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“Birds were talking. One bird said to Billy Pilgrim, “Poo-tee-weet?”
Of course, Kurt Vonnegut could not end the book in a simple manner. He did not want to give me a break. Instead he left me confused for the thousandth time. The quote above is the last thing he wrote in the book. I thought I would read the last page of the book with relief, but I end up lost. My first thought was “what the heck is that?” because I know he ended the book like this for a reason. I notice that this is not the first time “poo-tee-weet” has been used in the novel. I remember him using it for the first time in the first chapter. I did not think anything of it the first time I saw it, but this time I went to Google for further help. The sound is from a jabbering bird, and it symbolizes the lack of anything important to say about war. The birdsong plays in total silence after a massacre. It makes sense because there usually is nothing more to say after a tragedy. There are no words that can explain the pain or damage from war. The way the war in the book ended was in fire, so it cannot be described because everything is gone. The city is gone and so are their words. Everything has been burnt down and demolished.
The quote is used at the end of the book to sum up the story. War ruins everything and leaves people speechless. It could also be the only way to describe what Dresden was like after the firebombing. There was complete silence and all that can be heard is a bird chirping. War is supposed to find resolutions. This is rarely ever the case. War ruins lives. The bombing in Dresden was devastating. Billy is using this saying to reflect on his life. Most of his memories are of war and being a prisoner of war.
Also, birds do not talk, so he is saying that at the end of the day the birds are still going to chirp. It is like he is saying that life still goes on after war. Life is going to be different, but there is an afterlife once the war ends. The birds will remain the same.
Billy also uses the winding down of the book as an opportunity to wear the “so it goes” term out. I thought he had said it enough throughout the book, but he says it three times on one page. It was Billy’s new record. I really do not want to hear or see those words anymore from this day forward. I see why he used it so much towards the end. The bombing caused a lot of people to lose their lives. He also wanted to update us on the lives of some of the people he met while at war. He is tying up lose ends that the book creates while telling his story.
Usually, the last chapter of the book is supposed to answer any questions, but the author could not do this because there are no answers for the bombing. There is also no resolution. I am left confused because that is exactly how Billy felt. He did not get any answers, so why should I? He did not get any explanations, so why should I get any? This idea is genius, and it creates a true bond between the book and me. It took me a while to see what he was trying to do by ending the book this way, and I see it now. I am speechless just like Billy, and there is nothing more to say. What happened in the book happened, and I can only accept that. I am truly astonished. I did not think this book would blow my mind or make me think this deep. I thought I would hate it or that it would be another book I had to read for school. This book has definitely surpassed my expectations. I applaud Kurt Vonnegut.