Kurt Vonnegut'un İkinci Dünya Savaşı deneyimlerinin benzersiz bir dökümü
Mezbaha No. 5. Dresden bombardımanını yaşayan ünlü yazar, savaşın anlamsızlığını
birçok yazınsal türün iç içe geçtiği bu kıyametsi anlatıda öykülüyor. Kitabın
başkişisi Billy Pilgrim'in boşlukta süzülen yaşamı, savaşın anlamsızlığının
ve ölçüsüzlüğünün metaforik bir anlatımı. Billy'nin zamanda yolculuğuyla
katmanlar arasındaki geçişleri iyiden iyiye belirsiz kılan Vonnegut, insan
eliyle yaratılmış bu benzersiz felaketi insan uygarlığının tüm kazanımlarıyla
boy ölçüştürdüğü alegorik bir karşı söylence yaratıyor. Vonnegut'un aşağı
yukarı tüm yapıtlarında kurmaca bir kişinin benliği altına gizlediği kendi
varlığı Mezbaha No. 5'te de o gizemli kişilik göçünün tüm parıltısını yayıyor.
KURT VONNEGUT (1922 - 2007)
ABD'nin Indianapolis kentinde doğdu. II. Dünya Savaşı'nda bir ara Almanlara
esir düştü. Chicago Üniversitesi'nde antropoloji öğrenimi gördükten sonra
bir süre gazetecilik ve reklam yazarlığı yaptı. Çoğu biyografik birçok eserinde
ortaya koyduğu saçma ve anlamsız evren tasarımıyla hem özel bir söyleyiş
yarattı hem de tüm zamanların en direşken muhaliflerinden biri oldu. Eserlerinden
yapılan film uyarlamaları da büyük bir ilgiyle karşılandı. Yetmişli yılların
ilk yarısından itibaren çevrilen çok sayıda yapıtıyla Türkiye'de de iyi
tanınan Vonnegut'un şimdiye dek Dost Kitabevi Yayınları tarafından Ölümden
Beter Yazgılar, Hokus Pokus, Kodes Kuşu, Kedi Beşiği, Maymun Evine Hoş Geldiniz,
Mavi Sakal, Galapagos, Allah Senden Razı Olsun Bay Rosewater ve Şampiyonların
Kahvaltısı başlıklı kitapları yayımlandı.
4 Şubat 2013 Pazartesi
Mezbaha No 5 Kurt Vonnegut
Uzun süredir okumak istediğim yazarın, sevdiğim konulardan biri olan, ikinci
dünya savaşı üzerine kurulmuş bir romanı bu. Kitabın başında kısa bir süre
hikayeyi anlatmaya nasıl başlayacağından söz ediyor. Daha doğrusu bir arkadaşının
Arkadaşı İkinci Dünya Savaşını ve Dresden faciasını atlatan bir gazi. Savaş
yıllarından sonra içki içemez hale geliyor. Savaş karşıtı bir eşi var. Hatta
kitabın diğer ismi olan Çocuk Haçlı Seferlerini (Childrens Crusade) arkadaşının
eşinden alıyor. Kadının korkusuna rağmen, kitap tamamiyle satirik bir yönde,
savaş karşıtı bir imaj yakalıyor.
Hikaye ise Billy Pilgrim isimli bir karakter üzerine kurulu. Vonnegut, ikinci
dünya savaşını ve Dresden Katliamını yaşamış biri olarak, savaşın anlamsızlığına
dair tüm fikirlerini çeşitli yazınsal tür, zaman ve kişiler üzerinden anlatıyor.
Zaman içinde dengesiz bir duruşu olan Billy Pilgrim, sürekli kendi hayatı
içinde farklı zamanlara seyahat ediyor. Gözünü bir süre kapatması dahi bu
seyahata sebep olabiliyor, bazen ona bile gerek kalmıyor. Kendi kontrolünün
dışında gerçekleşiyor tüm bunlar. Doğumuna, çocukluğuna, ölümüne defalarca
seyahat ediyor. Bazen başarılı bir göz doktoru olduğu yıllara gidiyor, bazen
yalnızca bir uçak kazasından kurtulmayı başaran biri oluyor, Tralfamadore
gezegeninde porno yıldızı Montana Wildhack ile sergilendiklerinde hayvanat
bahçesinde sevişirken buluyor kendini bazen de. Fakat en sonunda, tüm kişiliğini
oluşturan, belki de bir hikaye anlatabilmesini sağlayan o yıllara gidiyor.
