As readers of Kurt Vonnegut's literary masterpiece, "Slaughterhouse Five," we're told that the all the events of the story are true, more or less, and that Vonnegut experienced the Dresden bombings firsthand. The jumbled narrative structure is Vonnegut's way of telling his story of Dresden. The setting of Slaughterhouse-Five is wide-ranged, each place having a significant effect on Vonnegut's story through the life of Billy Pilgrim. The three most important places are Germany during world war two; Ilium, New York, before and after the war; and an alien planet called Tralfamadore. .
Ilium, New York is the fictional town in New York where Billy Pilgrim is born in 1922 and where he lives most of his life. In Chapter 1, Vonnegut tells us that after the war he and his wife lived in Schenectady, New York, which Billy Pilgrim's "Ilium" seems to be based on. Having grown up in Ilium, Billy settles there after fighting in World War II. He meets and marries his wife Valencia. Becomes an optometrist and raises his two kids, Barbara and Robert, in Ilium. It is here in Billy's hometown Ilium that he lives what seems a normal life.
Germany is another important setting in the book, especially the city of Dresden. During the war Billy pilgrim is captured by the Germans and is held as a prisoner of war in Dresden. In Germany Billy undergoes the painful experiences of captivity and violence that cause him to start skipping through time. This setting mirrors the narrators the most. Vonnegut having experienced war and imprisoned in Dresden himself.
Another important setting in the story is the planet of Tralfamadore, where Billy is taken to by aliens. There he is held against his will and displayed in a zoo. He explains to his daughter, Barbara, that Tralfamadore can't be seen from Earth, nor can Earth be seen from the planet Tralfamadore for they are both very small and very far apart. It is on the planet Tralfamadore that the Tralfamadorians teach Billy about how they see time.