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Billy and his captors often find themselves speaking to each other in terms that are interpreted by the listener as pure gibberish. The communication between the two is complicated by the fact that neither has the most basic understanding of the culture, habits, norms, and values of the others. It is this type of distance which functions in the novel to create a sense of difference and to isolate Billy from the Tralfamadorians, and vice versa. It is such distancing and lack of basic understanding of ˘others÷ that often enables humans to act like machines when killing other humans as if they are no more than lifeless targets. This perceived gibberish relates to the bird that is the only sound heard after the massacres. The bird sings ˘Poo-tee-weet÷, a nonsensical phrase that is meant to show the illogical and absurd nature of humans killing humans that make them appear as machines to the T


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Slaughterhouse-Five. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 07:19, October 24, 2014, from
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