Intense and seemingly unwarranted flashbacks or memory triggers are one of the hallmark symptoms of post- traumatic stress disorder, and this quote seems to indicate that Billy's trauma is something he is only subconsciously aware of. It is just an illusion we have 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. Science fiction was a big help. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. There is no beginning, no middle, no end, no suspense, no moral, no causes, no effects. He was powerless to harm the enemy or to help his friends. It is important for many reasons.
This quote becomes even more meaningful at the end of Chapter 9, when it is revealed that the serenity prayer is engraved in Montana Wildhack's locket, suggesting that Billy's experiences on Tralfamadore are delusions where the details have been filled in from elements of his reality. You will get an enormous reward. The one characteristic of authentic power that most people overlook is humbleness. It was disgust with civilization. Whether you interpret Billy's experience to be real or imagined, this quote is an important insight into the idea that a moment is never really gone, but rather than only focusing on the good moments, as the Tralfamadorians suggest, Billy is continually brought back to the horror of war. He was a valet to a preacher, expected no promotions or medals, bore no arms, and had a meek faith in a loving Jesus which most soldiers found putrid. His father was going to throw Billy into the deep end, and Billy was going to damn well swim.
They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. You might as well have asked that of Beethoven. He has supposed for years that he had no secrets from himself. The Tralfamadorians can look at all the different moments just the way we can look at a stretch of the Rocky Mountains, for instance. And Billy had seen the greatest massacre in European history, which was the fire-bombing of Dresden. Literature should not disappear up its own asshole, so to speak. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward — and since I can start thinking and striving again that much sooner.
I just got here myself. It was an extremely quiet thing Billy did, and not very moist. They had both found life meaningless, partly because of what they had seen in war. Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion, to the futility of thinking and striving anymore. I belong to an unholy disorder. His or her perception goes beyond the shell of appearance and into essence. Today marks the release of , the first official biography of the great American writer and counterculture icon.
In fact, he had no friends. Here was proof that he had great big secret somewhere inside, and he could not imagine what it was. Do it as well as you possibly can. Laughs are exactly as honorable as tears. But it has always been a mess.
The arts are not a way to make a living. Everybody is supposed to be dead, to never say anything or want anything ever again. Rosewater, for instance, had shot a fourteen-year-old fireman, mistaking him for a German soldier. He was goofing around in Germany like everybody else, and all of a sudden this stuff came gushing out of him. And this engineer knows exactly what he or she is doing and why, and where evolution is headed. Among the things Billy Pilgrim could not change were the past, the present, and the future. This is a Tralfamadorian motto, Billy Pilgrim explains, and he seems to embrace it.
A humble person walks in a friendly world. While we think Billy's breakdown probably has a little something to do with the war, we do agree that this scene represents pretty much everything that's wrong with Billy's life in miniature. You will have created something. What we love in our books are the depths of many marvelous moments seen all at one time. Both men have been traumatized by the war, and end up seeking comfort and solace in the science fiction works of Kilgore Trout, despite having different backgrounds and experiences. It was like an execution.
He or she sees friends everywhere he or she looks, wherever he or she goes, whomever he or she meets. And I myself am a work of fiction. He was under doctor's orders to take a nap every day. You will have entertained us. Billy was a chaplain's assistant in the war. Everything is supposed to be very quiet after a massacre, and it always is, except for the birds. It acknowledges life as a dream.
I was goofing around like everybody else in Indiana, and all of a sudden stuff came gushing out. They can see how permanent all the moments are, and they can look at any moment that interests them. . He has no choice about being tossed into the pool and he has no choice about being saved from it— much like he has no choice but to go fight in the Battle of the Bulge, and he has no choice but to keep going afterwards. So they were trying to re-invent themselves and their universe.
A lot of patients who saw the prayer on Billy's wall told him that it helped them to keep going, too. All the great story lines are great practical jokes that people fall for over and over again. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Vonnegut is known not only for his writing but also for his strong ideas, witty remarks, and delightful irreverence, both in his novels and in speeches and commentary. The doctor hoped that this would relieve a complaint that Billy had: Every so often, for no apparent reason, Billy Pilgrim would find himself weeping. It expresses a general sense of resignation to the way things are.