İkinci Dünya Savaşında, bir işe yaramayan, cılız, yürümekten aciz bir asker.
Kendi silah arkadaşları tarafından dövülüyor, almanlar tarafından esir ediliyor,
işçi olarak çalışıyor, balık istifi şeklinde istiflenip seyahat ediyor,
Dresdene aşık oluyor, bombalanışın ardından o cansız şehirde yürüyor, yürüyor,
yürüyor; kazıyor ve binlerce ceset buluyor.
Listen: Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time. Şu açılış cümlesi, beni
kitaba bağladı. Kitabın değil, hikayenin başlangıcıydı, fakat oturduğum
yerde daha dik oturmamı sağlamama, kindleımı elimde daha sıkı tutmama sebep
oldu. Okuduğum en iyi açılıştı diyebilirim. Savaşın bir insanın zihninde
neler başarabileceğini tek cümlelik bir özeti gibi. Komik, sert, merak uyandırıcı,
çoğu zaman iğrenç bir hikayeye adım attığınızı hissediyorsunuz. Mizahın
en karası. Hikayeyi okurken, bu sertliğin farkına varıp bazen Vonnegut için
bu kitabı yazmanın bir terapi olduğunu sezdim. Kendisi de bu Dresden faciasının
ortasındaydı, roman, çok büyük oranda, kendi tecrübeleri üzerine kurulu.
Hikayeyi okudukça, Vonnegutın tüm o kara mizahına, ağır eleştirilerine
denk geliyorsunuz. Açıkçası bunları okudukça kitaptan daha çok zevk aldım.
dedirten paragraflar, çıkarımlar, kelimeler adeta akla kazınıyor.
Duygu sömürüsü yapmaktan kurtulabilmesini ki genelde tüm ikinci dünya savaşı
yazınları duygu sömürüsü doludur bu cümlelere bağlıyorum.
At that time, they were teaching that there was absolutely no difference
between anybody. They may be teaching that still. Eğitim sistemlerine,
ulus, fikir, yer kavramlarını umursamadan verilmiş en baba ayardır her halde
bu. 20. Yüzyılda yazılan bu roman, hala çoğumuzun inandığı, inandırıldığı
en büyük yalanlardan birini bulup suratımıza çarpabiliyor. Hepiniz eşitsiniz!
Ha siktir oradan
Get out of the road, you dumb motherfucker The last word was still a
novelty in the speech of white people in 1944. Amerikadaki Siyah Beyaz
kavgasını, kelimeler düzeyine indirip çok sadece, çok açık bir şekilde yansıtmış.
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.
Şu cümleler bizim şu saçma dünyada her şeyde bir mana aramamızı gayet güzel
bir şekilde eleştiriyor. There is no why diyerek gayet yeni bir bakış
açıyor. Devamında ise, Tralfamadore gezegeninde onlarca şey sorgulanıyor.
Dünyada ise bunların hepsi yine bir milisaniyeden çok daha kısa sürüyor.
Hiç yokmuş, hiç duyulmamış, hiç fark edilmemiş gibi.
So it goes. Şu cümle koca kitap boyunca sizinle beraber geliyor. Hey orada
mısın? Der gibi, takip edip etmediğinizi bir şekilde kontrol ediyor. Bir
yandan da anlattıklarının anlamsızlığından boşluğundan yakınıyor. Yakındıkça
daha çok şey anlatmaya başlıyor. Giderek azalıyor so it goes,lar. Fakat
yine de hep biraz daha kalıyor. Hayatımızda da öyle değil mi? Nasıl gidiyor
hayat? Gidiyor işte
Tabii, bu kelimelerin her ölümden sonra
gelmesi de, bir şekilde ayrı tesadüf(!) So it goes, hadi geçmiş olsun
poo-tee-weet, ne demek olduğu konusunda iyice düşünün. Kitabı okuyun,
bitirin ve düşünün. Üzerinde düşünülmeden kütüphaneye koyacaksanız bu kitabı,
hiç okumayın. Üzerine başka şeyler daha okumayacaksanız, merak ettiklerinizi
araştırmayacaksanız ki merak edecek onlarca yeni şey veriyor hiç okumayan.
