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September 01, 2008


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1) I think the "bugs in amber" means that all of the past moments are trapped in our minds though I little hazy. Once again, I think it is helpful to relate the time slips to flashbacks. we all have them, it is just the more emotional ones are burned in our minds a little better, a little brighter and that is horrible if you have ever been in a situation like Billy's or the victim of anything truly horrible.
2) I can't remeber the quote. Was "Wild Bill" the person Billy "killed?"
3) "So it goes" sums up the powerlessness we all feel after a death. What can we do, "so it goes." It doesn't really convey any emotion. I like that about the statement.
4) Alot actually. Americans are a very materialistic nation because we can afford it. She doesn't know how to identify herself so she buys things to represent herself. The amount Vonnegut suggest is quite alot.
5) I think anybody can understand it, especially teenageers in a time when everything is emotional. SH5 just doesn't end on an up-swing. At least "Catcher in the Rye" has Holden deciding what to do at the end.

Once again, i think one's past has alot to play on the interpretation of the "time slips." it depends on what you have seen, heard, and done through out your life. And I do think the more emotions or the higher the emotional state plays key factor. I also thought it interesting that the "time slips" did not just apply to his past. Look at the time he spent in the zoo with the actress. At this point I think you need to question what is real at this point and what is Billy's fantasy. And if he is slipping into fantasy, why doesn't he put a twist on his past? Trapped in Amber?

What do you think of Billy's jobs through-out the book? During the war, he was a Chaplin's assistant, after the war an optro... optr... eye doctor. Did he lose his faith in God after Dresden burned? Does he see things more clearly now that he is looking back on it?


Cloudcover - great thoughts!
Did Vonnegut write the time slips as real or was this the way Billy dealt with what he saw? Was Billy having a nervous breakdown?
Did Vonnegut feel trapped in amber?
I do think Billy lost faith in God after Dresden burned or felt that God was not controlling events. The fact that he was an eye doctor I think means that he is seeing things clearer - when he mentions the story of Lot's wife, who against God's will looked back at the burning cities and was turned into a pillar of salt. He admired that her act was so human.
This book is interesting because there are so many layers to it; Vonnegut's voice and Billy's story mixing with themes of dignity, death, and what shapes us.


Do you feel there is anything in your past you wish you had done differently, not regrets per se, but just little things you wished you had done differently? Asking if the person in the wheelchair needed or wanted help or silently respected their independence? These are those moments I think Vonnegut was talking about being trapped in Amber. Millions of them. The bigger ones are just scarred that it would be impossible to forget.

And yes, I think Billy was having a mental breakdown brought on by the accident, yet another traumatic event in his life, and the only way to deal with it was to detact himself completly and start having "time slips" I think it is interesting that he uses the words "time slip," it conveys the idea that he completly slipped back to those moments and is reliving them just as vividly.


I believe you are correct about what it means to be trapped in amber. We all have moments in our past that we regret, and those are the things that swirl around us.

Time slips is an interesting way to put this. This book is also on the Lost book list - Desmond becomes unstuck in time and finds himself going back and forth between the future and when he is in the military. He has to find a constant (a person who knows him in both time periods) so he doesn't have a brain hemmorage from the trauma of not feeling grounded.


I spelled hemorrhage wrong - no spell check here, sorry.

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