Saturday, February 8, 2014

Week One: Chapters 1-7

For those of you who have read or previously begun reading this book, you don't have to answer these questions. Or, at least don't spoil it for others who haven't read the book yet. Thank you!

   As Discussion Leader for this week I have to come up with three (or more) questions regarding this section of the book for you to answer. They're open ended questions (short answers, not "yes" or "no"), and are either about the book itself, or about something that happened directly in the book. Here we go!

1) Who do you think the narrator is, and how did he die? Why is he the one telling the story?

2) "The two with stars by their names would be dead before the sun went down." [19] As the narrator tells us a little about the other passengers' on the ship, he puts stars next to those who are going to die, and says that this will continue throughout the story. Why do you think he let us know that these characters are going to die, and how are they going to die?

3)"The Bahia de Darwin was also doomed, but not yet ready for a star by her name."[21] The narrator lets us know that the ship is going to go down eventually, but not when. Do you think this will happen before, or after the ship makes it to Galapagos?



  1. 1) At this point, I really don't know who the narrator is. We know he accompanied the characters he speaks of on the Bahia de Darwin, but he informed us that he was "invisible." He has some connection to both the past and future, and he is quite a mystery to us at this point.
    2) The narrator likes to slip in little one-liner bombs that leave the reader desiring answers. This can be observed in the slow reveal of his identity, as well as the notification of the passengers' deaths.
    3) I have the feeling that the passengers will reach the Galapagos islands, but it would make more sense for the ship to perish before reaching its destination, so I'm not sure.

  2. Why do you think it would make more sense for the ship to not reach Galapagos?

    1. I feel like the ship would be more susceptible to danger while out in the ocean. However, I'm definitely not ruling out the possibility of it being destroyed once it reaches the Galapagos.

  3. 1) I'm not certain as to the narrator's identity either. As a deceased yet sentient person, I think he makes for the most interesting character, at least at this point in the story. He's told us that there's a handful of casualties to come, he may be a lone survivor, or one of a small few.
    2) Kayla said it well. In dispensing some provocative information and withholding its context, Vonnegut maintains suspense.
    3) I had thought that the ship would be destroyed near the islands, but the note that the vessel was "not yet ready for a star by her name" makes me think that it'll meet its destruction at a later point in the story.

  4. 1) I agree with Kayla on the first question. The narrator was alive and human in the 1980's since he stated that he worked on the Bahia de Darwin, but as to his current state, he seems to be an omniscient, almost supernatural, being.
    2) I think the narrator informs us of who is going to die soon to emphasize what characteristics perish and which survive through natural selection of the human race. I noticed that the two characters that we know are going to die soon happen to be a computer genius and a wealthy investor- the traits that the narrator blames for human turmoil.
    3) I think the ship will go down at the Galapagos. Perhaps the ship will reach the islands and the passengers will evolve, leaving no purpose for a ship.

    1. The idea that the passengers will evolve, no longer needing use for a ship is very interesting, Lillian.
      Utah, I totally agree that the narrator is a very interesting character. They all are, honestly. Which I find strange that I think so, because generally I don't care for it much when an author goes into deep, random detail or back story about a character, but they're all put together so well that I'm still basically hooked on each word, despite being drawn out.