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". . ."

sterrab's picture

In Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death, by Kurt Vonnegut, a gutter appears in the form of the novel. Breaks between thoughts and ideas, rewinding time, switching settings are clearly shown by a "..." in between short stories. I'm not sure if the "..." break was used for formatting reasons, one of many possible icons of a break, or if it was intentionally chosen as an ellipsis to point at the untold information. Either way, it breaks the train of thought, filling up the missing storylines with blank space and a "..." for one to ponder. Sometimes, the breaks are used to fill in with an extra piece information, breaking from the flow of the story to note on a detail. It is also used to point at a switch in setting. It makes the reading very conversational, as if Vonnegut is just filling in on the story in conversation with random, not necessarily in chronological order, events. According to Vonnegut himself, the book is "jumbled and jangled...because there is nothing intelligent to say about a massacre" (pg.24). His intentions in the breaks therefore emphasize the inevitable lack of structure in a novel about a war, against war. The text break emphasize the blanked memories of Vonnegut and the other Dresden bombing survivor O'Hare as they try to reconstruct what happened and the information on the war that probably should not be shared.