Merak edilecek şeyleri anlayamayacaksınız, tüm bunları boş verin. Poo-tee-weet.
Books of The Times
At Last, Kurt Vonnegut's Famous Dresden Book SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE
OR THE CHILDREN'S CRUSADE By Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr., an indescribable writer whose seven
previous books are like nothing else on earth, was accorded the dubious
pleasure of witnessing a 20th-century apocalypse. During World War II, at
the age of 23, he was captured by the Germans and imprisoned beneath the
city of Dresden, "the Florence of the Elbe." He was there on Feb. 13, 1945,
when the Allies firebombed Dresden in a massive air attack that killed 130,000
people and destroyed a landmark of no military significance.
Next to being born, getting married and having children, it is probably
the most important thing that ever happened to him. And, as he writes in
the introduction to "Slaughterhouse-Five," he's been trying to write a book
about Dresden ever since. Now, at last, he's finished the "famous Dresden
In the same introduction, which should be read aloud to children, cadets
and basic trainees, Mr. Vonnegut pronounces his book a failure "because
there is nothing intelligent to say about a massacre." He's wrong and he
Kurt Vonnegut knows all the tricks of the writing game. So he has not even
tried to describe the bombing. Instead he has written around it in a highly
imaginative, often funny, nearly psychedelic story. The story is sandwiched
between an autobiographical introduction and epilogue.
Fact and Fiction Combined
The odd combination of fact and fiction forces a question upon the reader:
how did the youth who lived through the Dresden bombing grow up to be the
man who wrote this book? One reads "Slaughterhouse-Five" with that question
crouched on the brink of one's awareness. I'm not sure if there's an answer,
but the question certainly heightens the book's effects.
Here is the story: Billy Pilgrim, "tall and weak, and shaped like a bottle
of Coca-Cola," was born in Ilium, N.Y., the only child of a barber there.
After graduating from Ilium High School, he attended night sessions at the
Ilium School of Optometry for one semester before being drafted for military
service in World War II. He served with the infantry in Europe, and was
taken prisoner by the Germans. He was in Dresden when it was firebombed.
After the war, he went back to Ilium and became a wealthy optometrist married
to a huge wife named Valencia. They had two children, a daughter named Barbara
who married an optometrist, and a son named Robert who became a Green Beret
In 1968, Billy was the sole survivor of a plane crash on top of Sugarbush
Mountain in Vermont. While he was recovering in the hospital, Valencia was
killed in a carbon- monoxide accident. On Feb. 13, 1976, Billy was assassinated
by a nut with a high- powered laser gun.
As you can see, there is much absurd violence in this story. But it is always
scaled down to the size of Billy Pilgrim's world, which makes it more unbearable
and more obligatory for the reader to understand the author's explanation
for it. As I said, Mr. Vonnegut knows all the tricks.
Now there are two things I haven't yet told you about Billy Pilgrim, and
I'm hesitant to do so, because when I tell you what they are you'll want
to put Kurt Vonnegut back in the science-fiction category he's been trying
to climb out of, and you'll be wrong.
First, Billy is "unstuck in time" and "has no control over where he is going
next." "He is in a constant state of stage fright...because he never knows
what part of his life he is going to have to act in next."
Story Told Fluidly
This problem of Billy's enables Mr. Vonnegut to tell his story fluidly,
jumping forward and backward in time, free from the strictures of chronology.
And this problem of Billy's is related to the second thing, which is that
Billy says that on his daughter's wedding night he was kidnapped by a flying
saucer from the planet Tralfamadore, flown there through a time warp, and
exhibited with a movie star named Montana Wildhack.
The Tralfamadorians are two feet high, green, and shaped like plumber's
friends, with suctions caps on the ground and little green hands with eyes
on their palms at the top of their shafts. They are wise, and they teach
Billy Pilgrim many things. They teach him that humans cannot see time, which
is really like "a stretch of the rocky Mountains, " with all moments in
the past, the present and the future, always existing.
