Slaughterhouse Five Chapters 6-8 Summary

     Chapter six opens during WWII on the day after Billy's night spent in the prison hospital on morphine. Billy wakes up, unsure of where or when he is, and feels drawn towards something behind him, which turns out to be the fur collared coat the Germans gave him. Billy feels two lumps hidden in the lining, but doesn't look to see what they are.

     The Englishmen come through the hospital with supplies to transfer their living quarters, and Lazzaro tells the Blue Fairy Godmother that he's going to have him killed after the war. Lazzaro professes that revenge is the sweetest thing in life, and goes on to tell Billy and Edgar Derby how he got revenge on a dog that bit him by filling a steak with pointed pieces of metal, and watched the dog in agony afterwards. Lazzaro also tells Billy that he promised Roland Weary he'd have Billy killed. Thanks to time travel, Billy knows that this is indeed how he will die. In the year 1976, he will give a speech to a large crowd in Chicago on the subject of time and flying saucers, and will be shot afterwards by a man Lazzaro hires.

     Billy, Lazzaro and Derby are told to leave the hospital, and they return to the theatre where the rest of the Americans are sleeping. While trying to sleep, Billy notices a pair of boots, painted silver from the Cinderella play, and takes them to replace his worn out shoes. Soon after an Englishman announces to the Americans that they will leave for Dresden that afternoon, a beautiful city with no war industries that will never be bombed. The Americans are told to elect a leader, and Edgar Derby wins the election as the only nominee.

     After a short train ride, the Americans arrive in Dresden, and march through the pristine city that appears almost untouched by the war surrounding it. People of the city laugh at the sight of Billy, who is wearing silver boots, a blue curtain as a toga, and using his fur-collared coat as a muff. One man in the street believes Billy's appearance is meant to mock them, and becomes angry with him. Confused, Billy withdraws the items from the lining of his coat and shows them to the man: a two carat diamond and a partial denture. Eventually the Americans are led to the Dresden slaughterhouse, where they will be housed in building number five.

     Chapter seven opens with Billy moving forward in time twenty-five years, aboard a plane to Montreal with his father in law, Lionel Merble, and other optometrists. Billy is aware that the plane will crash, but when it does, he has a skull fracture, and believes himself to be back in WWII. Billy is rescued by Austrian ski instructors, and is taken to a hospital to have brain surgery. While unconscious, Billy has dreams and travels through time.

     Moving back in time to his first evening in the slaughterhouse, Billy walks with Derby and a sixteen-year-old German guard named Werner Gluck, looking for the kitchen. Through one door they accidentally come across teenage girls, German refugees, who are showering. These are the first naked women Billy has ever seen. In the month spent in Dresden before its destruction, Billy and the Americans do work washing windows, sweeping floors, and sealing jars and boxes in a factory that makes malt syrup for pregnant women. Despite it being a crime, Billy and his fellow prisoners secretly eat the syrup all day.

     Two days before Dresden is bombed, the Americans are visited by Howard W. Campbell, Jr., an American who has become a Nazi. It is Campbell's writings that the German colonel at the prison camp was quoting about the poor behavior of American prisoners of war. Campbell is visiting them to attempt to recruit them to the Nazi side in order to fight against the Russians. Most of the Americans are too tired to care what Campbell has to say, but Edgar Derby makes a rousing speech about America, and how they must fight to crush the Nazis. An air raid siren sounds, and they take refuge in a meat locker. Asleep in the meat locker that night, Billy travels in time to his argument with Barbara about Billy's letters to the newspaper, which Barbara blames on the science fiction writer, Kilgore Trout.

     In 1964, Billy meets Kilgore Trout in an alley in Ilium, where Trout is yelling at the kids who sell the Ilium Gazette, for which Trout is a circulation man. After one of the delivery boys quits, Billy introduces himself, and helps Trout to deliver the papers. Billy invites Trout to his eighteenth anniversary party, and at the party Billy is overcome with strange emotion during a song sung by a barbershop quartet of optometrists. Kilgore Trout is convinced that Billy has seen through a time window, and after the quartet sing another song, Billy is overcome with emotion again, and runs upstairs. While in bed, Billy remembers an experience from Dresden the night it was bombed.

     In the underground meat locker, Billy along with the other Americans and four of their German guards sit listening to the city being bombed. The next day, when it's safe to come out of the shelter, the entire city is destroyed, and everyone else in their neighbourhood is dead. In their astonishment and grief, the four German guards resemble a barbershop quartet.

     Travelling to the Tralfamadorian zoo, Montana Wildhack, now pregnant with Billy's child, asks Billy to tell her a story. He tells her about what Dresden looked like when they emerged from their shelter, how all of the buildings were gone, people who had been caught in the fire were reduced to burned logs, and he describes the city like the surface of the moon.

     In Dresden, Billy and his companions realize all of their food and water is gone, and are forced to cross the dangerous wreckage of the city. While travelling, American planes fly by and shoot and them with machine guns, but miss. Finally, they arrive in a suburb not damaged by the bombings, and are given food and shelter in an innkeeper's stable.

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