that almost feels more like an introduction separate from the main plot. We continue by discussing Billy, the main protagonist of the story, and his role as a nerdy boy soldier. We also examine how while Vonnegut explicitly avoids romanticizing the war, Weary, Billy's war companion, intentionally glamorizes every aspect of his life as a soldier. We look at Billy's unfortunate adult life in the 60s which is filled with money and prestige but still sees him turn to Magic Fingers to address his bouts of weeping. We question whether the aliens are real, a plot device, or a result of Billy's shock therapy after the war.


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