"The Tralfamadorians...can see how permanent all the moments are, and they
can look at any moment that interests them." They teach Billy that death
is just an unpleasant moment. Because Billy can go back and forth in time,
he knew this lesson when he was in Dresden. In 1976, when he was assassinated,
Billy Pilgrim was trying to bring this message to the world. He knew he
would die, but he did not mind. "Farewell, hello, farewell, hello," he said.
I now, I know (as Kurt Vonnegut used to say when people told him that the
Germans attacked first). It sounds crazy. It sounds like a fantastic last-ditch
effort to make sense of a lunatic universe. But there is so much more to
this book. It is very tough and very funny; it is sad and delightful; and
it works. But is also very Vonnegut, which mean you'll either love it, or
push it back in the science-fiction corner.
Slaughterhouse-Five treats one of the most horrific massacres
in European historythe World War II firebombing of Dresden, a city in eastern
Germany, on February 13, 1945with mock-serious humor and clear antiwar
sentiment. More than 130,000 civilians died in Dresden, roughly the same
number of deaths that resulted from the Allied bombing raids on Tokyo and
from the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, both of which also occurred in
1945. Inhabitants of Dresden were incinerated or suffocated in a matter
of hours as a firestorm sucked up and consumed available oxygen. The scene
on the ground was one of unimaginable destruction.
The novel is based on Kurt Vonneguts own experience in World War II. In
the novel, a prisoner of war witnesses and survives the Allied forces firebombing
of Dresden. Vonnegut, like his pro-tagonist Billy Pilgrim, emerged from
a meat locker beneath a slaughter-house into the moonscape of burned-out
Dresden. His surviving captors put him to work finding, burying, and burning
bodies. His task continued until the Russians came and the war ended. Vonnegut
survived by chance, confined as a prisoner of war (POW) in a well-insulated
meat locker, and so missed the cataclysmic moment of attack, emerging the
day after into the charred ruins of a once-beautiful cityscape. Vonnegut
has said that he always intended to write about the experience but found
himself incapable of doing so for more than twenty years. Although he attempted
to describe in simple terms what happened and to create a linear narrative,
this strategy never worked for him. Billy Pilgrims unhinged timeshifting,
a mechanism for dealing with the unfathomable aggression and mass destruction
he witnesses, is Vonneguts solution to the problem of telling an untellable
Vonnegut wrote Slaughterhouse-Five as a response to war. It is so short
and jumbled and jangled, he explains in Chapter 1, because there is nothing
intelligent to say about a massacre. The jumbled structure of the novel
and the long delay between its conception and completion serve as testaments
to a very personal struggle with heart-wrenching material. But the timing
of the novels publication also deserves notice: in 1969, the United States
was in the midst of the dismal Vietnam War. Vonnegut was an outspoken pacifist
and critic of the conflict. Slaughterhouse-Five revolves around the willful
incineration of 100,000 civilians, in a city of extremely dubious military
significance, during an arguably just war. Appearing when it did, then,
Slaughterhouse-Five made a forceful statement about the campaign in Vietnam,
a war in which incendiary technology was once more being employed against
nonmilitary targets in the name of a dubious cause.
Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
July 25, 2016 | by Matteo Pericoli
Longtime readers of the Daily will remember Matteo Pericolis Windows on
the World project, which featured his pen-and-ink drawings of the views
from writers windows around the world. Matteo is also the founder of the
Laboratory of Literary Architecture, an interdisciplinary project that looks
at fiction through the lens of architecture, designing and building stories
as architectural projects. In this new series, Matteo shares some of his
designs and what they reveal about the stories theyre modeled on.
How can a horrific event, so monstrous it seems incomprehensible, be told?
How does one even find the words to write about it? In the opening chapter
of Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut recounts his being unable to write
a war book about the Dresden firebombing (February 1315, 1945), which he
survived: there is nothing intelligent to tell about a massacre.
That failure carries a weight. The over-five-thousand pages he had previously
written are abandoned like a block of stonehistory that cannot be told.
But as soon as he abandons the idea of a linear and faithful historical
reconstruction, Vonnegut frees himself from the huge weight, disconnects
himself from the event, and takes off. The next [book] I write is going
to be fun.
