Had Me At Make a Thing


As I was riding the train home from school, reflecting over my school day, listening to music, an idea struck me. Seeing as half of my iPhone music is Bob Dylan, I listen to him every day. Dylan has a particular song, ‘Masters of War’, that reflects incredibly well on the themes of Slaughterhouse Five. I imagine Kurt Vonnegut would listen to it. Anyway, Slaughterhouse Five is known as an “anti-war” book, without being explicitly anti-war. That would be the major difference between Masters of War and S5. Bob Dylan only has 4 and a half minutes to get his message across, while Vonnegut has hundreds of pages to craft a plot and develop characters to reveal the book’s intention. Yet, however the route is made to get there, both works criticize the institution of war. While Dylan comes across as angry and spiteful – a passionate leader of a movement, Vonnegut uses the lame and pathetic Billy Pilgrim force the reader to draw their own conclusions about war and the lasting destruction (physically and emotionally) over a period of time, and is less direct in his anger against war.

Both works reveal the devastation left in the wake of war, Dylan’s “fear to bring children into the world”, and Vonnegut’s emotionally and mentally crippled Billy Pilgrim. Outside of the novel, Vonnegut has claimed that “anyone who seeks glory and heroism in war is deluded”. He holds true to his anti-war sentiments in Slaughterhouse Five and reveals the mental devastation of Billy Pilgrim through his “escapist mind” and his distorted construct of time  –  “a metaphor for the sense of alienation and dislocation which follows the experience of catastrophic violence (World
War II)” and “a metaphor for feeling
dislocated after war”. Read this analysis for more detail.

So, as I was riding the train, listening to Masters of War, I imagined a Billy Pilgrim (one with balls) singing, angry at the destruction caused in Dresden and elsewhere in WWII.

Here’s a link to my thing:


Here are the lyrics to Masters of War:

Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build all the bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks.

You that never done nothin’
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it’s your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly.

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain.

You fasten all the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion’
As young people’s blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud.

You’ve thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain’t worth the blood
That runs in your veins.

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I’m young
You might say I’m unlearned
But there’s one thing I know
Though I’m younger than you
That even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do.

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul.

And I hope that you die
And your death’ll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I’ll watch while you’re lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I’ll stand over your grave
‘Til I’m sure that you’re dead.


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