Course Hero. "Slaughterhouse-Five Study Guide." Course Hero. 28 Nov. 2016. Web. 15 Dec. 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Slaughterhouse-Five/>.
Course Hero. (2016, November 28). Slaughterhouse-Five Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved December 15, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Slaughterhouse-Five/
(Course Hero, 2016)
Course Hero. "Slaughterhouse-Five Study Guide." November 28, 2016. Accessed December 15, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Slaughterhouse-Five/.
Course Hero, "Slaughterhouse-Five Study Guide," November 28, 2016, accessed December 15, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Slaughterhouse-Five/.
On the title page under his name, Kurt Vonnegut adds a few sentences to make the following points:
The epigraph (short prefatory quotation) comes from a stanza of the Christmas carol "Away in a Manger":
The cattle are lowing
The Baby awakes.
But the little Lord Jesus
No crying He makes.
The title page declaration sets the stage for the novel that will follow: a tragicomic blend of fiction and fact that will not unfold in a linear fashion. By claiming his German American heritage, Vonnegut shows it is simply a trick of fate and heritage he fought on the American side of World War II and not Germany's.
The epigraph is part of a stanza of the Christmas carol "Away in a Manger," which describes the biblical birthplace of Christ in a stable. Vonnegut quotes the carol again in Chapter 9 when Billy Pilgrim, who usually "cried very little" cries over the suffering of his horses. He openly compares Billy in this way to "the Christ of the carol." Alert readers, however, will connect the main character to the innocent baby from the beginning of the story.