Two lines later and the next book begins: it tells the surreal story of
Billy Pilgrim, a young man who lives unstuck from chronological time (his
life events, whether far apart or close, interconnect in a perennial present),
who connects with an alien civilization, and relives the Dresden bombings
which he, just like Vonnegut, survived. Vonnegut also tells us how this
new book will startListen: Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in timeand
how it will endPoo-tee-weet?
Within Billys absurd story, we find many references to the historical and
personal events Vonnegut mentioned in the beginning; we even meet the writer
who, like a movie extra, appears here and there as a casual supporting element.
That was I. That was me.
The structure of Billys imaginary and unhinged narrative leap must therefore
lie upon (and rise from) the horrific weight of the unspeakable event. It
must also contain points of contact between the unreal and the submerged
stories. The stone foundation is as impenetrable as the idea of the Dresden
bombing and it weighs on the landscape like all his years of research, memories,
and attempts to understand the roots of such cruelty.
Billy Pilgrims story is instead a light, glass, and steel structure with
its own geometry disconnected from that of the base, and with intersecting
fragmentary volumes. A glass and steel cloud, suspended but properly anchored
and supported by fin walls made of the same material as the base.
Once inside the cloud, we notice that there is order. Like Billy and Vonneguts
alienswho both perceive different events in time as nonchronological points
in spacewe visitors also understand that the fragmented spaces actually
interpenetrate and that each event/space corresponds to another. Like Billys
perception of time, space in the suspended structure is not linear. As we
wander searching for order or meaning, we realize that every spatial instance
contains the whole, the always.
Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary
The Destructiveness of War
Whether we read Slaughterhouse-Five as a science-fiction novel or a quasi-autobiographical
moral statement, we cannot ignore the destructive properties of war, since
the catastrophic firebombing of the German town of Dresden during World
War II situates all of the other seemingly random events. From his swimming
lessons at the YMCA to his speeches at the Lions Club to his captivity in
Tralfamadore, Billy Pilgrim shifts in and out of the meat locker in Dresden,
where he very narrowly survives asphyxiation and incineration in a city
where fire is raining from the sky.
However, the not-so-subtle destructiveness of the war is evoked in subtle
ways. For instance, Billy is quite successful in his postwar exploits from
a materialistic point of view: he is president of the Lions Club, works
as a prosperous optometrist, lives in a thoroughly comfortable modern home,
and has fathered two children. While Billy seems to have led a productive
postwar life, these seeming markers of success speak only to its surface.
He gets his job not because of any particular prowess but as a result of
his father-in-laws efforts. More important, at one point in the novel,
Billy walks in on his son and realizes that they are unfamiliar with each
other. Beneath the splendor of his success lies a man too war-torn to understand
it. In fact, Billys name, a diminutive form of William, indicates that
he is more an immature boy than a man.
Vonnegut, then, injects the science-fiction thread, including the Tralfamadorians,
to indicate how greatly the war has disrupted Billys existence. It seems
that Billy may be hallucinating about his experiences with the Tralfamadorians
as a way to escape a world destroyed by wara world that he cannot understand.
Furthermore, the Tralfamadorian theory of the fourth dimension seems too
convenient a device to be more than just a way for Billy to rationalize
all the death with he has seen face-to-face. Billy, then, is a traumatized
man who cannot come to terms with the destructiveness of war without invoking
a far-fetched and impossible theory to which he can shape the world.
The Illusion of Free Will
In Slaughterhouse-Five, Vonnegut utilizes the Tralfamadorians, with their
absurdly humorous toilet-plunger shape, to discuss the philosophical question
of whether free will exists. These aliens live with the knowledge of the
fourth dimension, which, they say, contains all moments of time occurring
and reoccurring endlessly and simultaneously. Because they believe that
all moments of time have already happened (since all moments repeat themselves
endlessly), they possess an attitude of acceptance about their fates, figuring
that they are powerless to change them. Only on Earth, according to the
Tralfamadorians, is there talk of free will, since humans, they claim, mistakenly
think of time as a linear progression.
Throughout his life, Billy runs up against forces that counter his free
will. When Billy is a child, his father lets him sink into the deep end
of a pool in order to teach him how to swim. Much to his fathers dismay,
however, Billy prefers the bottom of the pool, but, against his free will
to stay there, he is rescued. Later, Billy is drafted into the war against
his will. Even as a soldier, Billy is a joke, lacking training, supplies,
and proper clothing. He bobs along like a puppet in Luxembourg, his civilian
shoes flapping on his feet, and marches through the streets of Dresden draped
in the remains of the scenery from a production of Cinderella.
