“Billy had a fractured skull, but he was still conscious. He didn’t know where he was. His lips were working, and one of the golliwogs put his ear close to them to hear what might be his dying words.
Billy thought the golliwog had something to do with Word War Two, and he whispered to him his address: ‘Schlachthof-fünf.'”Pg. 156
While I was reading the quote from the novel, this song was the only thing I could think of. Now, I know I’ve already used a Five Finger Death Punch song in a previous chapter, but I’m going to use another one.
Five Finger Death Punch, no matter how silly the name of the band may sound, is a phenomenal and highly influential band. They have a strong pro-American, anti-war rhetoric that I find perfect for the theme of Slaughterhouse-Five and the trauma Billy faces, as the band touches on the side effects of war and the PTSD it leaves men with.
The specific lyrics I quoted under the video and the quote from the novel tie together perfectly to hit me like a vehicle going 93 miles per hour, especially the last line. I feel Billy can relate to it more than anything else.
Home from the war, Billy is still not truly home. Following a plane crash that kills every one, including his father-in-law, Billy and the co-pilot are the sole survivors of this horrific accident. Billy and the co-pilot are discovered by mountain hikers, to which Billy tells them his address is Slaughterhouse-Five. That was only his address while a prisoner of war in Dresden.
Thank you for shattering my heart into hundreds of little pieces, Vonnegut. Very classy. I’m also looking at you, Dr. Ferguson, since you’re the one who assigned this novel to me. I won’t attempt to put my heart back together anymore since I know Vonnegut will find another way to shatter it.
I wonder what it is like to be Billy, to live a nightmare that is impossible to escape. I wonder how painful it is to never be able to escape your past. I wonder how painful it is to relive it every day, for every waking moment to be filled with thoughts of the most sickening part of your life.
The weirdest part of it all is that I’ve never wanted to speak to a character before now. I’ve never wanted a character to come to life so I could say something to them.
To Billy Pilgrim, though, I want to say, “I’m so sorry for what they’ve done.”
Thrown into a war he never asked for, Billy is left scarred with the crippling memories of it. In fact, it is the war that kills Billy, both metaphorically and physically. Billy loses a large piece of himself in the war. His will to live, his love of life, is left behind in a war that took everything from him and stripped him of his humanity. It is also in the war that Billy meets a man that vows to have him killed after WWII is over. That man holds his promise to be true, and Billy is assassinated years after he has returned home.
I’m so sorry, Billy Pilgrim. Truly. You did not deserve it.