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Week 2: Reading questions

Chapter Three
Billy travels back and forth in time from his experiences as a POW in Europe to post-war Ilium, New York on the eve of his daughter’s wedding.
Identify vocabulary — “mopping up”, androgyne
Identify characters — Wild Bob
1.Describe the German force that captured Billy. What does that force tell us about Germany at the end of the war?
2.What happens to the scouts?
3.Why does the German photographer take a picture of Billy’s and Weary’s feet?
4.Why does the photographer stage a picture of Billy’s capture?
5.What are the two causes of the destruction that Billy drives through on his way to the Lions Club meeting?
6.What does Billy’s encounter with the Marine major tell us about Billy’s approach to life?
7.Why does the doctor tell Billy to take a nap everyday? What do you think caused Billy’s malady?
8.Describe the German reserves whom the captured Americans passed. How do they compare to the group that captured Billy?
9.Describe the conditions on the trains that transported the prisoners. Describe the car that housed the railroad guards.
10.Why does Vonnegut refer to the prisoners on the trains as “human beings”?

Chapter Four

Billy is captured by the Tralfamadorians on his daughter’s wedding night. While being transported on their flying saucer, he travels in time back to the prisoner train in 1945 Germany.
Identify characters — Edgar Derby, Paul Lazzaro, the Tralfamadorians
1.What does Billy do to occupy his time before the aliens come?
2.How does the message of the war movie change when it is viewed backwards?
3.How is Billy lifted into the flying saucer?
4.How do the Tralfamadorians answer when Billy asks “why me?”
5.Why do the other POWs refuse to let Billy sleep near them?
6.What does Weary tell the other men in his car before he dies?
7.What processes do the Americans go through when they arrive at the camp?