Even while Vonnegut admits the inevitability of death, with or without war,
he also tells us that he has instructed his sons not to participate in massacres
or in the manufacture of machinery used to carry them out. But acting as
if free will exists does not mean that it actually does. As Billy learns
to accept the Tralfamadorian teachings, we see how his actions indicate
the futility of free will. Even if Billy were to train hard, wear the proper
uniform, and be a good soldier, he might still die like the others in Dresden
who are much better soldiers than he. That he survives the incident as an
improperly trained joke of a soldier is a testament to the deterministic
forces that render free will and human effort an illusion.
The Importance of Sight
True sight is an important concept that is difficult to define for Slaughterhouse-Five.
As an optometrist in Ilium, Billy has the professional duty of correcting
the vision of his patients. If we extend the idea of seeing beyond the literal
scope of Billys profession, we can see that Vonnegut sets Billy up with
several different lenses with which to correct the worlds nearsightedness.
One of the ways Billy can contribute to this true sight is through his knowledge
of the fourth dimension, which he gains from the aliens at Tralfamadore.
He believes in the Tralfamadorians view of timethat all moments of time
exist simultaneously and repeat themselves endlessly. He thus believes that
he knows what will happen in the future (because everything has already
happened and will continue to happen in the same way).
One can also argue, however, that Billy lacks sight completely. He goes
to war, witnesses horrific events, and becomes mentally unstable as a result.
He has a shaky grip on reality and at random moments experiences overpowering
flashbacks to other parts of his life. His sense that aliens have captured
him and kept him in a zoo before sending him back to Earth may be the product
of an overactive imagination. Given all that Billy has been through, it
is logical to believe that he has gone insane, and it makes sense to interpret
these bizarre alien encounters as hallucinatory incidents triggered by mundane
events that somehow create an association with past traumas. Looking at
Billy this way, we can see him as someone who has lost true sight and lives
in a cloud of hallucinations and self-doubt. Such a view creates the irony
that one employed to correct the myopic view of others is actually himself
Motifs are recurring structures, contrasts, or literary devices that can
help to develop and inform the texts major themes.
So It Goes
The phrase So it goes follows every mention of death in the novel, equalizing
all of them, whether they are natural, accidental, or intentional, and whether
they occur on a massive scale or on a very personal one. The phrase reflects
a kind of comfort in the Tralfamadorian idea that although a person may
be dead in a particular moment, he or she is alive in all the other moments
of his or her life, which coexist and can be visited over and over through
time travel. At the same time, though, the repetition of the phrase keeps
a tally of the cumulative force of death throughout the novel, thus pointing
out the tragic inevitability of death.
The Presence of the Narrator as a Character
Vonnegut frames his novel with chapters in which he speaks in his own voice
about his experience of war. This decision indicates that the fiction has
an intimate connection with Vonneguts life and convictions. Once that connection
is established, however, Vonnegut backs off and lets the story of Billy
Pilgrim take over. Throughout the book, Vonnegut briefly inserts himself
as a character in the action: in the latrine at the POW camp, in the corpse
mines of Dresden, on the phone when he mistakenly dials Billys number.
These appearances anchor Billys life to a larger reality and highlight
his struggle to fit into the human world.
Symbols are objects, characters, figures, or colors used to represent abstract
ideas or concepts. The Bird Who Says Poo-tee-weet?
The jabbering bird symbolizes the lack of anything intelligent to say about
war. Birdsong rings out alone in the silence after a massacre, and Poo-tee-weet?
seems about as appropriate a thing to say as any, since no words can really
describe the horror of the Dresden firebombing. The bird sings outside of
Billys hospital window and again in the last line of the book, asking a
question for which we have no answer, just as we have no answer for how
such an atrocity as the firebombing could happen.
The Colors Blue and Ivory
On various occasions in Slaughterhouse-Five, Billys bare feet are described
as being blue and ivory, as when Billy writes a letter in his basement in
the cold and when he waits for the flying saucer to kidnap him. These cold,
corpselike hues suggest the fragility of the thin membrane between life
and death, between worldly and otherworldly experience.