A small but brilliant passage from Kurt Vonnegut

So following my post the other day concerning Kurt Vonnegut, I thought I’d share a quick passage with you from his book, Slaughterhouse 5. The moment I first read this I thought it to be a very clever piece of writing; not so much in its construction, vocabulary, &c., but more for the imagination and uplifting (yet poignant) message it holds.

Enjoy…

Bombers…It was a movie about American bombers in the second world war and the gallant men who flew them. Seen backwards by Billy, the story went like this.

American planes full of holes and wounded men and corpses took off backwards from an airfield in England. Over France, a few German fighter planes flew at them backwards, sucked bullets and shell fragments from some of the planes and crewmen. They did the same for wrecked American bombers on the ground and those planes flew up backwards to join the formation.

The formation flew backwards over a German city that was in flames. The bombers opened their bomb bay doors, exerted a miraculous magnetism which shrunk the fires, gathered them into cylindrical containers and lifted the containers into the bellies of the planes. The containers were stored neatly in racks. The Germans below had miraculous devices of their own which were long steel tubes. They used them to suck more fragments from the crewmen and planes. But there were still a few wounded Americans, though, and some of the bombers were in bad repair. Over France, though, German fighters came up again and made everything and everybody as good as new.

When the bombers got back to their base, the steel cylinders were taken from the racks and shipped back to the United States of America, where factories were opening night and day, dismantling the cylinders, separating the dangerous contents into minerals. Touchingly, it was mainly women who did this work. The minerals were then shipped to specialists in remote areas. It was their job to put them back into the ground, to hide them cleverly, so they would never hurt anybody ever again…

Brilliant, eh? This works on so many levels for me.

If you haven’t read Slaughterhouse 5, I highly recommend it.

That’s it for now.

Thanks for reading.

 

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