Quotes Galore : Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Quotes Galore :  Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut


For as long as I can remember, I have only ever read romance novels. I mean, sure, I do dabble in LGBT romance in the past year or so, but despite my saying that I wanted to switch things up and branch out to different book genres, I never really did take the leap until recently.

Whenever someone ask me : “What is your hobby?” 

I’d always reply instantaneously with,“Reading.”

It’s not even a question that I needed to process, as I love reading that much. However, as I grow and as my thought-process also grows with me, I decided that it was unwise of me to say that I love reading; while only ever reading books from one genre. Nothing is wrong with it, of course. Reading any books are better than not reading at all. 

It is just that lately, I have realized that there is just so much more out there than this little bubble that I have trapped myself in. And with this book –– Slaughterhouse Five –– I am taking my first step into widening my book horizon.




It looked a lot like Dayton, Ohio, more open spaces than Dayton has. There must be tons of human bone meal in the ground.


“You know what I say to people when I hear they’re writing anti-war books?”

“No. What do you say, Harrison Starr?”

“I say, ‘Why don’t you write an anti-glacier book instead?’”


What he meant, of course, was that there would always be wars, that they were as easy to stop as glaciers. I believe that, too. And even if wars didn’t keep coming like glaciers, there would still be plain old death.


“You’ll pretend you were men instead of babies, and you’ll be played in the movies by Frank Sinatra and John Wayne or some of those other glamorous, war-loving, dirty old men. And war will look just wonderful, so we’ll have a lot more of them. And they’ll be fought by babies like the babies upstairs.”



kurt vonnegut



Shortly before my father died, he said to me, “You know—you never wrote a story with a villain in it.” I told him that was one of the things I learned in college after the war.



There was a young man from Stamboul,

Who soliloquized thus to his tool :


“You took all my wealth

And you ruined my health,

And now you won’t pee, you old fool.”



There were lots of things to stop and see—and then it was time to go, always time to go.


I have this disease late at night sometimes, involving alcohol and the telephone. I get drunk, and I drive my wife away with a breath like mustard gas and roses. And then, speaking gravely and elegantly into the telephone, I ask the telephone operators to connect me with this friend or that one, from whom I have not heard in years.


It is so short and jumbled and jangled, Sam, because there is nothing intelligent to say about a massacre. Everybody is supposed to be dead, to never say anything or want anything ever again. Everything is supposed to be very quiet after a massacre, and it always is, except for the birds.



“This one American foot soldier is arrested in the ruins for taking a teapot.

And he’s given a regular trial, and then he’s shot by a firing squad.”



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.



kurt vonnegut



The second hand on my watch would twitch once, and a year would pass, and then it would twitch again. There was nothing I could do about it. As an Earthling, I had to believe whatever clocks said—and calendars.


No art is possible without a dance with death.


The most important thing I learned on Tralfamadore was that when a person dies he only appears to die. He is still very much alive in the past, so it is very silly for people to cry at his funeral. All moments, past, present, and future, always have existed, always will exist.



“I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.

I learn by going where I have to go.”



He didn’t look like a soldier at all. He looked like a filthy flamingo.



kurt vonnegut



He asked Billy what he thought the worst form of execution was. Billy had no opinion. The correct answer turned out to be this: “You stake a guy out on an anthill in the desert—see? He’s facing upward, and you put honey all over his balls and pecker, and you cut off his eyelids so he has to stare at the sun till he dies.”



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.



“There’s more to life than what you read in books,” said Weary. “You’ll find that out.”



kurt vonnegut



If everybody would leave him alone for just a little while, he thought, he wouldn’t cause anybody any more trouble. He would turn to steam and float up among the treetops.



Bitchy flibbertigibbet.



Billy Pilgrim was having a delightful hallucination. He was wearing dry, warm, white sweatsocks, and he was skating on a ballroom floor. Thousands cheered. This wasn’t time-travel. It had never happened, never would happen. It was the craziness of a dying young man with his shoes full of snow.


Among the things Billy Pilgrim could not change were the past, the present, and the future.


This was in accordance with the Third Law of Motion according to Sir Isaac Newton. This law tells us that for every action there is a reaction which is equal and opposite in direction.



quotes slaughterhouse five



All time is all time. It does not change. It does not lend itself to warnings or explanations. It simply is. Take it moment by moment, and you will find that we are all, as I’ve said before, bugs in amber.


I think you guys are going to have to come up with a lot of wonderful new lies, or people just aren’t going to want to go on living.


“Why me?”


“That is a very Earthling question to ask, Mr. Pilgrim. Why you? Why us for that matter? Why anything? Because this moment simply is. Have you ever seen bugs trapped in amber?”




“Well, here we are, Mr. Pilgrim, trapped in the amber of this moment. There is no why.”



There is no beginning, no middle, no end, no suspense, no moral, no causes, no effects. What we love in our books are the depths of many marvelous moments seen all at one time.”


She upset Billy simply by being his mother. She made him feel embarrassed and ungrateful and weak because she had gone to so much trouble to give him life, and to keep that life going, and Billy didn’t really like life at all.



quotes slaughterhouse five



“How’s the patient?” he asked Derby.


“Dead to the world.”


“But not actually dead.”




“How nice—to feel nothing, and still get full credit for being alive.”


We have imagined that it was being fought by aging men like ourselves. We had forgotten that wars were fought by babies. When I saw those freshly shaved faces, it was a shock. ‘My God, my God—’ I said to myself, ‘It’s the Children’s Crusade.’



“You think this is bad? This ain’t bad.”



The intent of the Gospels was to teach people, among other things, to be merciful, even to the lowest of the low. But the Gospels actually taught this: Before you kill somebody, make absolutely sure he isn’t well connected. So it goes.


“That’s the attractive thing about war,” said Rosewater. “Absolutely everybody gets a little something.”



quotes slaughterhouse five



Americans, like human beings everywhere, believe many things that are obviously untrue. Their most destructive untruth is that it is very easy for any American to make money. They will not acknowledge how in fact hard money is to come by, and, therefore, those who have no money blame and blame and blame themselves. This inward blame has been a treasure for the rich and powerful, who have had to do less for their poor, publicly and privately, than any other ruling class since, say, Napoleonic times.



“That’s one thing Earthlings might learn to do, if they tried hard enough:

Ignore the awful times, and concentrate on the good ones.”



A prison administrator dealing with captured American enlisted men for the first time should be warned: Expect no brotherly love, even between brothers. There will be no cohesion between the individuals. Each will be a sulky child who often wishes he were dead.



quotes slaughterhouse five



“Why don’t you go fuck yourself?”


“Don’t think I haven’t tried,” the Blue Fairy Godmother answered.


“I knew it was going to be bad getting old.” He shook his head. “I didn’t know it was going to be this bad.”


In one way or another, that people who were weak deserved to die. Whereas the staff, of course, was devoted to the idea that weak people should be helped as much as possible, that nobody should die.



“I could carve a better man out of a banana.”



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.



“Anybody ever asks you what the sweetest thing in life is—” said Lazzaro, “it’s revenge.”



The master of ceremonies asked people to say what they thought the function of the novel might be in modern society, and one critic said, “To provide touches of color in rooms with all-white walls.” Another one said, “To describe blow-jobs artistically.” Another one said, “To teach wives of junior executives what to buy next and how to act in a French restaurant.”



quotes slaughterhouse five



“I wish you and your family also as to your friend Merry Christmas and a happy New Year and I hope that we’ll meet again in a world of peace and freedom in the taxi cab if the accident will.”



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