AP Lit Summer Assignment
Slaughter House Five; Essay One
In this particular passage, Billy Pilgrim has just gotten out of the hospital after his nearly fatal plane crash and managed to escape to New York City by himself. After being kicked out of a radio station for talking about his ideas about Tralfamadorians, he goes into one of his momentary time lapses. This one however, is entirely made up, unlike some of his war flashbacks. He is imagining he is involved with a movie star named Montana Wildhack, who has birthed their child.
This passage, as ridiculous and fictional as it is, helps bring pieces of the book together. For one, it addresses Billy’s discontent with his wife Valencia. He wishes that he had married a more beautiful woman to mother his children. That is why Montana is introduced as his ‘mate’ in the Tralfamadorian zoo. It is significant that Montana doesn’t like the author Kilgore Trout. This is Billy’s subconscious way of acknowledging the fact that reading Trout’s novels is not productive to his mental recovery and that he should stop reading them. They put ideas in his head and bring him to an entirely alternate frame of mind, which is quite detrimental because he already has trouble dealing with his past and what his future holds. Everyone in Tralfamadore seems to be at ease with their surroundings and accept any actions as inevitable. This drastically contradicts Billy’s outlook in reality. His psychological trips to Tralfamadore help the reader see what he wants for himself since he is not capable of expressing his ideas clearly in any other form. Tralfamadore is essentially Billy’s ‘perfect world’, where all his plans go accordingly, but it is also entirely metaphorical. Since it is a completely made up world, he can make things however he pleases them to be.
To understand Billy, the reader has to interpret the things he is imagining. Each event that happens in Tralfamadore signifies something in Billy’s life that he...