Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse-Five” Quotes (61 Quotes)





    Trout's leading robot looked like a human being, and could talk and dance and so on, and go out with girls. And nobody held it against him that he dropped jellied gasoline on people. But they found his halitosis unforgivable. But then he cleared that up, and he was welcomed to the human race.



    It is just an illusion here on Earth that one moment follows another one, like beads on a string, and that once a moment is gone, it is gone forever.

    The city was blacked out because bombers might come, so Billy didn't get to see Dresden do one of the most cheerful things a city can do when the sun goes down, which is to wink its lights on one by one.

    We went to the New York World's Fair, saw what the past had been like, according to the Ford Motor Car Company and Walt Disney, saw what the future would be like, according to General Motors. And I asked myself about the present: how wide it was, how deep it was, how much was mine to keep.

    Billy's smile as he came out of the shrubbery was at least as peculiar as Mona Lisa's, for he was simultaneously on foot in Germany in 1944 and riding his Cadillac in 1967.

    It is so short and jumbled and jangled because there is nothing intelligent to say after a massacre. Everybody is supposed to be dead...everything is supposed to be very quiet...and it always is, except for the birds.

    The dog, who had sounded so ferocious in the winter distances, was a female German Shepherd. She was shivering. Her tail was between her legs. She had been borrowed that morning from a farmer. She had never been to war before. She had no idea what game was being played. Her name was Princess.

    What we love in our books are the depths of many marvelous moments seen all at once.There is no beginning, no middle, no end, no suspense, no moral, no causes, no effects. When seen all at once, they produce an image of life that is beautiful and surprising and deep.

    Earthlings are the great explainers, explaining why this event is structured as it is, telling how other events may be achieved or avoided.




    Echolalia is a mental disease which makes people immediately repeat things that well people around them say. But Billy didn't really have it. Rumfoord simply insisted, for his own comfort, that Billy had it. Rumfoord was thinking in a military manner: that an inconvenient person, one whose death he wished for very much, for practical reasons, was suffering from a repulsive disease.

    Later on in life, the Tralfamadorians would advise Billy to concentrate on the happy moments of his life, and to ignore the unhappy ones - to stare only at pretty things as eternity failed to go by.

    The nicest veterans in Schenectady, I thought, the kindest and funniest ones, the ones who hated war the most, were the ones who'd really fought.

    When the bombers got back to their base, the steel cylinders were taken from the racks and shipped back to the United States of America, where factories were operating night and day, dismantling the cylinders, separating the dangerous contents into minerals. Touchingly, it was mainly women who did this work. The minerals were the shipped to specialists in remote areas. It was their business to put them into the ground, to hide them cleverly, so that they would never hurt anybody ever again.



    The river was the Hudson. There were carp in there and we saw them. They were as big as atomic submarines. We saw waterfalls, too, streams jumping off cliffs into the valley of the Delaware.

    Whereas the staff, of course, was devoted to the idea that weak people should be helped as much as possible, that nobody should die.



    The umpire had comical news. The congregation had been theoretically spotted from the air by a theoretical enemy. They were all theoretically dead now. The theoretical corpses laughed and ate a hearty noontime meal.


    God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to always tell the difference.


    There are almost no characters in this story, and almost no dramatic confrontations, because most of the people in it are so sick and so much the listless playthings of enormous forces. One of the main effects of war, after all, is that people are discouraged from being characters.


    Nobody talked much as the expedition crossed the moon. There was nothing appropriate to say. One thing was clear: Absolutely everybody in the city was supposed to be dead, regardless of what they were, and that anybody that moved in it represented a flaw in the design. There were to be no moon men at all.

    There in the hospital Billy was having an adventure very common among people without power in times of war: he was trying to prove to a willfully deaf and blind enemy that he is interesting to hear and see.

    He did not think of himself as a writer for the simple reason that the world had never allowed him to think of himself in this way.

    On Tralfamadore, says Billy Pilgrim, there isn't much interest in Jesus Christ. The Earthling figure who is most engaging to the Tralfamadorian mind, he says, is Charles Darwin - who taught that those who die are meant to die, that corpses are improvements. So it goes.

    There is one other book,. that can teach you everything you need to know about life...it's The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, but that's not enough anymore.



    One might be led to suspect that there were all sorts of things going on in the Universe which he or she did not thoroughly understand.

    There was a still life on Billy's bedside table-two pills, an ashtray with three lipstick-stained cigarettes in it, one cigarette still burning, and a glass of water. The water was dead. So it goes. Air was trying to get out of the dead water. Bubbles were clinging to the walls of the glass, too weak to climb out.


    He supposed that they were part of an amazing new phase of World War Two. It was all right with him. Everything was pretty much all right with Billy.


    They didn't think it had anything to do with the war. They were sure Billy was going to pieces because his father had thrown him into the deep end of the Y.M.C.A. swimming pool when he was a little boy, and had then taken him to the rim of the Grand Canyon.

    Americans, like human beings everywhere, believe many things that are obviously untrue, the monograph went on. Their most destructive untruth is that it is very easy for any American to make money. They will not acknowledge how in fact how hard money is to come by, and, there, those who have no money blame and blame and blame themselves.

    Human beings in there took turns standing or lying down. The legs of those who stood were like fence posts driven into a warm, squirming, farting, sighing earth. The queer earth was a mosaic of sleepers who nestled like spoons.





    More Kurt Vonnegut Quotations (Based on Topics)


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