Closereading of Slaughterhouse- five

Chapterfive of the Slaughterhouse-fivebook focuses on the life of the character, Billy, who is confined atthe hospital. At this time, Billy is in his final period of hislearning at a school called School of Optometry, and it is while herethat Billy is committed to this hospital. The hospital is meant forpatients who have mental problems, but ones that are not violent(Vonnegut, p.114) while here Billy is introduced to a science-fictionmaterial by one Eliot Rosewater who he meets at the hospital.Elsewhere, the story shifts to Edgar Derby who according to theauthor, is watching over Billy’s sickbed. On the other hand, Billytries to figure out how Derby’s death will occur a few days withthe firing squad being the method Derby is expected to die. In thissection, the author uses, the author chooses to employ a differentstyle from other biographies or fiction work. Billy is at the schoolbut still at the hospital, and later on is seen to have beeninfluenced by the stay in the mental facility.

Billyhad a fiancé called Valencia Merble who coincidentally, meets Billyat the hospital after the latter’s return to the facility. Theother part of the section shows Billy conversing with the aliensknown as Tralfamadorian who inform Billy of the imminent destructionof the world. They claim the world will end as a result of their ownpilot blowing it up. Further, the aliens tell Billy that reproductionin humans requires seven sexes, and this seems paradoxical to Billy. Both of these narrations prove too hard for Billy to comprehend(Vonnegut, p.115). This particular section can reveal a lot in thisbook one of which is the effects of association. When Billy visitedthe mental hospital, understanding things became somewhat difficult.Secondly, he met friends who embraced fiction as evidenced by theintroduction of the novel by the patient Eliot Rosewater.


Vonnegut,Kurt. Slaughterhouse-five,Or, the Children`s Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death.

London:Vintage, 2003. Print.


TheSouth vs the South

Anyonenot privy to the historic American civil war that happened between1861 and 1865 claiming over 600,000 lives would simply envy themodern-day US. However, this event shaped America and solidified thenotion that the United States is indeed united. The war was catalysedby the issue of slavery with some 11 states, under the name of theConfederacy or the South, seeking to secede from the United States.On the other, the North also called the Union stood opposed to thesecession demands of the South. Eventually, the Confederacycollapsed, but how this happened often attracts an intense debategiven the North lacked numeric advantage. The purpose of this essayis to compare and contrast the White anti-Confederates and blackanti-Confederates’ roles in shaping the Union’s victory.

Amajority of the White anti-Confederates distanced themselves from theSouth, and this left the group short of the required militarymanpower. Interestingly, even some blacks in the same region took asimilar position thus leaving the secessionists badly affected.According to Freehling (19), the Whites would always fight theConfederates whenever they attacked the areas they highly populated.Besides attacking the Confederates, the Southerners joined the Unionand this adversely affected the Confederates’ ability to tackle thehighly militarised North. Worse still, the Confederates sufferedgreatly since the black people did not massively join their army. Infact, some of them sought to avoid the war altogether by fleeingalbeit with much difficulties.

Additionally,joining the Union in a bid to fight the Confederate was reported onboth sides, but the Whites anti-Confederates were the first ones.When the secessionists realised that their black counterparts werenot joining them in large numbers as expected, they started killingthem. Consequently, the blacks found it wise to not only seekprotection from the Union, but also offer help. At first, the Unionactually killed some of them, but when the number kept on increasingthe group realised that, “blacks were hardly violentinsurrectionists” (Freehling 23). Thus, the two sides shared asimilarity in this war since they joined hands in fighting the South.

Collaborationis evident in both sides, and this could explain the reason for theUnion’s victory despite lacking numerical strength initially. Eventhough the blacks first sought to flee from the war-torn areas, theylater collaborated with the Union. Similarly, the Whiteanti-confederates did not oppose the Northern counterparts despitethe fact that they were attacking the regions deemed as theirs.Instead, they could fight the secessionists even without theknowledge of the Union. Worth noting though is that the Union’sapproach of neutrality greatly helped in winning both the whites andthe blacks anti-confederates. While it is factual the group oppressedthe fugitives, it later liberated them in the southern side(Freehling 55).

Onedifference in the white anti-confederates and black anti-confederatesis that the latter embraced non-violent means. While the whites inthe South engaged in war activities right from the onset, the blacksavoided it before joining the Northern force. In fact, even beforeagreeing to fight the Confederates, the blacks committed themselvesnot to engage in violence so long as the Union protected them(Freehling 66). Again, the Union mainly made of the whites weresomewhat reluctant to admit the blacks in their military especiallythe ones from the southern side. However, when it became apparentthat the side could use this situation to its advantage, it changedthe approach and incorporated the blacks.

Anotherdifference that shows how the two sides shaped the victory of theUnion is that the Abraham Lincoln government showed care to theslaves. One of the orders the president gave was that the runawayswere not to be oppressed rather, they were to be first fed, and thenclothed before being armed. On the other hand, this did not need tohappen to the white anti-Confederates since they were not enslaved.In 1863, Lincoln tasked Lorenzo Thomas with enticing the fugitives,set up a contraband labour camp and ensuring blacks defended thegarrisons (Freehling 73).

Greattenacity when it came to fighting the insurgents could be seen onboth sides though the motives vary. The blacks needed to win thecompassion of their seemingly saviours, the Union, who surprisinglywere sceptical of the former. On the other hand, the whites knew thata victory for the South would spell doom to their tradition of hiringslaves (Freehling 83). Even though the war culminated in theabolishment of slavery, the two sides had own interests at heartwhile fighting the civil war.

Inconclusion, the South was divided into two groups during the civilwar with one side opposing the other, thus helping the Union. Whilethe Confederates cited slavery as the reason for the uprising hopingthe blacks, many of whom were enslaved, would join forces, thistactic backfired. The white anti-confederates and their blackcounterparts collaborated in exerting a defeat to the South. Theblacks first feared and fled the war before embracing it the whiteswere in it from the onset. While differences and similarities existin the approaches employed by each of these two, the outcome wasfavourable to all: slavery abolishment was halted.


Freehling,William W. TheSouth Vs. the South: How Anti-Confederate Southerners Shaped the

Courseof the Civil War.Oxford [u.a.: Oxford Univ. Press, 2001. Print.