Child of War: Story of Dresden

Slaughterhouse Five Chapter 1 Explication

Summary of Chapter 1

In Chapter 1 of Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut creates his setting in Dresden during the 1960s while recalling his time as a POW during World War 2. The bombing at Dresden, the unforgiving 3,900 tons of bombs dropped, the unforgiving destruction of 15 miles of land, the unforgiving annihilation of 25,000 people, and the unforgiving memory of the misery it left behind are highlighted by Vonnegut as he describes: "Not many Americans knew how much worse it had been then Hiroshima, for instance" (10). Vonnegut uses his personal experiences, and a descriptive style, and a candid tone, and blunt sentences to achieve credibility and understanding in his audience. Because Vonnegut uses descriptive writing, his audience's sense are appealed to. Vonnegut chose the descriptive style in order to make it seem like his experience belonged to the audience as well, with tactful syntax in each sentence strong use of rhetorical strategies with in each paragraph, and distinctive qualities that persuade the audience to feel gloomy and dark.

Analysis of language

Throughout chapter 1, Vonnegut develops his argument by using a brusque writing style while recalling his time as a POW. While using much emotion and a little sarcasm in his syntax, Vonnegut creates a complex tone that is blunt and solemn and gloomy and humorous and earnest. The tone of his writing successfully develops his argument of disapproval of drafting young boys that are untrained physically and mentally. Even though Vonnegut is a wonderful example of how war can destroy the innocence of a young boy, there is still the counterargument of the fact that our country needs soldiers to fight and even though it may not be convenient for the soldiers to be thrown on a battlefield with a gun and told to shoot and protect, it is the only way to keep our freedom that we have fought for.

Expectations of book

Vonnegut teases the audiences with foreshadowing in Chapter 1, they wonder what's next, believe they know, twists and turns await them. We expect to read a lurid twist on Vonnegut's personal experiences in Dresden, along with a fictional touch. Vonnegut is expected to develop his "So it goes" motif into a complicated concept, and unfold the events that lead into his experiences during his time as a POW. Similar to other American literature and what we have read in Chapter 1, we expect Vonnegut to possess that notorious and infectious bipolar writing style.


Two common motifs used throughout chapter one were death and time. Death was always followed by the phrase "so it goes" to represent that it has happened and there is nothing that can be done to change it. Time represents that life does not have a beginning, middle, or end but is rather a large picture. Vonnegut describes his life in a big disjointed picture because does not feel constrain to a moment but that life can be many moments. Throughout this book I believe Vonnegut will continue to be free with his moments. He will tell the end when he thinks of it and perhaps start his story at the end. Once completed, however, the whole story will make sense.

Stuck in a Blob of Amber